Friday, February 19, 2010

Feeling blue isn't all that bad

I recently purchased a wonderfull swiz blue topaz. It has a diameter 8 mm, weighs 1.95 ct and is a VVS stone (Very Very Small inclusions = so small you need a microscope to see them. In other words allmost perfect) from Brazil. I have been admiring it for a while and finally got around to give it a worthy setting.

I will do a tutorial on how I do a tapered bezel setting using a bezel block later, hence I won't go into details about that part. In any case I of cause created a tapered bezel to set this stone in -I just find this shape very elegant.

Then I did a fairly simple ringshank (no split and bent parts this time, just the uneven, almost biomorph or grown look that I love so much) and fitted those two parts together (lots of filing and adjusting here)

Now it's a ring – could be used as it is, once the stone is set, but noooo -I want way more details! Details are for instance tiny facet cut stones in tube settings. I had a bunch of white sapphires, chose 3 of slightly different sizes and created tube settings for them all.

And here we are – the ensemble is allmost perfect. Now I only need the curl (no Phantasteria-piece without a curl!) and the golden balls to create a warm contrast to the cool blue of the topaz.

Shaping the wire to create the curl is not especially easy or quick. I run it up in one end and then set out to curl it around the bezel and then into the other direction to make it fit snugly over the ring. Pliers, testing, pliers, testing, pliers -you get the drift. BUT once it's soldered in place, it's finally time to add all the dingly danglies that makes this piece come alive. I have to be carefull though, because they are many and tiny and fall off easily, so patience and a calm hand is needed. First I load one side, glueing it all together with lots of borax flux and plenty of solder in between. Here I'm ready to heat the borax into the glazy state that will enable me to move the ring without the details falling off again.

Which I did here – moved it that is. The other side is ready to be loaded

All the soldering is done and now it's cleanup time, which especially means smoothing out the inside of the ring. I like to otherwise keep a rather coarse look and only polish highlights.

Now onto the final stage of creation: Setting the stones. It's both my favourite part (this is when it truly comes together) but also the most dreaded. All jewellers have all broken stones while learning to set them, and it's still something I fear every time. But that doesn't change the fact that we are talking about metal, which needs a minimum of force to bend to my will. However, this time the disaster wasn't a broken stone when the setting punch slipped. No,  I cut my thumb on one of the (by then) razor sharp tube settings, waiting to recieve their sappires. OUCH! It hurt like hell and bled even more. But I was stubborn and WANTED it done, now! So I carried on and so the ring got temporarily decorated with a splah of red.

Once all was set (and I was properly bandaged) it was off to a little bit of LOS oxydization and some extra thorough cleaning. Two jumps into the ultrasonic cleaner and three vigolous brushings with a antiseptic soap later I was finally satisfied and buffed it up to this:

I imediately got a notion of a warm summerday at the seaside and so babtized it the Seaside Ring, to be bought (until it's gone) here.


  1. A wonderful piece! How do you get those gold balls to be so smooth n shiny? Mine always look so rough and messy :( Wish I had your patience to do tube settings so small.

  2. looking over your lovely blog...where is that tutorial you promised? I have two bezel blocks (inspired by you) and can't figure them out!