Saturday, 9 January 2016

Polish Flint Oval

Set It At Last

I bought a lovely oval of Polish Flint a couple of years ago but I seemed to always be working on other projects so it languished in my stash of pretty stones. Then, last fall, I decided to get serious about giving it a home.

First, I cut an oval to match the stone from sterling silver sheet. Next, knowing this will be a hefty piece, I cut a pattern of five holes in it to lessen the weight. I also cut a length of pure silver to form a bezel for the stone and soldered it into place.

Not Very Pretty at This Stage, Is It?

This photo shows the item after soldering the bezel into place and before treating the piece in the pickle (a mild acid bath). There is no glamour at this stage but the pendant is taking shape. At about this time, we were approaching the holiday season with all its demands for baking and decorating, so the poor stone was set aside once more. This time, however, I did come back to it.

The next problem was to design a bail. Maybe influenced by my current interest in jewelry with a medieval feeling but I decided to give this a fairly large bail fashioned from a hunk of reticulated silver. I felt a piece this size (about 2 inches by 1 inch) could handle the visual impact.

Bezel Mounted

Making the bezel involved a fair bit of work. The first step, cutting a pleasing shape, was simple enough. Shaping it was another story. It is a pretty solid bit of silver so not easy to bend. I had to anneal it a couple of times as I worked with various forming tools and some judicious hammer blows to get it ready to attach at the top of the piece.

I also tapped a series of randomly placed dots into the back plate for visual interest and brought the silver to a slightly frosted shine. I think the final work is worthy of the stone.

Handsome Pendant For a Handsome Stone

I am very fond of Polish Flint with its rich, earthy tones. This stone is a form of jasper that is only found in limestone that was laid down in Poland during the Jurassic period.  Kind of neat to wear a stone that came into being 160 million years ago.