Monday, 11 July 2016

July 11

My BC Jade Project

While wandering through the BC Gem Show last spring, I picked up a few stones (of course I did!). One of them was this long, slim cabochon triangle of local jade.

The Stone


Although the dark section on the right hand side looks black in the photo, it is actually a very dark green. Of course a pair of these would make fabulous earrings, but there was only one. It could be a pin or a pendant. In the end, I decided on a pendant.

The Shape



I cut a piece of 18 gauge sterling silver to form a surround for the stone and pierced it in the same shape to keep the weight down. That done, there was lots of work with a series of files to get all the edges — inside and outside —smooth and even. Not the most exciting aspect of an artisan's day, but essential.

Crafting the Setting




If you follow my blog, you know I love reticulated silver. I added the bar atop the piece because I felt the texture provides a nice compliment to the mottled greens in the jade.

I chose to uses a series of prongs to clasp the stone, wanting to show more of it than a bezel would. Here, the prongs are being soldered in place. Those dirty old nickels raise the piece so I can get heat under it. That helps solder the fine wires quickly (so they don't get a chance to melt!).

Almost There


It's always a relief to find that the stone will fit into the setting. Here, I was checking the fit before polishing the setting (best done before setting the stone).

Lots and lots of polishing ensued, including using a steel burnisher to bring all the edges to a high shine. I think this photo captures the colors better than the first one.


All Set



This is not quite finished. There is a loop on the back for a bail — which I still have to create. That will be a bit tricky because I want to use more reticulated sterling to craft it and because I need to shape it to account for the asymmetrical shape and weight of this piece. I want to make it hang level. Tricky. Guess I could have made a brooch!