Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Stone Setting Story

Many of you know that my husband Hans has been learning lapidary, which is the art of cutting stones. He has been cutting cabochons--the smooth rounded stones--for about a year and has been faceting stones for about 6 months. He is very anxious for me to set his stones. I have put it off as long as possible. I have not really set many fancy cut gemstones, so I admit that I am a bit intimated. This weekend I decided to tackle them. I have a show coming up this weekend and I figured that I needed lots of bling!

This "morganite" cubic zirconia is cut from a pattern designed by Jeff Graham called "White Asterism". It weighs 12 carats. The pattern boasts 72.6 in light return with a mere 73 facets in 6-fold mirror-image symmetry. (I looked that up on the pattern page.)

Here's what I did:
I used 3 shanks of 16 gauge wire about 3 inches long and then notched them in the middle with a file. I bent them in half and arranged them so that they were equidistant from each other and soldered the center together. Then I gently bent the arms from my 6 sided wire snowflake shape over my "rings" and soldered them to 2 large jumprings--one at a time. (this made a little cage--can't wait to explore that idea too!) All solder was done with hard solder. I trimmed off the centerpiece where they were soldered at the bottom and filed it. Next I cut the top prongs to the correct height. I rounded the prong tips and notched them with a little hand tool made specifically for that purpose.

So far I'm really pleased and feel that I'm finding a definitive style by using these bigger, flashier stones. So my darling Hans, I just ordered you some more rough gemstone. :D

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