Making a Glass Necklace with Cremation Ashes

Adding Cremation Ashes into Glass Jewellery

In this article I am going to tell you a little bit about the process I use to add cremation ashes into glass jewellery.

A little while ago I took a course to learn how to fuse glass.  I have been having great fun making lots of different coloured cabochons to use in my jewellery making.   Cabochons are stones that are using a lot in jewellery making, they have a smooth, domed front and a flat back. Ideal for setting into pendants, charms and rings.

fused glass

During my research for ideas of what do do with my newly made glass pieces, I came across the idea of adding cremation ashes into glass to make really special memorial pieces of jewellery so I thought I would give it a go.

I have been experimenting.  Thanks to some really lovely customers who have allowed me to use their loved ones cremation ashes to practice with in return for some low cost jewellery, I have had plenty of cremains to work with.

So how do I make these lovely glass cabochons?

First of all I cut the glass into evenly sized pieces.  This is a tricky process an something I am still playing around with.  As you will see further down this article the glass looks very different once it is fired, so getting it the right shape and size to start with in order to end up with the exact shape and size you want to end up with is extremely difficult and very much trial and error right now!!

glass cutting

 

If you are working with glass don’t forget to wear safety googles and check that the different types of glass you are fusing are compatible with each other!

For these pieces I have been using a mixture of coloured and textured dichroic glass.  Dichroic glass is specially made with a special coating for this process and it comes in some absolutely beautiful colours and styles.
ashes into glass

These glass cabochons are made in two layers, the ashes are carefully placed in between the two layers.  The coloured dichrioc glass goes on the bottom an a clear layer goes on top.

Into the kiln

This is what they look like when they go into the kiln.

Fused glass

They are fired in the kiln at a temperature high enough to fuse the glass.  I have to wait 8 hours before I can open the kiln door to see what they look like!  If I open the door too soon the glass with get thermal shock and will crack. Finally I can open the door and the glass comes out looking like this.  One of the reasons these are quite expensive to make is because they put my kiln out of action for such a long time.
fused glassFused glass with cremation ashes
The glass is now beautiful, domed, round cabochons! How cool is that!!

Sometimes the top layer is a  bit large and slides over the edge of the bottom piece. The cabochon ends up lopsided!!   I’m getting fewer of those now that I am better at gutting the glass though!

Now to turn them into jewellery

These cabochons can have a simple necklace bail added.
Cremation ashes glass necklaceashes into glass

Or I can use them in a much more bespoke jewellery design to incorporate your loved ones ashes.  I can work with human cremains or pet ashes. I only need a tiny amount of ashes,  less than a teaspoon will make several class cabochons.
bespoke glass and silver necklace

I’m really pleased with how these have been turning out and I would love to do more of them.

I can make glass with or without cremation ashes in.  Please note that not all of the pieces pictured contain ashes.

Sterling silver vs fine silver fingerprint jewellery

If you’ve been shopping around and looking at different artists you may have noticed that some offer fine silver keepsakes and other offer sterling silver.

But what is the difference between fine silver and sterling silver?

The basic differences between fine silver and sterling silver is simply the purity of the silver. Fine silver is 99.9% pure silver, don’t ask me what the other 0.1% is, I do not know!

Sterling silver is a minimum of 92.5% silver. The other 7.5% is an alloyed metal, usually copper, which adds strength to the silver and makes it more durable for everyday use.

So what are the pros and cons of fine silver and sterling silver?

Fine Silver Pros

  • It’s super shiny with a high luster, so it looks lovely when it’s polished up.
  • It does not tarnish (darken) as quickly as sterling silver might.
  • It has a higher silver content, so from a scrap metal perspective it would be higher in value.
  • It has no nickel so will not cause allergic reaction.
  • From a silver clay artist’s point of view it is easier to work with as there are no base metals to cause firescale during the firing process, also it can be torch fired so it requires less expensive equipment to use it.

