My starting place in designing jewelry is almost always with the stones. I see each piece of jasper, agate, fossil or quartz as a small work of art in search of a frame, or a scene that can be expanded. Take this beautiful piece of Apache jasper, for instance. The horizon line and "trees" on the landscape are clear. In designing the bracelet to show off this amazing stone, I used copper wire to "extend" the horizon line on either side and added clusters of copper beads to create additional trees or brush.
Most of the jewelry I create is through fabrication -- sawing, drilling, hammering, milling, shaping -- but I do sometimes cast silver or work in PMC -- precious metal clay. I have made a few pieces that are metal-only or that incorporate glass or wood, but as I've said, I get most of my inspiration from the stones.
Traditional sterling silver is an alloy made by combining 92.5 percent silver with 7.5 percent copper. The Argentium silver I use for most of my work is a higher-purity silver alloy that also contains germanium. This makes the silver less subject to tarnishing.
I also sometimes sometimes add embellishments in 14-karat gold, copper or other non-ferrous metals.