Saturday, September 8, 2007

Making a Fused 18ct Gold Pendant

The first part is found at

That is how to carve the Aquamarine.

The following is how to make the pendant.

And thus we go....

Some 18ct gold rolled out to the right thickness. Mostly .7mm to 1mm thick. Other metals that I have worked with well are 14ct gold and Sterling silver.

So I hold it in a set of spring tweezers.

Mine are from the GRS system, a stunning goldsmithing bench system that if you don't have it, you nowhere,( just kidding a little bit) It is the same as the Batt lap is to faceting, a tin alloy lap that made gemcutting easier by some order of magnitude. Sorry, I digress...

Anyway, to get back...

This is the flame you use to fuse the two pieces together. Hot enough to have a high local heat. If you use to a reducing flame you heat the whole piece to much and it can collapse and if your flame is to hot you 'burn' the metal. That causes porosity, which is a mission to finish and is weak and brittle....

Here the gold is fused into a good mix. Note how bright the flame is, The torch is a 'Little Torch" using oxygen and propane gas with a No 6 nozel.

This is how I fuse the gold into the shape as is shown in the next photo. This technique is used throughout the construction of this pendant.

This is nice fusing, clean, not pourous and controlled. This is something that, to a beginner that is viewing this post, can be learnt easily by practising on off cut pieces of metal. Play around, 'weld' them in odd shapes, polish the results and look at them with an Optivisor or some other magnification to see how you get the best results. The least porosity means your flame and temperature were good....

So this is how I start actually making the pendant. First I only fuse the two ends onto the plate, after bending the correct curve. ( in relation to the curve of the aquamarine)

Here I have fused the top and sort of fused the 'bottom' curve. All I am doing at this stage is 'tacking' on the various pieces. I use no solder at all as the next few pictures show.

Here I have curved the bottom and rolled out the side (left) . I also pre- fused the left side and then tacked it to the top and the first curve.

This shows the piece without the Aqua in it. Note the non soldered section. I will get around to that later. The center has been pierced out so that the pavillion of the aqua can lie in the top of the fused sides. This is done so that the setting of the stone is easier later on.

This is a bad picture, but after the plate has been pierced out (piercing is sawing with a no 3 jewellers blade) I am going to fuse it. This is easy, because all you have to do is angle the flame at a more or less 45ยบ and it will flow. By the way, I use no flux at all. Rather, I use a flame that is just not oxidising.

Here it is fused

Out of focus, but it shows the 'bail' or 'awl' that has been fused onto the pendant.

Another picture.

Pierced out more, fused more and letting the aqua settle in.

The pendant is too 'heavy' on the sides so I drill holes in it to fuse later. I am also going to pierce the front and fuse it later.

Like this

Then I fuse a setting claw at 12 o'clock into the gold and set the Aquamarine

The aqua is held at 12, 7, and 5 o'clock.

Herewith ends the tutorial on fusing (grin)

Cheers Hans Meevis

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