For years I've been fascinated with precious metals, sparkly stuff and especially opals. I adore opals! And after years of hesitantly looking into metalsmithing and opal polishing techniques without actually DOING anything about it, I think its high time I started. I'm not a total novice to jewellery - I wire work and play with beads - and also sell beads, findings & other components for a living at www.stores.ebay.co.uk/princess-jewellery so metalsmithing - and learning to polish opals - is the next big step.
Sure I could buy ready made settings and calibrated finished stones... but where's the sense of satisfaction and artistic achievement in that? I'm definitely borderline frustrated artist (albeit with an engineering brain!). Its a bitch being creative and not being able to draw for toffee.
So... the story so far. I've been reading lots and lots on metalsmithing. A whole load of books arrived from Amazon and as I'm a boring, read-the-manual type of gal, a mentally devoured them and took the bits that felt like me into my grand mental plan. Or possibly mental chaos. Kind of like a bubbling witch's cauldron with lots of unidentifiable elements in there, some of which are almost definitely going to have weird effects.
I've also scoured the web on info on opal polishing and found lots of very good sites, the best of which I'll get round to linking permanent links to at the side.
Finally, I spent far too much money on pretty rocks. Finished rocks, rough rocks, opal rocks and faceted gemstone rocks... you name it. My one point of validation is that they're most definitely a business expense and therefore reduces my tax bill! Surprisingly for me, I've thus far managed to be remarkably restrained on equipment - a dremel type pendant drill with a zillion different cutting, grinding and polishing attachments, and a stand for it. Embarrassingly, its the second time I've bought this model of drill-wotsit. I got almost to the stage of throwing myself at stone polishing in the past - and kind of got distracted by real work and ended up selling it unopened (in all fairness, I do work very hard, and have 4 kids, 7 cats and two blinkin' great german shepherd dogs. Oh and a husband but he's pretty low maintenance).
So, I got the rocks, the dremel and plenty of sources for precious metals and associated supplies (an advantage of trading in jewellery components for a living!). Next I need.... workspace.
I'm fortunate enough to own quite a large house (by UK standards anyway) - need it for all the horrible beasties. So I have a big room downstairs that doubles as my office and stockroom, and the kids had another 'spare' room downstairs for one of their computers & consoles & stuff. However after months of trying to get them to keep it even vaguely tidy, I feel fully justified in kicking them out (its not as mean as it seems - just means the PC goes into one of the boys bedrooms - and given that the wireless connection didn't work too well downstairs - the fault of a rather large aluminium backed magnetic board I have on one of the walls - the kids ain't complaining :-).
So my next step - again before even touching any jewellers equipment - is to clear all the 'spare' furniture and other crap that's been dumped in it - kids desk and computer was in one corner, the rest of the room was erm... pretty much temporary storage.
So there's the start of the journey :-) Its quite exciting really... I like new things!