I made this pendant for a friend who liked the symbolism of the Koi from Avatar the Last Airbender.
Step 1: The Pattern
Since the koi in the show swim in a circle I figured that a simple circular frame would be best so I printed one out and glued it to the metal.
Step 2: Cut Out the Shapes
The back plate and frame were cut from 16 gauge bronze sheet, and the fish were cut out of 16 gauge German silver. When cutting metal as thick as 16 gauge with a jewelers saw I would recommend not cutting the pieces from the sheet for as long as possible. The extra material will give you a much better grip and save your hands.
Step 3: Solder the Frame
After cleaning up the shape of the frame with a rotary tool, I prepped the back and frame with a scotch-brite wheel. I then painted both pieces with flux and placed hard silver solder paleons around the edge of the back plate. The thickness of the metal made it so that I had to heat it from the top and bottom in order to get the solder to flow. In order to heat it from two directions, the piece was raised with an iron wire cage that allowed a torch to reach underneath it. Once soldered together, the piece was then placed in a pickle bath and cleaned.
Step 4: Soldering the Koi
Before soldering on the koi, I added some light detail to them. I wanted to grind in the details while the fish were free, so that I would only have to touch them up a bit in the end. The soldering process is the same as the last time, with the only difference being that now the solder is medium silver solder. Each subsequent soldering must be done with a lower melting point solder than the previous one. Changing solders as you go prevents old bonds from melting and moving pieces around. For this piece I went from hard solder to medium solder. After soldering it was once again pickled and cleaned up.
Step 5: Adding a Finding
Before the final cleanup and buffing, I soldered a large bronze jump ring through the loop on top. Following the progression of solders, I used easy silver solder for this. With all the soldering done, I touched up the koi details and buffed the raised surfaces.
Step 6: Finishing Up
With everything done, I gave the piece a couple coats of renaissance wax. This both protects the piece and keeps the wearer from turning green while wearing it. Once all of that is done it is ready to be gifted. Thanks for reading!