Under the Rose
Under the Rose

Handmade Jewellery Series: Morse Code

handmade necklace

Tracy Gray reveals the inspiration behind the morse-code designs, and how her designs are a favourite with the nation’s favourite TV drama…

The idea

I saw something on television about morse code, and I started thinking, ‘I wonder if I can fit dots and dashes onto jewellery, to say something?’ I liked the idea that you could use a decoder, and that you could have a beautiful piece of jewellery that has a secret message which is only known by you.

The design process

making morse

My first couple of trials were really difficult, there are up to four dots and dashes for each letter or each number, so it actually took me a long time to make the collection. I had to do lots of different castings so that the code would fit onto jewellery, ensuring that the finished pieces wouldn’t be too heavy or too small, but still giving people room to write a personalised message.

Creating the jewellery

  • First we layout out the message in the silver dots and dashes, making sure the message is clear and individual words aren’t broken.
  • The we thread the message on the silver thread in order so they read from left to right.
  • The silver thread has tiny silver chain ends soldered on.
  • It’s then popped in to pickle to remove any firescale (marks left by the heat), the chain is then added to make the piece a bracelet or a necklace, with links to make it adjustable.
  • All jump rings and clasps are permanently soldered with our micro laser welder.
  • The made-up piece is tumbled for an hour in shot to be cleaned and remove any weld marks.
  • We then highly polish the finished jewellery by hand with a pendant drill.
  • That’s it! The jewellery packed in our bespoke boxes with a morse code card to translate the message.
Soldering

Soldering

Polishing

Polishing

Favourite piece

It’s the morse code ladies’ bracelet. For me, there is nothing like it out there, because my heart and soul went into it. It’s a lovely, weighty piece of jewellery, it looks beautiful, and it is meaningful.

Special commissions

I love a challenge! We were contacted by the Eastenders programme, as they wanted the river engraved. Every time someone leaves, they contact us and we engrave the river onto jewellery. They came to us and asked if we could do it, and I said, ‘Yes’, and then I thought – ‘I need to think how I’m going to do this!’. I always say yes first – it’s how things get done.

Tracy's picks