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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Setting Cabachons - Finally!

I think I've been building up to this moment from the time I first picked up a piece of copper wire and started to create. These earrings were in my head...in my creative energy thoughts...and now they are real.

When I bought my last order from "Rio Grande", I decided to poke around a little at the other items. Setting stones in sterling silver bezel cups has been on my mind for a while so I looked at the cups available to buy. I found a great assortment of sizes - 50 cups in all for a really reasonable price so I added them to my cart with a sense of excitement and a bit of nervousness. Now I was almost committed to another creative learning leap!

I did a quick search to find out what kinds of tools I required and discovered I needed a simple and inexpensive burnisher, so I added that to the cart too. I chose three different cabochon selections for my new project: some sleeping beauty turquoise, some garnet (very tiny), and some man-made opal that is really pretty. I knew the turquoise was the first that I would attempt to work with. I placed my order and waited, somewhat less than patiently.

When it arrived about four days later, I tore into the box like it was Christmas, because that's what it felt like. Gifts, lovely gifts. I pulled the new treasures out of the box, admired them, and did what I always do with new creative processes - set them aside. I left them there for about a week, at the back of my bench, just within vision while I waited for the right time. The right time came on the weekend, despite the heat pump in my house being broken so the studio is hot without air conditioning, but the time was there and I was ready so I went ahead.

I selected a piece of sterling silver sheet and marked it out for cutting. I cut it into strips for the earrings I planned to make, using a great pair of scissors I bought locally at "The Rock Hound" in Victoria, BC Canada. Then to the process of filing down the edges to get them nice and smooth, and a good pounding with my little hammer to create the dimpled, organic look I love. Then it was time to get the solder down from the shelf and the torch from the other table, gather up the flux and my cup of water I always have nearby, along with tweezers and a paper towel (kept far away from the torch of course). I turned on the mini slow cooker with the pickling solution for taking off the blackening from the torch process. Then I selected the bezels and got started soldering them to my new silver strips. All went well and they adhered nicely then got a bath in the pickling solution, then off to the tumbler to polish up overnight.

They came out totally shiny but I wasn't about to settle for that! I oxidized them and then polished them with rouge to bring out all the lovely, organic look that you see below. Finally, I added the sleeping turquoise cabochons and used the burnisher to push the sterling bezel side over the cabochon to hold the stones in place and voila! They will get their final photo and posting to the shop later today.

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