Thursday, April 15, 2010

What to do with a large cabochon?

Some time ago I picked up this lovely cabochon – it was green with a number of nuances and sold by someone who didn’t have a clue as to what it was. My guess is moss agate but to be honest: I don’t know. What I do know is that I love the stone and so it was time to give it a nice setting.
Now, the obvious choice is to create a bezel setting on a sheet of silver and then perhaps add some adornments. A lot of very successful artists do that, amongst these Jamie from Bella Bijou Jewelry and Tess from Nova of Sweden. It’s a good choice because it sets the stone securely, allows for a lot of play and is still comfortable to wear. So I set out to play –my own style obviously ;-)
First a few drawings, realizing that I preferred the stone to be placed diagonally on the finger to allow for a more smooth and logical attachment of the decorations. I dug through a lot of stones and decided to go for contrast: orange and yellow sapphires. 
I created the bezel from fine silver (just easier to push over the stone when finished) and soldered it onto the sheet – and made a mistake when trying out the fit of the stone. TRICK: when doing that, place some dental floss under the stone in order to easily lift it out again! I didn’t and so my stone was stuck! It of cause meant that I had created a perfect bezel setting but still… So I went boldly ahead and drilled a hole in the back of the sheet, holding the whole thing in a small vice (with air below, enabling the stone to move away from the drill). Of cause I created a small spot on the stone! However, I decided to go ahead and create, what I had wanted to do from the beginning: and elaborate backside. By turning the stone around 180 degrees, I hid the small spot I had created with the drill. I love backsides, insides and hidden sides to be decorated – just for the owner to know and admire. It’s your own little portable secret. A little part of the pattern that I sawed out, I re-attached in a different spot, creating a bit of depth in the design.
Meanwhile I had decided against the contrasting colors. Staying within one general group of colors allows the wearer a bit more room when choosing outfit and accessories, so I went with green peridots and white sapphires instead. 
Then it was time for the inevitable curl (hey, it’s me! Read this article on the topic)  and start arranging the settings for the stones in order to solder them on. 
Eventually, I ditched the last tube setting, soldered it all together, sawed off the excess sheet, filed and sanded and added 3 golden balls for just a bit of warmth to contrast the cool green. Then I attached the ring shank and worked a bit off LOS into the small crevices that would become dark eventually in any case. Besides: it brings out the details a lot better! After even more buffing and polishing, I set the center stone and was ready to set the small ones
And here is the end result:

It’s big and of cause has a certain weight to it, but I don’t find it overwhelming. The tilted placement of the stone on the hand lightens the overall design. It’s gonna be hard to part with this baby!


  1. Great job! I really love how you saw out part of the bezel..that is such a cool design element! And I think the green and gold look great together...very nice!!!

  2. Oh Yummo!!! You did a great job complimenting the stone! I agree with Cassandra, your design on the back is great!

  3. Great design - beuatiful stone..;-))


  4. Oh my goodness thats so beautiful!!!