Friday, April 15, 2011

New Technique

I got this pretty oval-shaped Mexican opal from the Tucson shows this year- it's quite high and I was brainstorming what to do about the setting. I decided to make a masonite die for my newish hydraulic press by using a jeweler's saw to cut out appropriate sized-ovals. The interior oval needed to remain flat and large enough in order to have the stone's bezel soldered to it. The outer oval I sized aesthetically and then glued the pieces of 1/2" masonite to a larger thinner piece of masonite with epoxy. I let it cure overnight. I pressed the form in silver, cut it out, and then soldered a plain bezel around it to create the look of it being thick; in reality it's hollow with another piece of sheet at the bottom. I soldered on the stone bezel, and the ring shank, and did a lot of hand finishing and then shined it up on my electric polishing arbor with tripoli. I need to do some experimenting with polishing compounds, but that's another post... I think it has a bit of an old Mexican vintage feel to it- perfect with the opal. I'm going to try some more pieces using handmade dies in the press- it was exciting to try something new.


Janice said...

Totally awesome!! I can't wait to get back to work in the studio. (waiting, waiting, waiting...) You've inspired me to begin using my press more!

Sharon said...

I think the ring is amazing (and I love the Mexican opal -- it's a nice one). Thanks for sharing the process. I've been wondering how you made the form since I first saw the picture. How long overall do you think it took to make the ring?

stoneaddict said...

I think it took about 5 hours total to make. I spent part of 3 days making it- first day the die, second day pressing the silver form and soldering a bezel around it as well as soldering on the stone's bezel, then the last day soldering on the backplate and shank and finishing.