Fossil Jewelry: Make an Anadara Pendant with an Ancient Beach Memento
Get those seashells out of that box and make something beautiful with them–such as fossil jewelry like this Anadara pendant!
By Jim Landon
One cool, misty summer morning a few years back, my wife Kerry and I were walking a southern Oregon beach at low tide. We started picking up pieces of a most interesting thick fossil shell that possessed intriguing patterns and colors. That would make a cool lapidary material, I thought . . . then brought the pieces home, where they promptly disappeared into a box, another treasure waiting to be rediscovered. It would take a couple more chance encounters for that to happen, but it did.
Fast forward to February 2017 and the Tucson shows that draw people and every kind of rock, mineral, and fossil from all over the world. Wandering around the Rapa River Show, I saw jewelry with the very same kind of shell we’d collected on that Oregon beach. Dealer Bill Boss, from Northern California, had built a fossil jewelry line he was calling the C’Mere Anadara Collection–Anadara being the genus of the Miocene age clam that had once produced those fossil shell pieces.
Later, Kerry and I were visiting a Yakima, Washington, gallery that was going to display some of her fiber art. As usual, I headed to the jewelry section. On one of the shelves, my eyes fixed on a display of some of the most intricate, visually pleasing, and well-made earring and pendant pieces I had seen produced in our area. Lo and behold, I learned they’d been made by Dennis Rose, a former student of mine at Selah High School. When I later ran into him at one of our rock club meetings, we started talking.
The upshot of this encounter, along with our beachcombing and Tucson roaming, is the pendant project here. I asked Bill if he would provide the shell for it, and Dennis if he would design and fabricate the fossil jewelry, and they agreed.
How to Make Fossil Jewelry
Basic metalsmithing, Soldering, Stone setting
28g fine silver bezel
20g and 16g round sterling wire
medium wire solder
Rio Redi Flux
Purex #2 Pickle
drilled cultured pearl
Anadara shell cabochon
Hand: Swanstrom super flush cutter, rawhide mallet, measuring caliper, pointed punch, cutting shears, dapping block, Peddinghaus goldsmith hammer, small jewelers anvil, files, burnishing tool
Solder: Oxygen/propane torch Ceramic pottery glazing soldering triangle Third hand soldering station
Other: Encore QCX Benchmate, Foredom Flex Shaft drill, 3M bristle discs (80, 220, 400, one micron)
JIM LANDON is a long-time high school science teacher, rock hound, and jewelry artist who lives in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Washington.
This project is featured in the May/June 2018 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. See inside this issue in the Lookbook!
See this project and many more, plus gemstone and metalsmithing news and products in the May/June 2018 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.