Favorite Project of the Week: Sterling and Plexiglas Chain

Oh how I love unique ways to add color and dimension to jewelry! Laurel Nathanson’s Sterling and Plexiglas Chain is a beautiful example of a sophisticated yet playful project that can deliver bold color and form to your look. With some basic metalsmithing skills–sawing, drilling, and riveting–you can work this piece up using your favorite colors in no time.

When discussing this piece, Laurel writes:

An ever-expanding mountain of Plexiglas fills my studio these days. As manufacturers add more beautiful colors and surfaces, my acrylic mountain gets bigger and bigger, so I decided to make a piece that incorporated all the amazing colors contained in it. The transparencies, opaques, pearls, and glitters called to me as I sifted through the mountain, and I delighted in finding hidden gems, old favorites, and new.

I clearly love color, the more the better, and color is the main reason I love acrylic–but there are other cool things about acrylic that just add to my passion for it. For instance, you can work in acrylic with many of the tools you already have as a metalsmith: jeweler’s saw, files, flexible shaft, polishing machine, and even mandrels. I worked in silver sheet, wire, and heavy bezel wire and have shown you four ways to close your links. I’m sure there are more ways–so please let us know what other cool ideas you come up with!

Photo credit: Jim Lawson

MATERIALS

  • ⅛ to ¼ inch thick acrylic Plexiglas sheet (assorted colors)
  • 18 gauge sterling sheet
  • 18 gauge sterling wire
  • ¼ inch x .020 mm sterling strip

TOOLS

HAND:

  • Jewelers saw; #1 or #2 blades
  • Files
  • Sandpaper wet/dry 320, 400, and 600 grit
  • #55 drill bit
  • Wire cutters
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Riveting hammer
  • Bench block

EQUIPMENT:

  • Drill press or rotary tool

OPTIONAL:

  • Polishing machine

One Comment

  1. Pamela M at 5:25 pm May 22, 2017

    Where oh where do I find the gorgeous plexiglass colors in your article? I’ve searched the web, but any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

    Pam

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