Friday, May 16, 2014

Practice Practice Practice

(looking for my BSBP 8 Reveal?  Follow this link!)

My metalsmithing workbench is mostly setup - or at least as setup as it's going to get until I buy more tools - and I've begun the process of "trial and error" for original stone settings again!  I've drawn up several and want to dive right in to sterling silver again, but I decided maybe I should practice a little in copper since it has been several years.....

My 1st solder-free stone setting - Carnelian and Copper

This is my first piece of "practice" - a carnelian cabochon set in copper.  A prong setting isn't necessarily unique, but this one has a little something going for it because I used no solder!  The inspiration came from the May 2014 Art Jewelry Magazine, "Cold Captures:  Push-up Prongs" by Michael David Sturlin

Solder-free stone setting - Carnelian and Copper

I learned several things in practice that made me glad I didn't start with sterling. 
  1. Sandpaper makes excellent sparkly texture on copper when rolled through the mill
  2. Said excellent texture is much less sparkly if you have to re-anneal the piece.  Sigh.
  3. More planning is needed to preserve the sparkles!
So the original finish, if you couldn't tell, was going to be quite a bit different than what I ended up with.  I'm still happy with it, but it's harder to really see the effect of the rolling mill printing in photos.  Instead of sparkles, I have a light flame patina over a low-relief rough texture.  The carnelian shows up nicely against the oxidized copper, though.....

Solder-free setting - push-up prongs and roll-over bail.

Speaking of the carnelian, I did learn that this prong setting technique is really much better suited to small stones.  I don't recall the article suggesting any particular size of stone, but the ones used were much smaller, or at least had a lower dome.  I tried the solder-free settings because I was curious.  This stone is pretty secure unless someone really pushes from the back and doesn't care about damaging the stone, but I like my settings to have a better hold on the stone than this one provides for this size cab.  I do plan on trying again with smaller stones because let's face it - a solder-free, glue-free bezel sounds pretty good sometimes! 

I do have a rather large soft spot for bezel settings though, and will no doubt practice on those for my next stone.  Now to pick out a stone.....

Happy Creating,

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