Continuing our 'setting unique unusual shapes' a recent acquisition is an unusual free-form polished shape of blue chalcedony, a gorgeous rich colour. Actually I have two pieces probably two half pieces!

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rock and gem magazine issue 60 summer 2013

 

Anyway, one end of the stone seems to have been cut square, however there is no gentle flare towards the cut which would aid an easy setting, so my choices are a: create an end cap, b: set from both ends c: end cap and centre band. For me a more traditional end cap
won the decision making contest, because of the shape tapering to a point I thought to show as much as the stone as possible and to be most appealing this would be my course of action.
I know a scribe is the tool of choice however I'm a sharpie fan so much so I have a range of colours, sizes, shapes and even a 'sharpie bag' from a 'sharpie competition' ahem enough of my sharpie fixation.
The smaller sharpie point is ideal to drawn around the stone and mark out the silver required, I'm as precise as possible but err on the side of caution to allow a little room for manoeuvring.
Out with the saw to cut the silver out, always start close to the last 'cut-out' so you don't create too much waste. There's two ways to solder the top of the cap with the sides just the same as creating a rub-over setting, both will require a strip of silver to create the bezel, to
do this you'll need to measure around the end of the stone, an easy way is with a piece of thread or very thin wire, measure then mark out the length on silver sheet and saw, check the size shape the strip, I use half round pliers which I often start using the wrong side so
don't get distracted!
Now solder the strip, pickle and now it's time to solder onto the end cap. You can either make the top the exact size so it fits within the bezel strip (allowing for the depth of the sheet) or create the bezel strip and place onto a rough cut out piece of silver sheet, either way some filing would be involved to ensure a snug fit or if placed on the sheet file down the excess.

Now all you need to do is sort out a jump ring for any chain, thong or wire. I've been a fan of chunkier rings, to save time I buy a selection ready made, I picked out some made from oval wire, twist the ends to make a perfect cycle then file a flat spot across the joint to be
placed upon the end cap to solder.
Then its time to polish, I always use emery paper to make sure any stray file marks are removed prior to the 1st polishing stage. Out with the tripoli and don't forget to fire up the dust extraction I've often added a temporary design to my t-shirt!
Remember to vary the direction you polish in, check regularly that any marks are removed and also look closely with an angled light to see if there's any fire-stain which you would want to polish out.
Again essential that you clean any of the tripoli from the silver prior to giving a final polish with rouge (of course on a different mop!), an essential purchase is an ultrasonic machine preferably with an inbuilt heater, it's worth spending a little more for this feature.

unusual shapes of stone in jewellery

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