Jonathan Day - Silversmith

Making Silver

I make one of a kind hand wrought southwestern jewelry. I make it the way it was made 100 years ago. Back then they called it making silver. I melt mercury dimes to liquid form and pour that molten silver into a depression in sand or a channel carved in sandstone. That hunk of silver is called an ingot. I then hammer and roll and hammer some more until it becomes a blank canvas, the beginning of a bracelet or ring. I then stamp, file, chisel and add stones. I use only natural stones set in thick handmade coin ingot bezels. Most of the rock I cut myself from rough turquoise but I also like to use old stones from broken antique jewelry. My work is hard and physically demanding. It is imperfect; as it should be. I am often asked "Why don't you just have them wax cast or use sheet silver? You could make 6 bracelets in the time it takes you to make one this old fashioned way." Well they're right! I could. But I prefer the primitive tools and brute force it takes to make the silver do what I want. And the imperfections that occur are part of the magic. You cant get folds and fractures, cracks and dents in sheet. My bracelets are hard to make and made with love. The happiest I have ever been is when I hold a just finished bracelet in my hand. When I rub my fingers on the silver and it feels like butter and my heart jumps. I made this! It amazes me every time.

The Silver