Saturday, January 17, 2015

Celtic amulets, finally perfected!

I wish I could say that this design was 100% original, but I was inspired by a circular celtic-looking pendant I saw elsewhere online. I liked the design, but had ideas of my own based on it. More specifically, I really wanted to put a stone in the middle of a similar design, and possibly change the shape of the Celtic part in the middle.

The first version was just working the bugs out -- testing ring sizes, arrangements, etc.

Celtic pendant - 1st version

I liked this one, but it did not have a large enough hole in the center to really put a stone. So, I kept playing with ring sizes and the alignment of the center components. The next version was similar to this one, but also included a new part of the experiment:  a wire-wrapped gemstone.

Celtic pendant - 2nd version w/wire-wrapped stone
Still not 100% pleased, I kept working. The next one I made again with no stone, but this time out of sterling silver, thinking I had nailed the base design. Not so ...

Celtic pendant - version 3 (sterling)
This time, I did get ONE thing right -- the center hole is larger & potentially big enough to fit a more traditionally set gemstone. But the celtic knot parts are still too twisted looking for my liking. I wanted something that looks definitively celtic, retains its shape, and has enough space in the middle for a stone.

The next version is where I really thought I was there, and really... it was close. Very close. I made this one in solid brass with a bronze outer ring and a center gemstone (6mm white topaz set in sterling silver).

Celtic pendant - version 4 w/6mm bezel set white topaz
The knot parts are cleaner (but not clean enough), and the space and tension are right to hold the stone in the middle without it twisting or wobbling. At first, I thought this one was it. But no ... my experiments had one more golden egg to lay ...

Celtic pendant - version 5 - THE WINNER!
Version 5 is exactly what I originally set out to create. In the end, the center stone is an 8mm round stone (in the photo, it's a mystic topaz) in a sterling silver bezel setting, and I finally figured out how to stabilize the celtic components in the center in just the right way to get the look I was after. It's made out of mostly jeweler's brass with some bronze.

Now that I know exactly what size rings are needed for each part of the piece, I can re-create it in any metal I want! The first 4 versions of this pendant are in my Etsy shop for sale. They're still beautiful, and version 4 will probably be reproduced in other metals, too, as well as be available for custom orders with different metals (mixed, too) and different stones. It's still beautifully Celtic-looking, too.

Look for version 5 to appear in my Etsy shop very, very soon! ^_^ In the meantime, here's version 4 and 5 side by side (please forgive the last 2 photos in this post -- they were NOT taken with my usual higher-quality DSLR camera).

Versions 4 and 5, side by side