LOVE this pickle!

Do you like pickles? No, not the ones you like to eat with your ham sandwich. The easy-on-the-earth-we-live-on pickle! This pickle cleans off fire-scale* from your metal jewelry.

I was quite cautious about using a caustic pickle mixture. Everything I read about it was HORRID! I didn’t want to worry about getting it on my skin, in my eyes and on my jewelry making bench. So, I just kept on researching and found a really great ‘natural’ pickle. I have used it for a couple of weeks and it works wonderfully! The fire-scale is cleaned off nicely and doesn’t harm anything that I value! The recipe is at the end of this post, if you’d like to try it.

I bought a little, used crock pot to heat the pickle mixture. It seems to work better warmed up a bit. I leave the metal in the pickle for about 15 minutes. Then, I turn off the crock pot and remove the metal piece using popsicle sticks. I then rinse and dry the metal and prepare it for the next step…whatever that might be.

The BEST part is that I’m not involved in harming the planet. That makes my heart happy! (Wouldn’t that make a cute stamped disc? A little smiling planet…sign!)

Hope you have a really nice evening!

Natural Pickle Recipe

About one cup of White wine vinegar to one teaspoon of iodized or kosher salt or slightly more, if required.   Should be used warm for best results.  I have personally used it on copper and sterling silver only.  Please be advised to dispose of responsibly.  Due to the possible metal content, pour into plastic container, label, then take to your community land fill.  There should be persons on site to help you.


Sterling Silver Discs and other possibities…

I have spent a few hours making a necklace with four little, initial stamped, sterling silver discs.

These little, stamped discs were each stamped with an initial, oxidized and then brushed to give them a lush look. Then they were each attached, by jump rings, to one of the soldered and hammered sterling silver rings I made a couple of days ago. I layered a smaller soldered copper ring within the sterling silver ring.

I’m very, very pleased with the way the necklace turned out. I should have taken a picture of it before I gave it as a gift to my friend battling cancer. Oh well…it was really nice to see the look on her face when I gave it to her. She has an appointment for a strong dose of chemo tomorrow. I hope her spirits will be lifted a little knowing she has friends who care about her.

Today is “Solder Success Day”!

Just when I thought that I would NEVER be able to learn how to solder…VOILA! It finally worked! It wasn’t an easy process, though. Here’s how it went:

I prepared a practice copper jump ring…made sure the edges were filed flat (not so easy I might add). Then I cut a little, tiny bit of silver solder…brushed on the flux…fired up my torch…and went to town! The problem was that the solder didn’t “flow” like the book and videos said it would. Well, no problem. Just try, try again. Right?

However, after the fifth time and several jump rings later I began to wonder why I was having such a difficult time. I came to the conclusion that perhaps I wasn’t heating the metal high enough. You see, The solder was still in it’s little, square state. I gave it one more try…drum roll please…and it worked! I soldered a copper jump ring with silver solder. Yeah!!! After that, I soldered another copper jump ring! Yeah!!!

I was so excited that I spent a few minutes making four, 1/2″ diameter, sterling silver jump rings, sawed by hand, then soldered them one by one! It worked every time! After cleaning, filing, pickling, hammering, oxidizing and cleaning the jump rings, I decided to use one of them in a tiny initial necklace for one of my friends who is battling cancer. She is going to love it!


Reading…The Complete Metalsmith

The Complete Metalsmith: An Illustrated HandbookThe Complete Metalsmith: An Illustrated Handbook by Tim McCreight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

LOVE this book! The instructions are concise, clear and easy enough for a beginner (me) to understand. There are many reference charts and tables that offer valuable information. I picked it up from my library and quickly realized it was a KEEPER!

View all my reviews


The Theater Box, 1874 by Pierre-Auguste Renoir...

Image via Wikipedia

Welcome to Designs By Samra jewelry making web blog!

This is a personal endeavor to learn the art of jewelry making.  Yes, I could easily BUY the jewelry I wear…but where is the adventure in that?  Just imagine what the world would be like if Pierre-Auguste Renoir did not study the art of painting!

My beginnings are humble.  I have learned a “few tricks of the trade” such as sawing, piercing and hammering metal.  I have also learned how to oxidize metal using various methods and conversely how to clean the oxidation off.  I have acquired quite a few metal stamps for stamping dreamy words and sayings on the metal pieces I have studied hot joining methods and intend to study cold joining techniques more thoroughly.

For now, I’m quite content as a self-taught metal-smiting student.  Life responsibilities and limits on my time prevent me from taking a community class or learning at the knee of a well-known metal-smith.  The web is my classroom.  I welcome your suggestions and comments!


UPDATE:  As of 2017 I have enjoyed taking classes at a local silversmith school,  watching and learning from Mr. Soham Harrison on his YouTube channel, and as always I am grateful for my personal teachers, Mr. & Mrs. Trial and Error.