Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New Necklace- Bezel Set Jasper Pendant

A few years ago, I bought a strand of round jasper beads. I had no idea how I would eventually use them, but found these beads so beautiful because of the interesting crystalline formations and the range of colors.
These beads have a single hole drilled through the center, but I decided to a bezel setting.
After my (eventual) sea glass success, I was feeling more confident about making a large bezel and laid out the likely candidates for a new necklace.
I made links out of heavy gauge , recycled copper wire and cut a piece of brass that had been roll printed with ornamental grass from my garden.
Preparing to make the bezel, I realized that the bezel wire I had purchased for the sea glass pendant was not wide enough to make a secure setting for the jasper bead.
I thought..."not necessarily a problem...I'll make a bezel out of etched copper."
The reason that many bezels are made out of sterling silver (and especially out of fine sterling silver) is that during the fabrication process, the sterling stays soft enough to press it into place with a bezel roller.
I thought if my copper was a light gauge, I would be able to shape it without much difficulty.
Well...not really.
I sized my bezel strip using geometry....yes, math really does come in handy.
I soldered the strip to form the circle and then soldered it onto my brass base with surprisingly little difficulty.
The challenge was rolling the top of the bezel into place to secure my jasper bead.
The first few compressions with my bezel roller were beautiful....firm but gentle pressure moved the copper easily.
The thing is...the more metal is moved, the more work hardened it becomes, and pretty soon, my copper bezel was seriously resisting my firm but gentle pressure.
It took quite a while to get the bezel to the point where the jasper was in place and I had a relatively smooth form (acccck....I couldn't completely smooth out that part just past one o'clock). 
The brass-with-bezel was then riveted on to a piece of etched copper that had 2 copper jump rings soldered in place for connecting my chain.
The pieces then started to come together.
I chose aquamarine and citrine beads to complement the colors in the jasper beads and wrapped them with sterling wire.
Heavy gauge sterling jump rings were used to make connections.
After the necklace was assembled, I gave it a liver of sulfur treatment...
and cleaned all surfaces with a fine grit sanding block.
As usual, I made the back of the pendant interesting...
by using some etched copper.

The bezel was a bear to form...
but I like the added texture from the etched copper strip.
I don't like to have large, clunky pieces of anything on my neck,
so I chose to use sterling chain near the clasp....
making that portion of the necklace more fluid.
This will be one of my new pieces at Woodmere Art Museum's
on Saturday, May 3.

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