Thursday, 23 July 2015

Project Update

More Work on That Custom Order 

Over the past few days, I have been making progress on the two part pendant for my client's stones. I soldered the prong settings onto the two silver elements, then began attaching fittings on the back of them.

The Necessary but Not So Glamorous Part

Soldering 101 – put it together and keep it together.

This photo shows the back of the upper element of the piece, a diamond shape of reticulated sterling. The prong setting is in place on the front and the square wire bail has been soldered on. I am about to attach the loop for the lnking chain.

The yellow is a coating of yellow ochre – applied to the bail – and to the setting on the front – to lock in the solder on those joins while I do the next soldering job (do not want to have things falling off). A pair of soldering tweezers on the right holds the silver loop I need to attach. To keep the element level while I press the loop into position (after melting some solder onto the attachment spots), I have the tip of another pair of tweezers supporting the bail area and a stack of dirty old nickels supporting the area I will be pressing on (solder won't stick to them).

I hope all that makes sense!

Getting the Hang of It

After I got all the parts soldered, I joined the two elements and hung them from a chain to check how they will hang.

Nice and level - that's a good thing. With that settled, I undid the tiny chain fitting between the parts and set the sparkling zircon on the top element. This is the first time I have set stones that did not belong to me. Intimidating!

The Easy One Done

The photo on the right shows the stone in place. It was pretty simple -– I just had to open the prongs up ever so slightly, slip the stone into place and – very gently – tighten the prongs onto the zircon.

Part Two: Not Quite as Easy

The prong setting I bought for the beryl presents a slight problem. The prong tips are fine for the stone size but the depth is not quite right. The stone's pavilion is a touch too deep for the frame of the setting.  The photo below shows the solution to that difficulty: a small file and a lot of patience. I will file down the frame until it will let the stone settle into the prongs properly. It's a slow process – file and check, file and check, repeat as needed. I do not want to file too deep and have to take the element apart and solder on a new prong setting!