Fordite Pendant Necklace - 1.81"
Fordite Pendant Necklace - 1.81"
American-Made Motor Agate... The bright, jewel-like layers of Fordite are comprised of thousands of layers of automobile paint. Drop by drop, each layer represents a different vehicle as it passed through the paint booth in the factory. Heated to hundreds of degrees, the layers fused together to form one of the most beautiful and completely accidental man-made composites.
This 18-inch (~45cm) Sterling Silver wheat chain necklace features a custom-crafted piece of Fordite. The Fordite pendant measures 1.81 inches in length. Colors and patterns will vary widely, so each piece is sure to be unique.
Motor Agate Treasure
The bright, jewel-like layers of Fordite are comprised of thousands of layers of automobile paint. Drop by drop, each layer represents a different vehicle as it passed through the paint booth in the factory. Heated to hundreds of degrees, the layers fused together to form one of the most beautiful and completely accidental man-made composites.
This necklace is made with a refined piece of fordite, which has been cut and smoothed to show the beautiful colors and patterns of the material. Each pendant is a completely unique piece of jewelry and no two are the same. The fordite is set into a sterling silver backing along with an 18 inch wheat chain.
This specimen comes from the historic Ford River Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan. The material dates to the late 1950s, when the facility had first begun producing the original generations of iconic cars like the Fairlane and the Thunderbird.
A variety of pendants are available, each with a one-of-a-kind set of colors and patterns. You can find blues, reds, blacks, whites, and silvers in a psychedelic swirl. Check out all of our currently available necklaces at the collection below!
📸 A large piece of unprocessed fordite
MORE ABOUT FORDITE
📸 The Ford Model A on the line at the River Rouge factory
Layers of Paint and History
The earliest cars were painted by hand, often using brushes or by dipping parts in slow-drying varnishes. By some accounts it took days to dry car bodies, and manufacturers like Henry Ford took to pre-making thousands of car bodies in advance and storing them on floors built above the assembly line.
By the 1920s, advances in paint technology allowed the industry to move to spray guns and faster drying nitrocellulose lacquers. It was during this time that most cars began undergoing heat treatment to bond the lacquer to the metal and to help the paint dry even faster.
Fordite first made its appearance in the 1940s. As thousands of vehicles moved more quickly through each factory, dripping paint from overspray built up on the rails and eventually had to be chipped away. The colors of the time were darker and more muted, but the swirling patterns were all there. Later, during the 1950's and 1960's when acrylic lacquers had taken over, Fordite appeared in bright metallic colors.
In the 1970's, auto manufacturers began moving to electrostatic bonding of paint to cut down on waste and to reduce the environmental impact of volatile organic compounds. The introduction of industrial paint robots also cut down on the amount of Fordite produced by the automotive industry, but, despite rumors to the contrary, "new" Fordite can still be found. Today, over 90,000,000 cars and trucks are produced around the world each and every year. That's more than 170 vehicles a minute. Two cars were produced while you read the last two sentences. And no matter where on Earth they are assembled, each and every one needs to be painted.
📸 The River Rouge complex in 1927
The Site of Mass Production
The material used in this necklace comes from the Ford River Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan. This factory complex was first opened in the late 1910s, building boats for the war effort. In 1927, the first automobile was manufactured at the Rouge, the Ford Model A.
The entire plant spans a massive 900 acres and contains its own docks, electric plant, and steel mill, capable of turning the raw materials of production into fully functioning vehicles. For a time it was the largest factory in the world.
The Rouge has many achievements to its name, remaining in operation from 1918 to the modern day. It has been home to fourteen generations of the F-series pickup truck, as well as the Model T, Model A, Model B, Model 48, 1937 Ford, Fairlane, Thunderbird, Mustang, Capri, Cougar, and more.
Ford, Henry, and Samuel Crowther. My Life and Work: In Collaboration with Samuel Crowther. Cornstalk Publishing Company, 1922.
Geffen, Charlette A., and Sandra Rothenberg. "Suppliers and Environmental Innovation: the Automotive Paint Process." International Journal of Operations & Production Management 20.2 (2000): 166-186.