Red hearts and gold leaf
a rich valentine's day treat

Years ago my friend Page made some delightful necklets with heart pendants; so I wasn't at all displeased when she asked me to reprise them, over a decade later. I worked up some samples, and as before, she requested ‘top drilled’ versions—but this time, with a bit more elegance to the shape.

a quickie photo of some samples... 28jan2020 (roughly). These are effetre 072, sangre, and marachino. Page ultimately chose to have them all in 072.

It's been awhile since I made hearts, but surprisingly the technique came back to me pretty readily. The easiest way I've discovered to get a nice hole on the bottom is to start with a cone shape. That is, I begin with a disk near the tip of the mandrel.[1] Then start a small tight wind on the mandrel and flare out: this becomes the actual (hollow) cone, that meets up with the disk; marver together to seal. After sealing, marver back to a nice cone (if needed.[2] )

This is two images at slightly different exposures (and alas, highlights) that I combined; I did a bit of work on the highlights to smooth them out. 05feb2020. Olympus E620...

Then I marvered the tip of the cone to smooth it out. I found I usually got a better result by making the base of the cone as flat as possible as well. After warming the widest part of the bead (but not the narrow, bottom tip of the heart!) I then flattened it with mashers, dragging distally (i.e. away from the point of the cone.) Now I had a flattened cone that was actually sort of gingko leaf shaped.

Here's a lens baby interpretation of the second lot.

I found making small, repeated cuts or dents with a knife (or #11 x-acto tool[3] ), going back and forth from one side of the bead to the other, helpful in keeping the two lobes of the heart the same size and shape. Sometimes I dragged the tool towards the point of the heart to feather the dent or cut.

I think this one is kind of nice.

The final step was hold bead (mostly) upside down while heating the lobes to get them to puff into nice half-round domes. Et voila, a hollow heart bead. (Oh well, and apply the leaf, but that's pretty straightforward.)

[1]I'm sorry there's only a description, but after dropping my phone—twice—while trying to take process pix, I decided it just wasn't in the cards. There are many tuts out there to making hearts, after all.

[2]And skipping this step generally proved to be a mistake.

[3]I went back and forth, using both or either, without a whole lot of difference in effect—I would say, use the #11 with really small hearts, mebbe