AI generated. An abstract image of hands and jewelry in bright colors.

Creating an AI Designed Pendant, Part 2

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Final Steps

The finished patina

With the patina dry, it was time to finish my AI designed pendant. I carefully removed the painter’s tape from the edges, wary of damaging the patina. I may be over-cautious; this will fade with practice. For now, I decided to apply a light coat of lacquer before proceeding. Following the package directions, I gave it about 10 minutes to dry.

Polishing the edges

The piece had some discoloration underneath the painter’s tape. This didn’t come as a surprise. I loaded up my rotary tool with some of Taking a Dip

Letting the lacquer dry

Once I had my edges polished, it was time to dip the finished piece in lacquer. I filled a small plastic shot glass and ran a thin wire through the jump ring hole. I carefully dipped the pendant in lacquer, then allowed it to dry for about 10 minutes before repeating the process. I don’t have a drying rack, so I used a small wood block as a surface and suspended the wires over a drip cup using a bench block. Clumsy, but workable.

At one point I needed to dab away a small drip, and noticed a bright blue stain on the paper towel I used. The lacquer had lifted some color from the patina, and carried it over the bottom border, leaving my shiny copper strip stained blue. It’s not worth throwing the piece out, but it’s a disappointment regardless. Either way, lesson learned.

It was time to add the jump ring, and I had questions about how to successfully solder and clean the join on the jump ring without damaging the pendant. I asked around in online forums, and determined that I had essentially done things backwards. The likelihood of damage to the lacquer from the heat of the torch (not to mention the risk of fire) was too great. Next time, if I want a soldered jump ring, I need to add it before patinating.

The finished piece seemed to ask for a leather cord rather than a copper chain. I selected a 26″ length of dark brown leather cord and added some crimp ends and a lobster clasp. The finished project is not something I’d sell, but I will happily wear it as a symbol of a semi-successful project. I learned a lot and produced a wearable necklace that is sure to pique curiosity.

Lessons Learned

If I were to attempt to recreate this piece again, I would:

  • Go bigger: The resulting piece is pretty, but lacks impact.
  • Jump ring first: If I’m going to solder the jump ring, I need to do that before patinating and lacquering. I’ve learned that finishing should be my final step, not my first!
  • Brush, not dip: Now that I know lacquer may cause the patina to run, I’ll brush, rather than dipping.

As the saying goes, we don’t know what we don’t know. I made a lot of careless beginner mistakes with this project, and that’s okay. Fortunately, I didn’t set fire to my studio, and I ended up with a new piece of jewelry for my collection.

My next project will be a labradorite and sterling silver beaded bracelet, which is more in my comfort zone but will ask a little more from me design-wise. I wasn’t able to source exactly the beads I wanted, but I obtained some quality items that think I can work with. I hope you’ll stick around and see how it goes!

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