Yin silver making workshop

Walking along the seafront of Gili T nestled amongst the bars, clubs and scuba schools is a small jewellers called Yin. This oasis of calm on the beer swilling, rump-shaking party side of the island offers a nice alternative break from the norm.

Running two classes a day one at 10am and one at 3pm yin lets you create (under guidance and supervision) your own unique item of jewellery. This can be anything you like and the course cost us 350,000 RP each including 5g of silver. Extra grams of silver were charged at 15,000 RP.

Our teacher was very friendly Indonesian guy called Rain. To get us started we were given pencil and paper to sketch out our design ideas.

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Rain then had us melt down our silver into a workable pellet so that we could turn it into thinner wire through a press. This process isn't necessary for all designs but ours needed it.

This process involves a lot of heating the silver and rolling it through the press until it is at a thickness that allows it to be moulded into shape. Hannah was creating a manta necklace and I decided to make a bracelet with a fish hook clasp. Rain gave us both a good bit of tuition, helping us to get to the point where our designs started to come to life.

Once shaped the metal needed joining and this is achieved by burning a flux material and melting silver into the gaps or areas that need joining. When the torches are going they use something close to petrol and playing with a blowtorch is really good fun- if not scary at first!

After everything has been jointed the jewellery has to go into mild acid bath for around ten minutes to clean it and then it needs to be thoroughly washed with soapy water before it finally gets a polish with wire brushes and sandpaper. 

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After that Hannah's was finished but I needed to go and get some leather twine from the shop to finish the bracelet. Now I'm not the best at plaiting so Hannah kindly helped me to put all the pieces together by braiding the leather around the separate elements. And just like that we were all done. 

The workshop was really good fun (Rain let us go over time by more than an hour to finish) and it's great to get a peek and experience the effort that goes into making these things.

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For the price, the jewellery course is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon and the people at Yin were really accommodating for everything we needed while we were there. If you have the time while you're on Gili T I would definitely recommend you check these guys out.

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