These concrete and gold gems were born out of the failure of another project. Actually, it wasn’t a complete failure, because I eventually adapted that project to work. But when I was originally envisioning the wall-mounted stud earring rack I made, it was a tabletop version. I experimented with pouring it a cement block base, which took a couple of tries before I eventually changed it completely. I had leftover wet cement after each try, so I poured it into whatever containers and molds I had handy. That meant I made some candle holders, and these gem earrings and brooches.
I really like the mix of the industrial cement and the refined gold leaf. So even though cement didn’t work for the original project, I’m glad I experimented with it, because I got to make this concrete and gold gem jewelry. I’m working on some future projects using cement, too.
These work well as either earrings or pins, or you could even add a push-pin or magnet to the back, and use them as decor.
Quikrete, or other quick-setting cement
Earring blanks and/or pin blanks
Gold leaf adhesive
Gold leaf sealer
(I used this gold leaf kit for the gold leaf, adhesive, and sealer)
Small paint brush
Disposable mixing stick
Measuring spoons that you won’t use for food
1. Mix up a very small amount of cement according to the instructions on the package. Working quickly, spoon it into the mold and smooth it out. Shake and tap the mold to help minimize air bubbles.
2. Let the cement set, then pop out of the molds. If you want to make a pair of earrings, and only have one mold, you’ll have to repeat the first step to get a matching set. Your cement colors may not match perfectly, but the more carefully you measure and mix your cement and water, the closer they’ll be.
If they’re thin enough, you can break off rough extra bits on the back of the piece. You can also sand them off with sandpaper.
3. Glue the earring or pin blanks to the backs of the gems. Let dry.
4. After the glue has dried, seal the cement with the gold leaf sealer. Let the sealer dry.
5. Follow the directions that came with your gold leaf, and brush your gems with adhesive. Mine said to let the adhesive dry for 20-45 minutes. While you’re waiting, tear up your gold leaf into little shreds, or bigger pieces if you prefer. I tried both, and I ended up liking the little pieces better.
6. Adhere your gold leaf to the cement gems, which should be sticky. I just stuck the little pieces of gold to my fingers, and then pressed the leaf onto the gem until I was happy with the pattern. Let dry.
7. Brush the gems with sealer. I did two coats, as the directions instructed. Let dry.
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