Designing Jewellery with Gemotion
In 2018 I was fortunate to be teaching at the You Can Make It metal clay residential conference (look out for the 2020 conference in March) and was very excited to see samples of jewellery made with the Gemotion gemstone rivets. These are specially created in two pieces to snap together. Theyare available in 3mm and 4mm round and you can choose from white, blue, amber and pink. They can be used to create movement in a piece or as a rivet between two pieces. I'll explain more about how they work in this post.
I bought a pack of 3mm blue Gemotion stones from Metal Clay Ltd. As with lots of things I buy in excitement, they stayed in a drawer for a while! But as I get to choose the theme for the ring a month I decided to choose the theme 'movement' for July as it would give me an excuse to give them a try.
Here is the ring that I made.
Honestly, I had another design in mind! I had originally planned to make a round track for the gems to go around but my piece broke a couple of times and I realised that it might be a tough ask for my first time using them! So I went for a more simple but still rounded design and I have to say that I like it and have had great feedback about it.
Using the Gemotion to create movement
The Gemotion is a rivet that has two pieces that snap together like a popper/snap fastener (see the photo above). This then gives the piece a groove which is what allows it to move. As long as you make it correctly!
Here are the rules:
For a 3mm Gemotion rivet you need to create a channel in your piece that is between 3.1mm and 3.8mm
If you're using it as a rivet you need to drill a 3.5mm hole
For a 4mm Gemotion rivet you need to create a channel in your piece that is between 4.2mm and 4.8mm
If you're using it as a rivet you need to drill a 4.5mm hole
Although these are being sold by Metal Clay Ltd you could use these very successfully if you work with traditional silver jewellery making methods. In my case I did use metal clay and the following are my reflections and advice on working with them with silver clay.
Reflections and advice
Designing your piece
You need to be able to snap the two parts of the rivet together which meant that I had to design the piece so that it was open on the sides. If I didn't I wouldn't have been able to get the bottom part of the rivet underneath the channel. I used chain nosed pliers to press the rivet together and that worked well, the pieces are manufactured to fit perfectly.
Calculating your size
Firstly, remember that the above measurements are for fired pieces. With metal clay there is shrinkage which is different depending on the brand you use. For my ring I used Art Clay and I did a long hot firing (full ramp 880 degrees centigrade for 2 hours). I tend to fire my rings like that because I feel a long hot firing gives you a stronger piece.
I actually made the channel in the clay 4mm wide before firing. I should have gone bigger as the channel was too narrow when it came out of the kiln and I needed to file it (I used a metal needle file and checked the size regularly to make sure I didn't go too far the other way!) I did expect it to shrink down too small but I decided to err on the side of caution and file it down once fired. If you make the channel too big the rivets will just fall through.
Connecting the rivet
Getting the two pieces of the rivet in place together within the channel was a challenge! I came up with this solution (see the photo below). I used my third arm and a flat needle file. I put some tape on the end of the file and stuck the bottom part of the rivet onto it. Then I was able to manoeuvre the ring in place and snap on the gemstone part. I pressed it down enough to be able to remove the ring and rivet from the file and then used chain nosed pliers to snap the rivet on properly. Once I figured out this method it actually didn't take too long to do.
If you do drop any part of the rivet (I can't imagine you won't at some point!) keep an eye on where it bounces! It's small and you don't want to lose it.
Oh and once it's snapped together that's it, you can't open them again without damaging them so don't do it until the piece is finished.
I really enjoyed the challenge of designing with Gemotion. Now that I've made one piece I have loads of ideas for using them. I'd like to try them as a rivet for a pendant with two or more joined parts and I'd like to try the round track again (my nemesis from early makes!).
They are more expensive than just buying stones to set in a static way but I can see why that is. The pieces of the rivet fit together perfectly and they look very professional. The feedback I've had so far has been really positive, people have thought that the design of the ring is really unusual and liked that. Overall I'll definitely be using them again in my designs and I really recommend them.
I'd love to see what you make so do tag me when you share your designs on Instagram @annaccampbell
(By the way, this is not an ad or sponsored post. I purchased the Gemotion myself for full price and haven't been asked to review them and don't get anything if you buy them! I just love what you can do with them so want to share)