Piercing is not just for body parts!

Brass Raven, still with tracing paper and brass filings - work in progress
Brass Raven, still with tracing paper and brass filings – work in progress

One of the skills you are taught as a silversmith, in fact a smith of any kind of fine metal is piercing. Piercing is the term used for removing sections of metal with a very fine tooth saw. It is a very precise practise that takes some learning before you master it. It is the bane of many silversmiths, as is chain-making, and requires a high degree of perseverance and concentration. Accuracy is paramount.

I’ve always admired very intricate and delicate designs produced in jewellery, from the astonishing filigree work of Moorish silversmiths, to the beautifully complex knot-work of the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, and indeed the work of master-crafts-persons like Faberge. Of course many techniques are often employed in a piece in order to achieve the desired effect, one of which will undoubtedly involve the piercing of metal which is an integral part of being a metal smith. However, what really appealed to me when I was undergoing my own training at college years ago was using the art of piercing and fretwork as the main decorative focus for a piece of jewellery, and being that I like a challenge, the kind that others tend to drop like a hot brick, I decided that I would learn to master it. A relaxed sawing hand, a vice-like finger grip with the other hand, and an acute eye are what’s required, and of course good lighting so that you can see your work clearly without too much glare.

Although I am far from having mastered this art, fretwork has become one of my favourite techniques and I get giddy with excitement at the thought of how intricate I can make a design. All designs are my own (except for the leaves, nature takes all the credit there), although they may reflect certain styles. Here’s a selection of several works in progress, and the first piece of pierced fretwork that I produced as a college student.


Published by Maria a.k.a. Bess/Ishaiya

I am an artist, writer, photographer and social commentator. Mum, wife, Synaesthete, linguist, cook, ex-musician and philosopher. Not necessarily in that order.

13 thoughts on “Piercing is not just for body parts!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and liking my work Jennie!
      I guess a master piece would be like a Faberge Egg, or the kind of work watch-makers of old would produce, very perfect and precise. Unlike my work which is a little rough around the edges in comparison! 🙂


  1. Where else are you?? Your blogs are like a labyrinth – I click on one and I’m transported to something completely new! I don’t know how I can keep up. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make silver jewellery, too.


    1. I have six blogs in total if you count The Hat Rack, all of which are accessible now under the Hat. I split them up because I have so many interests, and I found that having it all under one blog meant that posts were not being read and thus getting lost. Also it makes it easier to keep track of everything if it’s all separate. Labyrinth is a good term for it, me.

      Making silver jewellery is fun, but tricky, although I like it because I get to play with fire and burn metal, so to speak. I also get to play with sharp pointy things which makes me happy, and at the end of it all produce, hopefully, something pleasing and wearable.
      I also have a shop on Etsy that sells less of the silver stuff, but more of the other kind of jewellery I make.
      Either way, I’m pleased that you have taken such an interest in what I do, I’m quite humbled and smiley about it actually.


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