Such a Pretty TrioIn recent months, I have developed a fondness for iolite. There is great depth to the blue-purple color in these stones. I have several cabs in my stash so decided to use three in a simple sterling pendant.
The design I settled on is a rectangle, embellished with an engraved centre line behind the tube-set cabochons.
Protecting the StonesOnce the sterling has been prepared (sanding and polishing is much easier before adding the settings), I added the tube settings and a hidden bail. Ready to set the stones and it becomes important to avoid scratching the silver surface.
A Simple Solution
It's just a strip of painters' tape, with cutouts to reveal the settings. It is still important to take great care with the tool — in this case a steel burnisher — because the tape will only protect against light scratches. If you really dig into the silver, you will be back to filing and sanding for hours! If the damage is bad enough, you might have to remove the settings (by re-melting the solder) to get a level surface to work on. Ouch :-(