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red agateJust perfect for your Halloween creations -- these Red Agate Evil Eye beads are of stone that was formed from layers of silica from volcanic cavities. Agate is named after the Achates River (now known as the Dirillo River) on the island of Sicily, Italy, whose upper waters were an ancient source of this gemstone. Each strand offered here has 16 round faceted beads, with colors ranging from red to amber, as shown. Each bead is approx. 10 mm. with an approx. 2 mm. hole. Each strand is $10, but for a limited time, take 10% off with the code HALLOWEEN at checkout.

 

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acorn necklaceI've always loved those electroformed materials such as gold or copper-'plated' leaves, seeds or other treasures from nature. In this way, the unique beauty of the natural world is preserved and made 'immortal'.

Electroforming is metal on natural or organic items like leaves, pine cones, sea horses, sand dollars, gemstones and or anything you want to cover in gold ,copper silver and rhodium. It involves an intricate process of controlling chemically a metal deposit (copper, silver, gold) onto a conductive surface, whether it be an organic or inorganic material. This process is similar to plating...but is done over a much longer period of time - and can be anywhere from 1 - 24 hours. Basically a thick “skin” of metal is built up into a rigid surface.

In the example shown here from From Fottiniya on Etsy, here's a sweet acorn, covered in pure copper and partially covered with a dark patina for a more natural look. FDJtools offers a kit that includes the controller and supplies needed for electroforming with copper, if you're interested in experimenting. But be warned -- it's a fairly complex process! 

It goes something like this -- taking a leaf, for example.

  • Select a leaf. Any leaf can be used. Keep in mind that you will not be looking at the pretty colors once the leaf is electroplated, so look for a shape that you like rather than nice colors.
  • Wrap the leaf base in 18 gauge wire.
  • Paint both sides of the leaf with silver conducting paint.
  • Fill a container with a salt suspension of the metal that you intend to use to plate the leaf. In the case of copper plating, you would use copper sulfate solution. Your kit should contain the correct solution.
  • Connect an alligator clip to the wired leaf, and connect that to the ammeter with a copper wire. The negative outlet of your ammeter should be connected to the negative outlet on your power supply, and there should be two wires connecting the copper plates from the bath to the positive outlet on your power supply.
  • Pour the solution into the electroplating container until it covers the leaf, and turn the ammeter on to between 1 and 1.5 amperes.
  • Leave the leaf for at least 20 minutes, until it is covered in the desired metal.
  • Remove the leaf from the bath and rinse it, then clean it with acetone.


Interweve
feather offers more detailed information if you want to try this process yourself, here: 

https://www.interweave.com/article/jewelry/metal-magic-electroforming-organic-and-other-materials-for-jewelry-making/

Here are a couple more examples of beautiful electroforming from Etsy --

From ZebraArtStudio, a copper feather necklace with green crystal glass.

From EnchantedLeaves, an autumn cottonwood leaf.

leaf skeletonWhen nature whispers to you, talks to you, touches you and beautifies you ... What can be more wonderful? If you've dabbled in a similar art, if nature inspires you, or even if you've owned a special piece like this, we hope you'll take time to comment and tell us about it.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

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Until Next Time,

Sheila

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