After the blood, sweat and tears of yesterday and my efforts to make some reflection earrings (which I remembered very early this morning were based on “illusion” earrings, not “reflection” earrings – but then I turned over and went back to sleep because I decided I preferred the term “reflection” for my earrings, and also because it was too early in the morning to think about it any more!) Anyway, this morning I decided to have another go.
Having played about with head-pins and crystals and solder today; I can tell you that even with easy solder, the shine on the concave shape will disappear and you will have to polish the thing again! I have been using (amongst my many other polishing discs/mandrels/cloths/etc) flexible silicon wheels to polish the inside of the concave shape (today shape being a hemisphere) and that if you do need to polish around a crystal on a head-pin inside a concave hemisphere, or some other such difficult thing, then these are just what you need. Just don’t use the yellow ones near gems/crystals/glass as they can scratch them.
Back to the point – oh yes, I was looking at my very shiny concave hemisphere (sawn from a scrap of 0.4,mm silver sheet and rounded in my doming block) and wondered how I was going to set something sparkly in there. I’ve got some prong settings which I use for PMC and I cut one of them right near the top of the setting so the gem would sit very low in the bowl (oh yes, let’s call it a bowl – much less typing!) and put it aside to solder later.
I found some thick wire (about 1.5mm) and made a two loop shape, one big and one small. Instead of crossing over the wire and having to hammer it flat, I had both ends of the wire terminate at the junction of the two loops and soldered the joins shut with hard solder. Then I took a jump-ring mandrel and my round nosed pliers and stretched the loops tight by pulling in opposite directions. This straightened and evened up the large loop as well as testing the strength of the join. To make sure the bowl fit securely in the bottom of the larger loop for soldering, I sanded the wire to have a inward slope where the bowl would touch the wire. This was also soldered using hard solder.
At this point I pickled the pendant to get rid of any fire-stain and made a bail from another piece of scrap 0.4mm sheet. I then soldered the bail on the pendant and the prong setting in the bottom of the bowl using flux and easy solder wire straight from the spool. After using solder+flux paste for so long, I had forgotten that I liked doing it the traditional way – either that, or I had got better at it!
Another pickle and a preliminary polish before going for a tumble in my amazing and most loved tumbler (is it wrong to love a gadget so much?). At last, a very shiny pendant was ready for setting the blue cz. Now this is something I’m always so nervous about – bezels I’m about 99% fine with (there’s always one which doesn’t want to do what you want it to), but prong settings always seem to have a mind of their own – especially when I don’t have a spare setting or a spare gem! The cz wasn’t sitting well because of some extra solder that had sneakily attached itself to a prong when I wasn’t looking, and I had to file it away very carefully because I didn’t want to weaken the prong too much. After sorting that out, I managed to get the cz in place and then had to bend the prongs over the gem to hold it in place. A quick, final buff with a polishing cloth and here it is:
The setting reflects nicely, making a great illusion pattern in the silver; but the gem only reflects slightly. I had hoped for more of the colour to be reflected but it still looked beautiful. It went as a prize at a fundraising event tonight – I miss it already …