Thursday, July 28, 2011

Newest Piece - Sterling Silver and Turquoise Pendant

 I am so incredibly excited to show you all my newest piece! I finished it last night at my metalsmithing class and I am very proud of it. I purchased a turquoise cabochon (a flat-backed stone without a hole), that has a rough face (not perfectly rounded on the top, it has some bumps and grooves that a natural stone should) for my first bezel setting piece. I sawed out the shape of the sterling silver back piece, filed and sanded it repeatedly to get it nice and smooth. There is a bit of Japanese influence here I think ;-)
 Then I created the bezel from a piece of wide fine silver bezel wire. I soldered the bezel together and then soldered the bezel onto the back piece, after I had soldered the bail (the tube that the chain goes through at the top). The bezel soldering part was a bit scary as it takes a while to get all of the little solder pieces to flow at the same time, without causing fire scale (a mottling of the sterling silver caused when you heat it for too long) or melting the bezel. I did it though, and then I had to set the stone.
Because the stone has a rough top, not all of the surfaces are the same height so I had to file and sand down my bezel to make it fit the contours of the stone. That took a while as I didn't want to scratch my piece or the stone. Finally it was ready; I popped the stone in and started to push the bezel into place over the stone, carefully fitting it all into place. Once the bezel wire was around the top of the stone, I had to smooth and burnish it, finally finishing the piece with polishing to get it to a mirror shine.

Lovely! I can't wait to wear this to the Farmers' Market this weekend!



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