Thursday, 8 February 2018

February - Bit by Bit

Romancing the Stones

I seem to be moving very slowly with this ring, don't I? There is, however, a bit of progress to report. Having soldered the ring shut, I was concerned that the fit be perfect before soldering the stone settings on to it. If a ring is a wee bit too small, it is safe to stretch it on a steel mandrel by hammering it with a rawhide mallet. If it is too big, however, there is nothing for it but to use the torch. That is not something I would risk with the tiny settings for these stones in place. So the unfinished project is on its way to the end user for a test fitting.

Meanwhile, Back at the Bench...

I have been working on the settings for the small faceted, oval stones. I want to build step bezels for them. I think the bold design of the ring would clash with a prong setting. Creating bezel settings this small is a challenge for me as I usually work with larger stones. But, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained". Here, you can see the outer, taller, bezel and the slightly smaller, shorter one that will drop inside to support the stone. Both have been soldered shut and shaped. In this photo, I am sanding down the top and bottom so get them smooth. This is fussy work, folks, and a real test of my skill. It took quite some time (and going back to my copy of John Cogswell's Creative Stone Setting) before I felt ready to even start this process.

Settings Must Protect the Stones

In this photo, I am test fitting the aquamarine. It looks pretty good. I will view it under a very strong magnifying glass before I commit to it, however. The amount the silver rises above the edge of the stone is utterly critical. Too much would result in a messy setting and would cover too much of the stone. Not enough, and the stone would not be secure and could be lost. With a purchased stone, that would be very sad. With a stone that once belonged to Grandma, it would be tragic.

With this one (probably) ready, I went to work on an identical step bezel for the garnet. Both will require very close inspection before I can consider them usable.

Bezels Built (I Hope)