When we left Ornament Studio, yesterday, Silvio was showing us the wonderfully colorful sapphires on the workbench. These will be the centerpiece for gold earrings. They are taking shape today. The bezzles are ready.
Meanwhile, summer arrives officially around 7 pm tonight, but the air is heavy already. I asked Silvio how this affects metals such as gold, for example.
“Some years ago, I had necklaces with an S-shaped gold clasp on displayed in a window case in a store in Santa Fe. One remained there for a few months. The sun lit the window and heated the display during the day and then it was cool at night. Hot and cold, hot and cold. 22-karat gold is usually soft and pliable. After some months had passed, the clasp was very stiff.”
Like many, I had assumed that heat would soften the metal, even gold, not the other way around, but Silvio explained that this was similar to the process he uses when shaping a piece. As he works the gold, rolling and hammering it, it stiffens. He has to heat it and then immediately cool it so it becomes pliable enough to continue shaping it.
Gold’s journey is long, perilous and beautiful…