Tag Archives: bezel design

And now…

I’m going to share with you my latest adventure into jewelry making where I seemed to have fire scaled the living daylights out of an innocent piece of silver…

I have to tell you the truth, up until now I hadn’t given much thought to fire scale.

I’d heard the word bandied around the jewelry channels often enough and yet, as with many things that cross my path, I didn’t think they were talking to me.

Those colourful papers with school activities and happenings would come home from school in the kid’s backpacks and I would just put them aside thinking they were meant for other mums.

Until I missed the event and wondered why no-one told me.

Yep. That’s the world I live in.

I think it’s called dissociative.

I call it happily going on my way and ignoring the stuff I don’t want to deal with.

Like fire scale.

Then, as I was making my latest piece, I was taken by how beautiful a piece of silver was that I had just soldered.

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I mean, look at it.

And I was wondering if I could make a piece and somehow protect this finish.

But I believed it was just the flux having a field day with the heat and that it would just come off in the pickle.

Actually, I haven’t pickled that piece yet, so I still don’t really know.

Ah, the wonders of experiment.

Anyhow, somewhere in the back of my head the word ‘fire scale’ started to wake up, and now I think that’s what it might be.

Here’s a good article on fire scale.

So onto my latest piece.

Which might bore some of you because it’s pretty much like all of my latest pieces.

I bought a nice piece of Peruvian Blue Opal from Shirl.

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I didn’t like the shape, but I liked the stone.

So I had a few drawings hanging around and decided to make one…

or two…

You know how it is.

First up I re-cut the stone to fit my design and polished it through all of the grits of the Jool Tool.

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I do like how I can now adapt stones I’ve already bought, and for that I think the Jool Tool is worth it for me.

So here it is in its sketch.

I’m kind of over the big leaf design, but for some reason here’s another.

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I made the opal, and it’s friend, a collar.

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But felt that to just solder this onto a sheet of silver wouldn’t look good as it needed some more substance.

So I rolled out one of my silver pancakes that I’d melted down from my scraps.

Because I wanted chunky.

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Decided where I wanted the dimension.

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Used that sticky film paper

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To cut out the shape.

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And then decided it needed to be stamped.

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I then soldered the collar onto it.

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And that’s when that beautiful surface design happened.

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The back didn’t look quite as good though.

That must be the copper coming to the surface.

Still kind of interesting though.

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Because I wanted the stone to sit down further into the design I then cut the inside out of the bezel.

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This also reduced the weight of the piece.

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I try to saw as close to the inside edge as I can otherwise I’ll spend a lot of time filing away the excess.

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I want the stone to pass easily through to the bottom.

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Next I tidy up the edges of the bezel where the stamping may have distorted the shape and see how it looks on the sketch.

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Now I solder it onto its new back plate, which is 22 gauge silver sheet, making sure to leave enough room around it to be able to give it a ‘step’.

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Here it is trimmed to its final outline.

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And now a much needed chip break.

I don’t usually eat them, but S brought me in some.

I think just to make sure I was still on the property.

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You can see from the last photo (above the crisps) that I have traced a line around the inside of the bezel where I want the collar to fit against the stone.

I now also decide on the design I would like to put on the back.

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I draw it onto the inside of the bezel because it’s easier to saw it out this way. I also always use a sharpie pen because I find that pencil rubs away as I’m sawing and so I lose the shape.

I don’t cut it out before I solder the first part of the bezel onto it because I want to make sure the design is exactly where I want it to be.

I drill the holes.

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And cut it out.

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And at the same time cut away and file the extra from the height of the bezel collar.

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As you can see above I’ve already cut out the leaf shapes.

You can snip them out of scraps, but here I’ve used my saw as I haven’t got any scraps left.

They’re all repurposed pancakes now.

Oh well, live and learn.

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Then I put them onto the sticky tape and use my chasing tool from Larry to make a leaf design.

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Which I then solder onto lengths of 20 gauge wire.

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I cut a length of 16 gauge wire for the main stem and soldered it onto the top of the bezel.

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I then filed down the excess back plate to follow the curve of the stem.

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And checked it on the sketch.

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I wrapped the leaves around the main stem and soldered them onto it.

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I do this very gently.

I move my torch in and out of the piece that I want to solder, all the time watching the surrounding area.

With practice you can see when another part is going to melt and so then I will quickly take my torch away, then bring it back in again slowly.

Depending on how many different solder points I have sometimes I will do this in batches in-between pickling the piece.

This is because often, before I can get to a different solder point, the flux has become grubby and the solder won’t flow so I can just manage three or four points at a time.

I just have to be patient (not easy for me) and go into my zen place.

If you are going to try this know that it is possible and just takes practice.

I only use easy solder for all of my joins from the beginning to the end of the whole piece and I am able to do it so keep at it.

:)

I added some balls then pickled and sanded it, bringing it to its pre-finished state. Trying to get all of the excess solder and my new friend, fire scale, off and then I smothered it in Black Max.

Because I like to live dangerously.

Oh, and I decided on that little ball thing hanging from the bottom.

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I buffed it a little bit and then set the stone.

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I prefer to use the bezel roller.

I started with the square pusher thing, and did find that easier at first, but I like the smoothness of the roller.

