Yesterday I went to a silver jewellery workshop, run by a company in Ubud called Chez Monique – they offer the unique opportunity to make your very own silver souvenir, a ring, necklace or earrings.
The class is run by a friendly chap called Sunarta. I ask if his whole family are silversmiths and he explains that in earlier times the skills and techniques were passed down through families, but these days things have changed. ‘You can’t tell kids what to do these days, they want to choose for themselves’, he says. On asking about the name of the business he reveals that Monique is the name of his wife. He tells me that most of the custom made jewellery he makes is shipped to Australia and Hawaii.
Over the years I have collected a lot of silver rings, which I no longer wear. I brought these with me to Bali to see if I could find a place to have them melted down and turned into something new. I emailed Sunarta and he said he was happy to do this for me. So I signed up for his workshop and handed over my rings. Melting them was a relatively simple process, they were put into a small clay pot and heated with a special blow torch which was pumped by foot. “What gas do you use for the blow torch?” I ask, “Petrol” Sunarta replies. Uh huh, good to know! A white powder was added to the bowl to make sure the silver liquefied well.
I had a silver nugget in mind, and when the melted silver had solidified I decided to preserve it in its ‘natural’ state. It is quite heavy, Sunarta estimated it is about 35gms, but I like the heaviness and the rawness of my new silver nugget necklace. I stamped UBUD on the back, and BLISS on the front, then added a loop for the chain to go through. Very unique, with a good story to tell. Just like me.