I made this Christmas ornament about 14 years ago along with the little bag to protect the copper from the points on the tree. The copper is colored by the borax coloring technique which I have used a lot. I actually haven't used the ornament in some years because I lost track of it. So when I opened it up this year I wasn't surprised that the silver would be tarnished. However, I wasn't expecting the red copper to be discolored by the bag. It's as if the black ink from the bag stained it. Merry Christmas 2013!!
Monday, December 9, 2013
I used to live in Tokyo for six years. I was amazed at how much jewelry I would find on the streets all the time. This occurred way more than it does here in the US. Think about it...how many times have you actually found jewelry just lying on the sidewalk in a major city in the States? My theory is because Japanese women don't have a history of wearing jewelry. What they did use for ornamentation was hairpins and other accessories. It was especially the geisha who wore a lot of hair decoration. Relatively later in their history, women started wearing obidome which are ornaments tied over the obi to be seen front and center. Japanese metalsmithing was largely used for swordsmithing and tea ceremony objects. On a large scale, there was also a lot of metalwork decorating the shrines and temples where they worshipped.
The following photo is my most prized find which is a brooch made of sterling silver and niello (an alloy of copper, silver and lead sulphides). It is most certainly from Thailand where niello was used a lot from the 1930s to the 1970s in what is referred to as Siam Silver. I couldn't believe nobody had stepped on it yet when I picked it up. Somebody was very sad to lose this I'm sure.
But the weirdest thing I found was somebody's gold tooth filling. When you're a metalsmith, you really have an eye for metal. I saw the gleam of gold luring me in the extremely busy Shibuya Station. I ran over to pick it up and immediately said "Ewwww!" But you can bet I didn't throw it down. I saved it for years until finally putting it in with all my refining scraps. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of it.