Saturday, 9 April 2016

April's Work

April = More Garden and Less Bench

Written with apologies to those still in a snowbank!

By late March, in this part of the world, spring is well established — and this year it came early. Crocuses are a distant memory and the daffodils are done. We are still seeing cherry blossoms, magnolias and tulips and I noticed a dogwood preparing to bloom very soon. I find there is less shop time because the grass is growing fast enough to need its second mowing of the year, the weeds are taking over flower and veggie beds and I need to start planting things for summer color. I did, however, take advantage of a recent rainy afternoon to complete an agate brooch.

Pieces & Tools

Here are the parts for the project. Because the stone is fairly thick, I decided to create a sterling silver (instead of fine silver) bezel for it. The 20 gauge sterling is much tougher than bezel wire so it took quite a bit of "persuasion" to get it shaped around the stone. Great time to employ hammers and pliers.

Back & Bezel


I cut a series of curved lines into the back plate to echo the pattern in the pretty grey agate before soldering the bezel to the back.


Here is the setting freshly soldered and ready to pickle. Once it is given a pre-polish, I can set the stone.



Perfect Fit


Last fitting, with bezel soldered in place. It would be hard to make changes now, but still possible should the fit not be right. The dental floss is to aid in lifting the stone out so I can polish the setting. There is no end to the stuff a jeweler can use on the bench, is there?


Final Steps


Right: the stone in place awaiting the persistent tapping of a hammer on the bezel. The bit of leather protects the back of the setting from bench scratches. This shot shows off the lovely earth tone pattern of curved lines. I think this agate resembles Polish flint — one of my favorite stones, but a fair bit more expensive than agate.





All done. Nothing left to do but burnish the top of that bold bezel and give the whole piece a final high polish.


Then off to take photos and list it for sale at <www.etsy.shop/DixSterling>