Fine silver cons

  • It’s very soft and scratches easily.
  • Fine details such as fingerprints can eventually wear away
  • If torch fired, it is not as strong as if it is kiln fired.

Sterling Silver Pros

  • The copper content makes it up to 60% stronger than pure silver.
  • *It is more resistant to scratching so better for everyday use.

Sterling Silver Cons

  • It can be slightly duller in appearance and not quite as shiny as fine silver.
  • It can tarnish quicker if not warn or polished regularly.
  • SOME (not all) sterling silver can have nickel in the alloy mix which cause skin allergy. My sterling silver contains no nickel.
  • From an artists perspective it is trickier to work with, it’s harder to get a smooth finish and the polishing stage takes more time and effort. It requires a kiln to fire and the cycle takes longer than for fine silver.

So which is better for fingerprint jewellery?

Well it really depends on what you want from your piece. If you are buying as keepsake jewellery that’s will be saved for special occasions and it likely to be stored in a box most of the time, then fine silver is a good choice for you.  The purity means that it will not tarnish as quickly as sterling silver when it is not worn.
Fine silver can of course be worn every day and the print will last several years, however it will look scratched and worn far sooner than sterling silver.

If you plan to wear your fingerprint jewellery regularly, then sterling silver will stand up to wear and tear much better. If it’s worn it will not tarnish quickly, however if it is going to be stored in a box try to keep it in an airtight one to minimise the tarnish and the amount of polishing that is needed to keep it shiny.

All of my handmade keepsake jewellery is made from sterling Silver as standard.  However if you would prefer a fine silver fingerprint or hand and footprint keepsake instead then just ask as I can work with that too. Take a look at what I have to offer at www.lastingtouch.co.uk

One of these handprint jewellery bracelet charms is sterling silver and the other is fine silver, but can you tell which is which?  Feel free to comment below.

Top 5 handmade gifts for Mother’s Day

Hi Dads!  Are you looking for the perfect Mother’s day gift?  Something that says you really thought about it, something so personal that she’ll be overwhelmed when she see’s it?
You are in the right place, us women just love this stuff.  What says ‘I know how much you love our children’ more than their little hand or footprints set in a handmade piece of jewellery for her to keep with her always?

So here are my top 5 gifts for the woman in your life this Mother’s Day.

  1. Fingerprint Necklace.The fingerprint necklace is by far my best selling product, it is simple but beautiful and can be customised with different writing styles. You can even have your own children’s writing on it if you wish.
    More than one child? No problem, why not consider the cascading charms option.
    Triple fingerprint necklace with cascading heart jewellery charms Double Fingerprint necklace with 2 heart jewellery charms  Large Fingerprint Charm
  2. Handprint Charm BeadIf your partner already has a charm bracelet this could be the perfect addition to it.  The heart, start, circle and square beads can be double sided with a print on either side.   If she doesn’t already have a Pandora or similar bracelet, why not get one of my gorgeous coloured nappa leather bracelets for the bead.
    Footprint or Handprint heart Bead (fits pandora)  Handprint or footprint Square Bead (fits pandora) Footprint or Handprint Circle Bead (fits pandora)Footprint or Handprint Star Bead (fits pandora)
  3. Fingerprint stud earringsThese are new to the range and perfect if you prefer something a bit smaller. The studs can be made with the same print or 2 different fringerprints.  I can also do these with tiny hand or footprints if you prefer.
    Tiny Fingerprint stud earrings
  4. Memory LocketI can can make little fingerprint or hand and footprint charms to fit inside your memory locket.  I can supply the locket for you, or just the charms if you already have one. The beauty of these is that other charms can be added to really personalise it and make it unique.
     Fingerprint Charm in locket2 Floating Handprint Charms in memory locket Mini Fingerprint Charms (for memory Locket)
  5. Handwriting or doodle charmLast but definitely not least is the handwriting charm.  Your child’s own message shrunk down to fit on a charm that mummy can treasure for ever.
    Can’t write just yet? No problem, this can also be done with little one’s doodles and simple drawings.
    Large handwriting Message Charm