The Tiffany technique, tiffany soldering, soft soldering. It's an uncommon method of jewelry, most often used in stained glass artmaking, although there's a handful of wildly talented jewelry artists out there using it. I am trained in traditional silversmithing, using torches and sterling silver or gold, but when I stumbled upon tiffany soldering I simply had to try it - the organic, sculptural nature of it was just too tempting!
The elements of the piece - stone, glass, pearl, etc - are wrapped tightly in conductive copper tape and burnished smooth. Then they are painted with flux (an acid which helps the metals to flow), and then the solder is applied with a soldering iron. This tool is heated to approximately 600-800 degrees F to melt the solder, which in this case is an alloy of tin and fine silver. Stained glass artists often still use leaded solder, but as these pieces are in contact with your skin, it is staunchly avoided in jewelry. This solder alloy is also called pewter when used in jewelry, as you’ll see in my product descriptions.
This method is a perfect metaphor for my creativity. Organic, blobby, sculptural, and requires instant gratification! It's also perfect for one of my core missions: size inclusivity. Because you can apply the solder at any point in the process, with stones in the piece or without, pieces can be resized long after a piece has been finished without having to take the risk of unsetting stones. Folks with uncommon sizes or specific needs in jewelry need not stress about overspending for resizing services or brands that make specific limited range sizes. Jewelry for every body!
with love, Zoe