• Tutorial: 'The Royal Secret Keeper' Locket, Part One

    This tutorial was originally published in 2013 on my old blog. I have copied it here for convenience.

    I get asked pretty often - especially at shows - what goes into the making of my pieces, so I decided to show the world how I made 'The Royal Secret Keeper', which is a layered brass locket necklace.  Because of the mixed finishes and the multiple layers, soldering wasn't a good option because the heat would damage the finishes. Therefore, I am using E6000 - an industrial strength adhesive - to assemble this piece.  It is very, very strong.

    Here are the materials I used for the locket itself (click photos to enlarge): 

    • One vintage brass locket, 38mm in diameter
    • Two silver plated filigrees
    • One sliver ox pronged setting for a 20mm stone
    • One dapped brass filigree, 20mm in diameter
    • One brass crown setting
    • One silver peacock coin pearl


    Not Pictured:

    • One silver plated brass rivet
    • Eight tiny 5pp rhinestones
    • Sculpt Nouveau Antique Black Patina
    • E6000 adhesive
    • G-S Hypo Cement adhesive


    1.) First I buffed the locket well with a brass brush in my Flex Shaft, washed it well, rinsed it in vinegar to remove any remaining grease, rinsed again and then applied the patina.  I use Sculpt Nouveau's Antique Black, but Swellegant (which is based on Sculpt Nouveau) works really well if you don't want or need large quantities.

    Once the patina is where I want it,  I rinse it under clear water, dry it, then buff it again.

    Raw Brass Locket: Before and After Patina & Polishing



    2.) The locket isn't flat, so the filigree needs to be dapped to follow the contours of the locket.  I used a wood dapping block and the rounded end of one of my hammers to gently shape both filigrees.

    Filigree inside dapping block


     3.) One side at a time and using spring clamps, glue the dapped filigrees to the clean locket with E6000, allowing the glue to set well before doing the other side.  My locket had a swedge hole on the front side, so the attachment is also reinforced with a rivet.  The rivet was a bit too long so it's not the tidiest riveting job, but it won't be seen so I am not concerned.  It is an aesthetic issue only.

    4.) Remove the hanging loop from the setting; file smooth.  Glue setting to the front of the locket; clamp until set.

    Locket front with filigree and setting


    I had originally planned to stop here and finish the locket with a cabochon, but none of my hand cast resin ones looked quite right and I am out of 20mm stone or glass cabs.  

    5.) Layer on the brass filigree atop the setting and secure with the prongs.
    6.) Glue the crown setting atop the filigree.  Let dry.
    7.) Set the coin pearl.
    8.) Add the tiny rhinestones to the holes around the edge of the filigree, using G-S Hypo cement.

    All it needs are the rhinestones


    Here's the locket, ready for final finishing.  All it needs now is for me to police up any stray glue (I cannot abide visible glue or solder!) and then allow the entire piece to cure until tomorrow, at which time I will give the whole piece a thorough cleaning, tweak the patina, polish it well and then seal it with Renaissance Wax.

    Ready for final cleaning, polishing and sealing.


    Next time: the finished necklace!

    Thank you for visiting my cyber workshop, and I hope you'll come back for more. 

    ~R.

    P.S. I hope you are inspired to use these techniques to create your own original designs!