Thursday, October 17, 2013

Making a Custom Piece of Jewelry

This is a custom pendant I made where the client wanted very specific things. He wanted a soft purple stone, in a medium size set in silver for his wife to celebrate their anniversary. I will show you here how I created the stone for this beautiful pendant.
This is the beautiful finished piece.

Here are the chunks of Tiffany Stone (Bertrandite) rough before cutting.

After grinding off excess  material on a diamond wheel, I now have the preforms for the cabochons. The the short wooden dowels will be used to support the stones while I am working them into cabochons. Here you see what is called the Dop Pot. It  is heating the hard green wax that will hold the stones on the dowels, called Dops. The stones also must be heated for the wax to fuse to the back of the stone. They get very hot laying on the rim of the dop pot.

Once the wax is melted and the stones are hot, I dip the dop stick into the wax. Then immediately affix to the back of the hot stone. They are left face down to cool before grinding can begin.

Here are the stones on the dop sticks ready to cab.

On my cabbing machine there are six grinding and polishing wheels, from left to right, the coarsest to the finest. The first two wheels remove most of the material so you can rough out the basic shape of the cab, the next two wheels are where you can refine the shape and remove any little scratches on the stone. The last two are polishing wheels. All grinding is done wet. Without the water, the diamond coating on the wheels would heat up and burn off, rendering the wheels useless. There is a pan of water with lubricant underneath, and a tube attached to a little geyser that shoots lubricated water up onto the wheel I am working on.

Here are the nearly finished cabochons, still attached to the dop sticks.

I place the dopped cabs in the freezer for five minutes. Cooling the stone helps break the bond between the wax and the stone, so the sticks and wax release easily.

Here are the extra pretty finished Tiffany Stone cabochons.

Now, to make the pendant. These are the basic tools I use in wirework.

I start by weaving a bezel for the stone.

The most important part of any wire design is getting an exact fit of the bezel or frame to the stone. I lay the stone on a flat surface, and work the wire on on the stone until I am satisfied with the fit. Then design the rest of the piece from there.

Here is the beautiful finished piece!

Friday, October 11, 2013

More Easy Beads with Wire!

These were parts just to show what the contrasting wire looks like with the beads

I considered this design for the class. I love all the copper!

I took macro video of the making of this pendant for use in my classroom. The students found it helpful to glance up and see the technique up close on the screen while they were working on theirs.

This is a statement piece using thick wire and jumbo beads.

I used the same wrapping technique adding three beads instead of one at each interval. I used highly contrasting wires and very soft colored beads.

Another variation using Czech fire polished crystal

Here, I demonstrated the technique using two different sizes of beads.

Using the beads on the inside of the design gives a totally different feel, as does the thin 28 gauge wire which gives this design a delicate silky look.

Very simple bangle design using 16  and 24 gauge wire. I hope you all enjoy experimenting with this beads and wire technique! I'd love to see what you do with it! Have fun :-)

Intro to Wire Wrapping: Adding beads to a simple design.

Some pics of the main techniques we used in last  Saturday's class!I hope you try this out and find all kinds of great ways to use this technique!
Begin wrapping, keeping each wrap as close to the one next to it as possible. I do this in two strokes. One, straight up, bend the wire over the top, and one stroke down, then bend the wire over the bottom, and so on. This helps the wire consistently lay parallel on the main wires.
Add the number of beads you wish to use to your wrapping wire.

Make a knot of sorts on the end, so that the beads don't come flying off as you go along wrapping wire and adding each bead.
Once you have several wraps, add your first bead. The bead should rest atop the main wires. Holding the bead in place, bend the free wire downward around the back, and continue wrapping five more wraps.

When you have wrapped five times, and the next bead on the 6th. Repeat and continue.

Periodically, stop and use your flat nose pliers to gently squeeze the sections of six wraps together, and make any adjustments to spacing you need to make. Do this as you go. If you wait until the end, it will be much more difficult to make minor adjustments and corrections.
Once you have the amount of pattern beaded wire wrapped you want for the design, add in the top drilled pendant bead. Use your free wire to string the bead on. lasso the wire around the outside of the opposite side wires, then run the free wire back through the pendant bead to attach. I have flossed the lasso wire a little higher than mid point on the left. Once you pull the wire back through the stone, pull tight, and continue wrapping until the two sides are even. Then trim the ends and tap down any sharp ends that may be sticking out.

Using a little dowel rod, a pen, or any other round object, form the wire  for the bail around it, and keep in place while you secure the bail, either with the main wires or more of the wrapping wire. I knew I wanted a very simple design here. So, I used the same main wires to wrap around the bail wires.

Here we have the finished piece! This is a fun, easy bead on wire technique. I hope you all have fun experimenting with it in your jewelry designs!

I'm SO sorry! And THANK YOU!

As most of you know by now, I don't post very often. I am very busy, but that's not really a valid excuse. I visited the blog because I was going to post pics from the last class I taught and pointers on one of main techniques in the class. Well, then I saw that I had 47 comments that need moderation. I am SO sorry it took me so long to read your comments. But, THANK YOU for every one of them. I am glad to know that what I share here is helping others. I really appreciate the support. Knowing that people are actually reading my blog helps me to know I should post more often. And, I promise I will. Stay tuned!