Silver Secrets

Volant Silver Secrets is the place where we explain terminology we use and give an insight into how we create our jewellery.

Silver Secrets #1 – Bail

A bail is a piece of metal that is used to hang a charm or pendant.  Often we make our own bails from sterling silver but occasionally we buy them from other skilled artisans. See also Jump Ring, below.

Silver Secrets #2 – Bangle

Bangles are circular or oval in shape and the two ends of the silver used to make them are joined (unlike a cuff – see below). They are typically rigid in design and intended to be worn on the wrist. The use of bangles as jewellery originates from India, as is the word itself originated from the Indian ‘Hindi Bungri’.

Silver Secrets #3 – Bracelet

Unlike a bangle, a bracelet is chain based and flexible. It may be worn around the wrist or the ankle and is generally fastened together with a clasp. Bracelets may be worn by themselves or dressed up with charms.

Silver Secrets #4 – Cleaning Cloth

A soft impregnated cloth intended for cleaning silver jewellery. A good cleaning cloth will last through several uses, especially if kept in airtight conditions. We supply a silver jewellery cleaning cloth with all orders.

Silver Secrets # 5 – Cuff

Our cuffs are designed to be wrist worn. They may be round or oval in shape and have a gap to enable them to be slid onto the wrist rather than over the hand, which means they can be chosen to give a tighter fit.

Silver Secrets #6 – Cufflink Stems

These are parts of the cufflinks which post through the holes in a shirt and hold the cufflink in place. We currently use solid stems as they are easier and quicker for you to fit on your shirt. The hinged type stems can be more difficult to use. And that’s the last thing you want while rushing to get ready for work in the morning. That’s a Volant silver secret!

Silver Secrets #7 – Delft Clay

This is the proper name for the ‘sand’ we cast our pendants in. It is very fine and a little oily to the touch. It’s possible to replicate very fine detail in a good delft impression. After casting, the part of  the clay touching where the silver was cast becomes burnt and we discard it.

Silver Secrets #8 – Diamond Cut Chain

This is our preferred sterling silver chain and is offered on many of our necklace products. As we make quite substantial, heavy silver pendants we had to choose a chain hat would handle them. Usually we only deviate from using this chain when the product design demands it. This chain is so beautiful you could wear it by itself and it would stand out. It reflects the light brilliantly.

Silver Secrets #9 – Hand Stamped Personalisation

We can personalise some suitable products for you with initials or messages. We do this by selecting individual steel letter or shape stamps and striking their mark with a hammer. Its harder than it sounds! Getting the right pressure from the hammer strike is critical. Too little and you don’t get a good impression. Too much and you distort the reverse side of the piece. Getting correct alignment and spacing is also key.

Silver Secrets #10 – Jump Ring

Similar to a bail, but its a simple silver ring that allows a pendant to hang from a necklace or a bangle, cuff or bracelet. We solder all such rings closed so that they won’t let you down.

Silver Secrets #11 – Layered

See Stacking, below

Silver Secrets #12 – Pendant

The word pendant derives from the Latin word pendere and Old French word pendr, both of which translate to “to hang down”. It comes in the form of a loose-hanging piece of jewellery, generally attached by a small loop to a necklace, which may be known as a “pendant necklace”. A pendant earring is an earring with a piece hanging down. In modern French, pendant is the gerund form of pendre (” to hang”) and also means “during”. The extent to which the design of a pendant can be incorporated into an overall necklace makes it not always accurate to treat them as separate items. In some cases, though, the separation between necklace and pendant is far clearer. (source – Wikipedia)

Silver Secrets #13 – Reverse

Where you see this word used in our product descriptions we are simply referring to the back of an item, as opposed to the front. If there are any details on the reverse of a piece we usually add an extra photo to show these. Sometimes, things don’t really have a reverse, for example a pendant that can we worn either way such as our Pebble Pendant Necklace. However we have to put the hallmark somewhere, and sometimes the only option is on one side of a piece, which really then makes that the reverse as most people would wear it so that the hallmark wasn’t showing

Silver Secrets #14 – Sand Casting

Our Pendants for necklaces, bracelets and cuffs are cast by us in sand. We heat the silver grain to about 1100 degrees centigrade and pour it into sand. In the sand cast is an impression of the item we are replicating. after a successful sand cast there is lots of filing, polishing and finishing to do. See also Delft Clay above.

Silver Secrets # 15 – Scallop

Referring to the shape, we would describe this as a series of raised and dipped curves in an item, usually a bangle or cuff. Our most popular scallop press is comprised of 12 scallops; the most scallops we have on a press is 24, but that is so many it will only work on very flexible silver wire.

Silver Secrets #16 – Stacking

You will often hear me coming before you see me as I love stacking and layering my jewellery so I often enter a room with the tinkle of sterling silver bangles.  We have a great selection of jewellery that is perfect for stacking.  They look great stacked in twos or threes.  You can layer our necklaces which make a perfect adornment to any outfit day or night.  We might think that stacking jewellery is quite a new thing but think of Madonna in the eighties with row upon row of black rubber arm candy and we’ve been stacking our rings for years.  How many of us wear an engagement ring with a wedding ring and eternity band.  It’s a great way to wear lots of your shiny treasures all at once.

Silver Secrets #17 – Sterling Silver

Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by weight of silver and 7.5% by weight of other metals, usually copper. The sterling silver standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925. Sterling silver alloy originated in continental Europe and was being used for commerce as early as the 12th century. There are some really crass versions of silver out there and we just do NOT use them! Our sterling silver is the real thing. We buy sterling silver grain in bulk from the UK’s most reputable wholesaler. All our pieces are hallmarked as sterling silver by Sheffield Assay Office.

Silver Secrets #18 – Tactile

Of or connected with the sense of touch. From the Latin Tactilis.

Silver Secrets #19 – Tumbling

This is part of the finishing process. After a piece is just about ready, we put it in a barrel that turns round and round. Inside the barrel are lots of different sized stainless steel shapes. These give a very clean, soft, shiny finish to our sterling silver jewellery. The first tumble takes three hours. After hallmarking, we give all pieces another short tumble so that they are ready for despatch to you.

Silver Secrets #20 – Volant Life

Volant Life is where we share where we’ve been, what gives us inspiration, and posts about our passion for sterling silver jewellery.


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