And I thought you might like to play along with me.
By the way, Dracula is great. I much prefer it to Frankenstein except that it’s spoiled somewhat by the fact that the Gary Oldman/Keanu Reeves movie is so true to the book that I can see it all playing out in front of me again. I really wanted to imagine it differently this time.
Oh well. Rebecca next…
Or Anna Karenina.
So onto the project.
I bought a lovely piece of Sage Amethyst and thought I’d make another of my boxy pieces.
So if you fancy making one here’s how I did it.
I drew a rough design around the stone.
Then I took a length of bezel wire that is the same width as the depth of the stone and shaped it into the top three sides of the box.
You can just about see it below.
I sniped it to sit perfectly on top of the stone.
Then I bent another piece of the bezel wire across the top of the stone.
And soldered it to the bottom part of the box.
(Prepare for fuzzy photo)
I turned it over and soldered what will be the top of the box onto a piece of silver leaving enough overhang on the bottom edge to create a lip that will cover the top of the stone slightly
Then I cut around the sides of the box.
(Another fuzzy photo)
and checked out how it fit to the stone.
I actually thought of leaving it right here as the plain silver looked so good on its own. But you know me and my fiddly ways…
Here’s the lip.
You can see above that the area where the sides of the box and the stone meet doesn’t lie flat on the block. Annoyingly I had forgotten my own instructions and chosen the wrong bezel depth so I had to adjust the lip slightly so that it didn’t lay quite as far over the stone as I would have liked. This allowed the two pieces to sit flush.
Had the sides of the box been deep enough I wouldn’t have had to kick myself and swear (just a little – I’ve had bigger problems) but as I’m all about problem solving I manned up and moved on.
So much for paying attention.
Then I forgot all about it when noticed a half set little Tiger’s Eye just laying around on the table doing nothing much in particular and thought it might look good with the amethyst.
The colour actually looks a lot better with it than this photo gives it justice and, as Snow White would sing anytime she had chores to do – Someday my Prince will come – It was as if it knew its soul mate would eventually come.
Somehow thinking of P when I’m doing the washing up doesn’t quite have the same effect on me..
As the sides of the tiger eye bezel wasn’t as deep as I wanted it I decided to make it another.
Now I don’t know if you remember, but I had an awful time fiddling around trying to get this vice thing to work for me.
But now I can tell you it’s my new best friend.
I just wasn’t being stern enough with the screws on the top.
Now I’ve figured out that I just have to be firm with it the thing holds the tubes, and whatever else you want it to hold, like a champ.
So I cut another length of tubing to fit the tiger eye.
And placed the cut off bit back in the vise and made sure to sand the ends completely flat.
You can file right down the vise and not damage the file, or so the Internet says, and you know the Internet is always right…
Once you’ve done that you can use your nifty bur to drill down into the tube to cut a seat for the cabochon to rest on.
As you probably know you can purchase cabochons, tubing and bur sizes in various millimeters so that they all correspond to make setting a stone a breeze. Once you get the hang of the annoying vise…
See here how it sits so pretty.
Took me over a year to figure out the easy way to do this.
Man I’m slow…
Next I cut out a matching hole on the top of the box.
You can just about see below that the tube has been soldered to just stand proud of the top of the box. You want the tube to fit snug into the hole you’ve made so that the solder joins the two completely and you want just enough of the bezel showing above the box to be able to push the sides over to hold the bezel.
Next I filed the bottom flush.
And cut out a backing sheet of 22 gauge fine silver to fit both the top box and the stone.
Before soldering the top to the backing plate, however, you have to pierce the back so that air can escape as you don’t really want another explosion in the studio.
My tube sits all the way down and will be soldered to the back plate so creating a sealed chamber around it inside.
My preferred way to do this is to trace around the pieces to be soldered with a Sharpie pen.
This way I can play around with some ideas and then saw out my design.
After I have done this I can then go ahead and solder the box to the back plate knowing exactly where the design will lay by matching the top to the Sharpie lines.
I then drew in the bottom part of the stone again and drilled some holes for the prong setting.
I like to solder the prongs using a charcoal block. This way I can place each prong into the hole I’ve drilled and gently tap it with a hammer so that it sinks down into the charcoal a little. I place each prong as you would close a bezel up, tapping the next prong on the opposite side, etc., etc., until they are all in. This way seems to keep them more secure.
Then I place a little blob of solder at the base of each prong and place the leaves around the bezel and after soldering
See if I haven’t completely messed up and that the stone fits correctly.
Here is the pierced back.
And my grubby finger. Oh how we suffer for our art…
Here I have cut the excess silver from around the box and stone and have cut the prongs down to their correct height and finished them by shaving some of their thickness off and smoothing out the tips.
Here’s it’s sexy shot.
I fashioned it a simple, yet charming bale and soldered that to the top after I finished up the back design.
At this point we know that it would be an extraordinary thing for me to have managed to photograph every stage of the pendant’s making.
Extraordinary I am not.
I forgot to show you the back.
You’ll have to improvise.
Here is the piece sanded, patina’d and buffed.
Turns out that I’m not completely happy with it because the top left hand of the stone doesn’t sit as snug as I would have liked it to and the prongs are set too far out on the left hand side. I think it happened when I had to fiddle with the lip to fit over the stone.
But I will bravely continue on with my struggle to produce technically perfect little pieces of lovelies.
I’ll never surrender…
And here’s its back.
Finished while you weren’t looking.
And here’s another piece I had on the back burner.
So let me know if you make one.