My BC Jade ProjectWhile 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.
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.
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!).
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.
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!