Always preferring a combination of metals in her jewelry, Sydney Lynch of Sydney Lynch Jewelry Inc. in Lincoln, Nebraska, discovered a way to achieve that look cost-effectively using a bi-metal of 22k yellow gold backed by sterling silver.
Her multi-link bracelet enjoys a splash of gold with sterling silver—a smart combination with precious metal prices still high.
Though this piece is part of a line of multi-link bracelets, Lynch strives to make each one unique, starting with the gemstones they display. “I always enjoy the game of finding the stones and laying them out,” she says. “It’s all about balancing color, shape, clarity versus opacity.”
Once she decides on the stones for a bracelet, she creates a detailed, to-scale drawing showing the links and the stones on which she has settled. In the case of this gray-tone bracelet, moonstone, Botswana agate, quartz with pyrite, a keishi pearl, rose-cut gray feldspar, quartz with large pyrite flakes, a faceted gray moonstone, and dendritic quartz all made the final cut.
To create the bracelet, she began by cutting out a rough flat shape in 18 gauge sterling sheet for each of the eight links, then sawed and filed the edges. With that done, she turned to the bi-metal and cut out pieces to attach to the silver. She then ran the individual pieces for seven of the links through a rolling mill. Five passed between custom roller plates made from designs she drew and had etched into stainless steel. To add an additional subtle texture, she folded a piece of paper around the metal before she rolled it. The two remaining links—for the Botswana agate and feldspar—were then run through the mill with standard rollers, using just the folded sheet of paper.
After soldering the bi-metal pieces to the silver links, she textured the eighth link (for the moonstone) by hitting it against a cinder block with a ball-peen hammer. She then added a slight, organic curve to all but the one for the feldspar, since only the stone would be visible on that link. To create the curve, each link was set on a wooden block and slightly dapped using a rawhide mallet and wooden punch.
Lynch next fabricated bezels for the stones—four in 22k gold and four in sterling silver to keep down costs—and soldered them in place. In the bezels for the transparent and translucent stones, Lynch added a thin sheet of silver under the stones to reflect light. She rolled a sheet of sterling silver very thin, cut pieces to match the exact size of the bezels, scrubbed them with a wire brush to shine them up, and dropped them into place.
Before setting the stones, Lynch cleaned up the metal using different sizes of brass brushes—including a brass wheel on her flex-shaft—along with soapy water.
To connect the links, she first soldered 3 mm lengths of 3 mm sterling silver tubing to two sides of each segment, then joined them with jump rings that she closed with a pulse arc welder.
The final step was to set the stones, including three 3.5 mm diameter champagne diamonds that add a customer-appreciated high-end sparkle. “I think adding that little bit of glitter does increase the perceived value,” says Lynch. The entire bracelet was then bead blasted and the top edge of the bezels smoothed with carbide burnishers.
Her finished bracelet has what she calls “organic geometry.” “I like things to be soft and more natural but also controlled—I don’t want it to look accidental,” says Lynch. “I want quality craftsmanship so it’s clear that the look is purposeful.”
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