Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Ring, an Amethyst and Commentary


My latest Aquamarine ring. I carved this one firstly out of Ferris purple wax and then cast it into 18ct gold.Carved-Aquamarine-Ring

Because the ring is first carved in wax, fitting the stone is quite simple. I use a soldering iron to heat the stone up slowly. I got one of those quick trigger ones so I can apply heat in a controlled manner. Then as the stone starts settling in, I position it like I want it and let it cool down.
Then I take a very fine pick and carve the excess wax away until the stone can be popped out.

After the ring is cast there is about a 3% shrinkage. I then re carve the gold, using a product from Rio called Seat check.


This is a most handy product. It is a green powder that one sprays into the stone cavity. Then, when the stone is fitted back, the green powder shows where the stone touches the ring by discolouring to a darker colour, that is, it shows the highpoints that need to be ground down. Any odd shaped stone can be fitted in a very accurate manner using this product.

Since the ring is only 3% smaller, it does not take long to get a very snug fit.


My latest Amethyst I have carved.


I carved some domed into the bottom just to see what it would look like. They look unpolished, but they are just not cleaned yet in the photo.Amethyst-5.18ct-front

Front view. It weighs 7.5 carats.



This is retaining to my previous post, where I described my efforts to learn a new ( for me ) technique of setting three stones with one bead.

Let me repeat here again---I have no secrets in the art of making jewellery. Anyone can ask me anything I do and describe and I will gladly share my techniques.

It comes back to how large your skill set is, how confident you are and also the fact that if six jewellers are asked to make a ring from a sketch, there will come out six different rings.

Well, the originator of the original post, B.M called it ‘royal pavĂ© ‘ which is of course a BS name, since there is nothing royal about it. It is a straight setting technique, albeit one the requires some skill and caution. Nothing that practice can’t solve.

In the ensuing furore caused principally by a lack of photographic proof and an unwillingness to actually try it out by the members of Orchid, it eventually died down after I eventually posted the pictures in my previous post on my Orchid blog. ( one where I only cross post jewellery stuff from this blog )

But that was only my methodology. I had received no comment from any of the “pro” setters that in fact I was right, or wrong, for that matter. This is a common action of keyboard jewellers. Plenty of talk, no proof……

So what better than to ask the originator, B.M. as to whether my method was right or wrong.

I use only his inituals because I don’t want to hurt the guy.

Below is my letter verbatim:

Hi B,
I checked out your latest 'Titbits' as I always do and I saw your picture of the heart pendant that you did.
Nice setting indeed.
OK, so notwithstanding that ( name removed) winds me up, I was wondering whether the method that I figured out was in fact the correct way to go about this type of setting
I am completely self taught in setting, so I am always interested in learning new techniques and styles.
I really didn't want to shoot anyone down and the truth is that I simply want to add this style to my repertoire of setting.
So... does one use ball burrs for the holes?
A flat graver to bring the metal to the middle?
A standard beading tool to make the central bead?
I ground one down and made it more shallow to get the 'spread', but it caused more flashing.
This, I think, is wasting metal that could be used in the bead.
My difficulty was to get the bead to spread so that it would cover all three stones properly.
I have a few books on setting, but none describe this method of setting in any detail.
Any comments on type of gravers, angles and such?
( In case you missed my blog post, the blog link at my signature has my methodology pertaining to your setting style.)
Thanks a lot.
I love your unique contribution to Orchid.

Cheers, Hans

And this was the reply I received a day later.

Good evening Hans,
Please forgive me in advance ... but unfortunately I am
not going to be the bearer of good tidings. I am quite
often approached to show someone how to do something
... and though I would very much like to help ... I feel I
would be creating my own competition and I therefore
refuse. That said ... I will promise you this. I will keep
your name and email address in a special folder. I think I
am closer rather that farther from retiring ... and when
happens ... I will get in touch with you and share with you
whatever little I know. Again ... I apologize for this. I know
it's a disappointment.
Best wishes, B

The dude is 72 years old. And it’s not a disappointment---it’s head scratching stuff…..

I know this secrecy attitude is not uncommon in the jewellery and gem cutting trades.

And it is common to people who have so few skills that they have to be secretive of them. But it is completely self defeating.

Because if you give freely, you will receive freely.

And because I have a broad skill set, there are guaranteed techniques that I have that B does not.

So now that he refuses to share his, it automatically closes the option of him asking me for any knowledge I might have.

Not that I would not tell him if he asked, but more because he would not ask. As in, you hardly going to ask information of someone you just have refused to share with, not?

Silly old man, all alone at his setting bench, always looking over his shoulder, wondering if someone is spying on him.

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