A close up of copper sheet metal showing various finishes

First Projects: Making a Plan

I’ve been reading the wonderful book, Simple Soldering: A Beginner’s Guide to Jewelry Making by Kate Ferrant Richbourg, in order to learn some basic metalworking techniques. It’s an engaging book and I highly recommend it. You can find a copy from your favorite bookseller, and it’s also carried by several jewelry suppliers.

Book cover of Simple Soldering showing various projects and techniques.

As I wrote in Taking the Plunge, a blog post at Tiny Oak Jewelry, “The teaching method in this book is simple and ingenious. The author…guides the student through a series of sixteen ‘samplers’—small squares of copper that become the foundation for learning and practicing each technique. Each sampler builds on the techniques learned from creating the previous tile. This builds both knowledge and confidence, reinforcing through repetition while allowing plenty of room for mistakes.”

I am currently on sampler 3, which involves sawing wavy patterns into one of these tiny copper squares. So far, I have ruined one saw blade and made about 1/4″ of progress. I have some learning to do, is what I’m saying. Fortunately, I have plenty of squares on which to practice.

An Idea is Sparked

I found myself wondering just how many designs could be eked out of one of those little squares. Naturally, I wanted to know what DALL-E might imagine. And so I used the following prompt: “A product photo of a piece of jewelry made from a 1″ square of copper.”

I once asked DALL-E to imagine The Most Beautiful Piece of Jewelry Ever Created, and the results were less than spectacular, so I didn’t have high hopes. But the resulting images were remarkably realistic (for the most part) and seemed achievable. And that’s when the idea for this website was born.

Working Out the Details

As always, DALL-E produced four unique images.

AI generated. Prompt: A product photo of a piece of jewelry made from a 1" square of copper

Metal in Motion

I immediately saw this as an earring. The pair would be made from irregular rectangles of copper, joined at the back with hidden jump rings. A small hole in the top segment allows an ear wire to be attached. The surface coloration might be achieved by enameling, or through some sort of patina.

Making these would require some skills I don’t have yet, so I’m putting them on the “to-do” list. I think they’d be really fun and artistic.

If I can get the joining right, they’ll have a wonderful little bit of movement.

AI generated. Prompt: A product photo of a piece of jewelry made from a 1" square of copper

Unidentified Pokey Object

The next image is…well, I’m not entirely sure. It looks vaguely dangerous. It might be a hair pick, but I’m not sure how that would work. Or maybe it’s a modern art scarf pin. I’ll have to think about this one. It looks simple enough to achieve, but then what?

Of course, I’m not compelled to try and create everything the AI produces. This one might have to stay on the shelf for a while.

I’m trying to image how to join the three wires into a point. It seems likely fire would be involved. Like I said: Dangerous.

AI generated. Prompt: A product photo of a piece of jewelry made from a 1" square of copper

Elegant Edgy Pendant

This one definitely caught my eye. It’s simple and elegant. It’s edgy while still being classic. And that hanging material—whatever it might be—is incredible.

This piece relies on a chunky, hand-made bail for its simple good looks. I’m trying to decide what material would be best—sheet cut to size, heavy-gauge wire, copper strips?

I have an idea brewing about how to recreate, or at least mimic, that fascinating “cord.” Stay tuned for more about that.

AI generated. Prompt: A product photo of a piece of jewelry made from a 1" square of copper

Blue and Golden

The final image is something I can make with the supplies and abilities I posses. It’s a rectangular piece of copper, hung from a chain with a simple jump ring, and finished in blue. My first inclination was to achieve the blue color with enamel, but again, that’s not something I’m set up for just yet. But I did recently learn a technique for producing a brilliant blue patina on copper. All it takes is table salt and ammonia. By masking off the edges, I might be able to create the appearance of a “frame” around the color.

As for the hanging material, what first appears to be a copper chain may actually be dark, roughened leather. We’ll see what works for the piece.

Putting it Together

I’d like to make this pendant from heavier gauge metal than I have on hand, so I’ll be making a supply run soon. I’ll use 18 gauge wire for the jump ring. The finish will likely be a brighter blue that what appears here, and there’s no guarantee of what kind of coverage I’ll get. (That’s part of the fun.) I’ll size the piece so its proportions fit the golden ratio. This should increase the visual appeal.

In an upcoming post, I’ll document my processes and unveil my first AI-designed piece of jewelry. I’m excited to see how it will turn out.

What do you think of DALL-E’s designs? Drop a comment below!

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