It’s worth practicing with if you can take the pain of constantly pushing it into your fingers when you begin.

And voilà.

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Yet another viney, leafy piece.

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I really need to get some new designs going.

BTW

If you read the Ganoksin article on fire scale (linked above) you will have read this line.

“Traditional polishing apprenticeships lasted from three to five years”

No wonder I find the polishing part the hardest.

Aint got no time for five years though so I’m just going to have to keep on winging it…

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Me 2. Tiffany 1.3 recurring.

Let me present to you today the bezel from hell.

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First I melted the collar right off its base.

(See yesterdays post)

Second, after I’d lovingly and painstakingly made Tiffany a new home her corner broke off and so, even though perhaps this was a tad childish, I stomped out of the studio and left her on the floor overnight in disgust.

At this point, let me tell you, I almost broke off our relationship.

 Third, after all I’d done for her. After making up and nursing her back to health, what happened? She wouldn’t lay flat in the bezel but showed off and rocked backward and forward like she was on a seesaw.

Not just a little, a lot.

And lastly, never one to walk away from a fight, I finally set her stone-like self, rather well I thought considering I had to grind flat the inside of the bezel forever, and would you believe it, the bottom jump ring fell off, even though I’d checked and double checked that it was secure before I put the stone it.

I almost threw the thing in the bin at this point.

But.

The glutton for punishment I am, I took that darn stone out of the bezel and re soldered the jump ring onto it

again,

then set the stone

again.

Mwahahaha. Take that Tiffany baby.

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Tiffany Stone and simulated Alexandrite.

I forgot to take a photo of the back because I hate it, but felt that as this was the reason I didn’t just start over in the first place that you should get a dark, shadowy, depths of hell, glimpse of it.

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I believe that this was all Jane’s fault.

;)

Here’s another one which I ended up fiddling with more than needed.

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Ocean Jasper and Tiger Eye

It just wasn’t doing it for me so I took the stone out (I’m getting quite good at that now) and tried to give it a little more substance.

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Ocean Jasper

Still not completely convinced about the back though.

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It’s Friday people!

A good weekend to you all.

:)


What left overs?

But first.

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Is it possible that this is my bench? This organized, clean, ready to make wonderful things, bench?

I think it is.

:)

So,

What to do with those left overs.

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That pile of, what can I do with all this scrap silver, stuff.

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That, I know I can send it back to RioGrande to get credit but I can’t be bothered, stuff.

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Because it’s so much more fun to play with my flame throwing torch thing.

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And make pretty cool, very hot, silver balls instead.

Side Note.

Remember I told you about Willow. How she doesn’t like my studio, and can never settle?

Well, here she is staring at me, imploringly, because it was too cold to keep the studio doors open, and she just barked constantly if I let her stay outside.

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She wasn’t interested in the, now cooled down, molten silver ball.

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She just wanted out of there.

So, what to do now with the newly formed, just hanging around for the next adventure, blob of silver?

Well I decided to roll it through my rolling mill until it became a nice big round disc.

This one turned out just under 1″ in diameter, and is about 2mm thick.

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I then found two small stones that I liked from my stash – which is getting a little out of control, but we won’t talk about that.

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And wrapped them in bezel wire.

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 I then soldered the bezel wire into collars for the stones.

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 And voilà! The stones fit!

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Next I cut a design in the silver disc being careful to keep it within the circumference of the bezel collar to be soldered to it.

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As Willow watched, imploringly.

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Then I soldered the two bezel collars; one onto the left over silver disc, the other onto a small piece of sheet silver.

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During which Willow changed positions, to more comfortably stare at me imploringly.

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I placed the stones back into the bezels to see if they still fit, and was, as I am always, pleasantly surprised that they did.

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(She’s just being pitiful now.)

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Next step. Trying to ignore Willow, I filed down the sides of the second bezel collar flush to the backing. You’ll notice that it’s nigh on impossible to keep a well manicured hand if you choose to make jewelry. Don’t judge me! I do it for art.

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 (Now it’s getting just a tad creepy.)

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And then I filed smooth the solder joint of the first bezel.

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Is she finally settled?

She still looks a bit put out to me, but at least the staring has stopped.

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This is a bit of a fuzzy photo, sorry, but I next soldered a little loop on the top of the second bezel.

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And then soldered another ring through that one, and onto the left over silver disc.

That’s a bit tricky for me as invariably something unsolders itself when I’m not paying attention.

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This time it was o.k., however, and now there’s no way those rings are opening.

(I forgot to photograph it, but I then popped a small silver ball on the bottom.)

(See that bench? Still clean. It’s all a little, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Spooky.)

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All that was left was to file down the bezel collars to the best height for the stones.

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Push the collar over onto the sloping side of the stone with the bezel pusher.

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And finally, after only a few cuss words when the bezel pusher slipped once too often – the finished item.

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Here it is cleaned up.

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Top – Blue Variscite
Bottom – Burtis Blue turquoise

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As usual, I’m not sure that I like it, but it does look somewhat better than the scrap heap I started with.

My biggest problem in jewelry making is finishing it. I never quite like the look I get at the end. Sometimes it turns out fine, other times I feel as though it’s just a little off.

One day I’m going to be super good at all this stuff.


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