Thursday, 5 May 2011

My stone setting project...at last!

Do you all remember this...?




For those of you who regularly read my blog you will remember that many weeks ago in this post I mentioned that my next project at my silversmithing class was to set an unusual stone. I bought this lovely piece of agate. After many weeks of work I can finally reveal the finished piece.







Here it is....I am very pleased with it. I have shown it here on a chain I already own (no not handmade, I still have to get the time to make one!)

I know that many of you really enjoy seeing the design process of my silversmithing so I thought that I would take you through it in this post.

The first thing I had to do was decide on the type of setting I wanted. As the stone is quite stunning by itself I did not want too elaborate a setting. The cut agate has a wonderful depth to it, almost as if "looking through a forest". I had the idea of looking at it through "branches" which would serve as claws. I searched through lots of books and finally decided that a silver flattened wire border which did not quite encase the stone was the way for me to go.










I sketched some designs and then made some practice pieces first in metal wire and then in copper so that I could get a feel of how silver wire would behave.







I finally decided that "icicle" type shapes would really suit my stone.

This is the blue wire I practiced with first and then I tried forming the claws in copper.



 I also got an idea of how the claws could lie across the stone.




















Before I could attach any claws I had to make the base setting for the stone using silver sheet. I needed to make a "bezel" setting which would hold the stone in place and also serve as an attachment for the wire claws.
 The next job was to use silver bezel strip to make the bezel setting. This is made of very fine silver which can be easily bent. The strip was bent tightly around the stone and then cut and the join soldered. The whole bezel setting then had to be soldered to the silver base. Soldering the bezel strip on was a nightmare as it is very thin in comparison to the silver sheet and very easy to melt.

Once the bezel setting was in place on the silver sheet I cut round the shape with a saw.

After lots of filing smooth it was time to form the "claws" and solder them to the sides of the bezel. Again this was incredibly fiddly and it was so difficult not to melt the thin bezel sheet.





After several small stages of soldering I had all the pieces in place.









I decided that I wanted my chain to be hung from behind the pendant and come up at a less acute angle than that seen by hanging it from a bail at the top. To achieve this I had to make 2 small curved pieces of silver and solder them onto the back of the setting. This was not easy and keeping those 2 pieces in place took lots of balancing! The hole in the back was to enable me to push the stone out before it was permanently fitted.
Next it was time to polish my piece and I used a combination of hand, motor and barrel polishing to achieve a mirror finish.
Finally I put the stone in place and gently bent over the bezel setting and the claws. This was quite a slow process as it was important not to split the bezel and also to get a smooth finish. After some final filing and sanding, using wet and dry paper, my pendant was finished.


Here it is again in close up on the  chain...and yes at some point I really do plan to make another chain. If only there were more weeks in my jewellery class year! There are only 7 more weeks left of this year at my class, I think someone has been making time fly by. We are now working on an enamelling project which I hope to finish by the end of term. Fingers crossed. I will keep you  posted and hopefully have something new to show you at the end of June. I really enjoy sharing all my "making and doing" with you all, I find this blogging world such a kind, friendly place to be. Thanks always for visiting me here and for all your lovely comments you take the time to leave me. Hello also to my "silent readers" - I really do appreciate your visits.

Sending you all some more of this most wonderful sunshine we have now enjoyed  for over a month. Bliss!

Bye for now,

Jane x

18 comments:

  1. Hello Jane! That is amazing and so beautiful! It's great to see how you work - otherwise it's difficult to understand what all steps the jewelry needs to be finished!
    Have a lovely weekend! Teje

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  2. Hi Jane, What an amazing process in your lovely jewelry making. I love your design and stone. So unusual and elegant. It will make a wonderful accent piece to your wardrobe. Congratulatons on a great job. Have a great weekend. xoRobin❤

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  3. Hi Teje, I agree, I think it gives some idea of how many hours goes into these pieces...lots of loving work there! Have a great weekend too,
    Jane x

