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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Etsy Expats: Berlin via Brussels

Etsy Expats: Berlin via Brussels: "by anakit
I don’t usually condone my fellow expats in Brussels complaining about everything Belgian. Sure the weather is unstable, but hey..."

Diamond Drills Are a Girl's Best Friend

I had this insane idea of combining my love of jewelry with my passion for beautiful vintage china. I've been making the former with a passion for a while now and recently I have again started accumulating vast amounts of old porcelain and bone china, simply because I loved the desing and the intricate handpainted details.

One thing led to another and I got myself a Dremel. A Dremel is a high-speed rotating tool used for carving, sanding or drilling. However porcelain and bone china are among the hardest materials around. So your regular drillbits simply won't do. You need diamond-clad bits, because diamonds are the hardest substence on Earth. So I got some.

The first opportunity to try everything out came yesterday. I had recently bought a truly stunning Alka Bavaria collector's set of a teacup, saucer and sandwich plate. The shade of grey-blue was poetic and the intricate gold detail was handpainted with real gold. Unfortunately it arrived broken. The only surviving piece was the plate. The teacup lost a handle and the saucer was broken into several pieces.

I picked out a few pieces that still had the beautiful pattern and similar shapes. I started drilling.

To drill porcelain is very tricky, because although very hard, it's also very fragile. It can easily break under too much pressure or if it gets too hot. The friction between the drillbit and the material causes heat. That's where lubrication steps in! I took a large baking pan, padded it with a thick cork mat, poured water over it, so the porcelain piece was submerged in it, as was the tip of the drill.

And then you start. It takes forever to drill a tiny tiny hole only a few milimetres deep. And that's not all, after you've finally pierced through all the holes you need, you still need to sand every piece. As china breaks, the edges are very sharp. You need to lovingly sand every edge so it's completely smooth. Again I did this using my new diamond drill.

Once you have what you need, you can incorporate it in the final jewelry piece.
Broken China Girl Necklace
One of a kind porcelain earrings