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The use of sand dollars in jewelry


#1

Hello,

I have questions regarding the use of sand dollars in jewelry, and
other sea shells. 1) Since sand dollars are so fragile, how can I
protect them if I want to use them as a necklace pendant? What is
the life span of sand dollars if used in jewelry?

  1. If I wanted to attempt to use either sand dollars or other sea
    shells as a PMC project, what would be the proper technique?

Thanks,
Miachelle


#2

I respond not from a jewellers view point but from many years spent
on and around the Great Barrier Reef. The shell is quite a different
structure from the sand dollar. The sand dollar belongs to the same
family as sea urchins and starfish and the ‘test’ is made up of very
small very tightly packed calcareous plates. Personally, I think the
sand dollar could not be preserved in jewellery in its natural state
for any period of time as the small particles will break up. Unless
you can find someone who may be able to impregnate them somehow with
perhaps a resin, I would not be using them at all. Shells however
have a much more robust structure, they are still calcareous but
will withstand the rigours of time far better. However, they are
still likely to fade in colour and to wear over a period of time. I
maintain my shell collection by keeping them in the dark in drawers
built for this purpose!

Ultimately I guess it depends on what sort of jewelry you are
intending on making!

:slight_smile: Kimmyg
www.northcoastbeadmakers.com


#3

I absolutely agree sand dollars just crumble under any stress.
Shells on the other hand last a very long time and I rub my cameos
with mineral oil in the step between carving just finished and
polishing. I rub them lightly to remove any dust and to double check
carving marks let it dry over night then I polish by hand right now
to control the shiny affect I prefer cameos to have less shine on
the carved areas and I polish with simichrome then burnish
backgrounds with a nail buff emery board :slight_smile:

Teri
An American Cameo Artist
www.cameoartist.com


#4
 If I wanted to attempt to use either sand dollars or other sea
shells as a PMC project, what would be the proper technique? 

There is a new book on metal clay technique from Kalmbach Publishing
(publisher of Art Jewelry Magazine, my part-time employer) that
shows how to make a two-part mold of a shell. I must say, the
projects in the book do not look at all professional to me, but the
tecnique appears sound (the book is Metal Clay Magic). You press the
shell halfway into polymer clay or a two-part silicone mold material
(Costaldo has a good one-- I forget what it’s called). Dust with
talc, make the other half.

For scallop-type shells, a one-piece mold is all you need-- press
the metal clay in, let it dry. “Conch” shape shells need two parts,
trimmed and fitted together hollow, unless you don’t mind a lot of
weight.

–Noel


#5
   You press the shell halfway into polymer clay or a two-part
silicone mold material (Castaldo has a good one-- I forget what
it's called).

Quick-Sil.

Elaine