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  4. Thanks Robin, it is such a lovely stone, it feels great to be able to finally wear it. Enjoy the weekend too,
    Jane x

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  5. Hi Jane, what a beautiful piece of jewellery! Really interesting just to see all the design and work that goes into the making of it. You've done a good job, it looks absolutely perfect. The agate is gorgeous, it's really is a slice of time, isn't it!
    Have a great weekend,
    Vivienne x

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  6. Hi Jane, loved seeing you take us through the process of making this lovely mounted stone piece. I also took many jewelry courses and did similar things, using silver and even gold. That was before gold go way too costly! You did great! Hugs, Teresa

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  7. Hi Jane! Beautiful work, here! So much thought and creativity with a delicate touch went into this piece- and the stunning results truly suit your talents! :o)
    P.S.
    Hiking over to the bluebell post, next!

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  8. Thanks everyone....

    Hi Vivienne, you are very kind and yes that stone really is a slice of time...such depth to it. Have a wonderful holiday, "see" you when you get back

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    Hi Teresa, as a fellow jeweller you will appreciate that the cost of our base materials, aside from gold, silver prices have just rocketeted!This was a fun piece to set!Take care,

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    Michele, I've missed you! Good to see you back. I am enjoying wearing my new piece of jewellery.

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    Always great to hear from you all.Happy Friday, nearly the weekend,
    Jane x

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  9. Hello Jane! I do enjoy hearing how you make your jewellery - you are very good at explaining it too! This piece is amazing, and most unusual. I hope you have a lovely weekend.
    Helen x

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  10. Thanks Helen, I love sharing my design process as it also serves as write up of my projects and it is fun to look back on too.
    Enjoy your garden over the weekend - but we do so need some rain now don't we!
    Jane x

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  11. Hello Jane!
    Thank you so much for calling by my blog...your work is beautiful and I am going to enjoy reading more in the future...
    Wishing you a lovely weekend,
    Susan x

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  12. Hi Susan, great to see you here, thanks for your kind comment and come back again soon!
    Jane x

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  13. I have said this MANY times before, but your talent never stops amazing me, Jane! You can make cards, cakes, jewelry, and all of them come out perfect! And all the things you make, take such a patience and skill, I could never... Gorgeous piece, Jane, you'll be so happy wearing it this summer!

    Happy and sunny weekend (we have it too, almost +20 today! Sunny!) and kisses to Billy!

    Yours,
    Mia

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  14. You are so kind Mia, thank you *blush* :0) I am so happy that you are finally getting your sunshine..20oc today ...fab. We finally had some much needed rain over night but it has been hot and sunny again here. Billy just loves being in the garden with us..bliss. He sends you a very sweet kiss and purr,
    Enjoy the rest of the weekend my dear,
    Jane x

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  15. Hi Jane, I love it when you share your 'making and doing' as well and this is great! Reading your posts always inspires me to get myself booked on a course of some kind (I used to do a lot when I lived in London), sadly as I'm home alone a lot with the boys (the OH works abroad often and isn't really around during the week) it's quite difficult but my time will come :) Love, the finished pendant. Bethx (the linen cat)

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  16. Hi Beth, I only took up my silversmithing when my kids reached 13 and 16 and I could begin to find a bit of "me" time aside to working part time and being a Mum and wife. Your time WILL come, I loved the years seeing my 2 grow up but I do love the freedom I now have that they are independant (well as much as a 22 yr old son still at home is-LOL-and you never stop being their Mum and looking out for them). I'm really glad to share my "making and doing" with you. Have a great Sunday,
    Jane x

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  17. I love watching your progress, and you really are excellent at showing how things are done -- even though it reminds me that I'm going to continue to appreciate your creations without making anything like them myself :) I'm sure I would've burnt my fingers a 100 times with all those fiddly pieces. Gorgeous necklace!

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  18. Thanks Linda!It is often less likely I burn myself these day but I am good at catchng my hand with the file...and that hurts!
    Have a good week.
    Jane x

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Thanks so much for leaving a comment; I really enjoy reading every single one of them.
Jane x