Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Popular Necklace

I received a message from the Manager of one of the shops that carries my jewelry.
The labradorite necklace that I had delivered last month caught the attention of numerous customers.
One of those customers left the shop, 
regretted not buying the necklace and returned a few days later only to find that someone else also found it irresistible and went ahead and made the purchase.
Yay necklace!
The disappointed customer wanted to know if there was another one available.
Lucky for her...
the initial necklace was made with one of the 5 labradorite cabochons that I had purchased at one of last year's bead shows.
As is typical,
I must ponder ad nauseam over special materials before comitting them to a project
and still had 4 labradorite cabochons on my workbench.
I said that I would definitely make another necklace and that it would be similar to, but not a copy of the original piece.

Work began and I was thankful to have my new tripod as I soldered the bezel on to an etched base.
The soldering went beautifully...
the solder flowed, making full contact between the two pieces.
Then came time to set the stone.
I made my own bezel wire out of copper that had been textured with one of my steel stamps.
It was perfectly sized...
all right, maybe it could have been a tiny bit larger.
The bezel had been annealed, but it quickly work-hardened as I persuaded it into shape with my bezel roller.
I soon found myself with a couple of bezel bumps that I could not smooth out....
not acceptable.
It was time to admit defeat and remove the stone so that I could start over.
Easier said than done!
Removing a stone from a super snug setting required careful finess.
Actually,
it was more like copper carnage.
I basically shredded the bezel and was able to remove the labradorite while keeping it unblemished.

For my second attempt,
I ran the copper through my rolling mill to achieve a thinner gauge...
which would be easier to manipulate with the bezel roller.
The mill warped the strip of copper...
but I was able to use my metal guillotine to cut parallel edges.

The bezel was shaped again
and successfully soldered onto the base...
and this time,
was properly persuaded to hug the labradorite in its new resting place.
Whew!
Now I can work on assembling the necklace.

And now for something completly different...
my two favorite pliers decided to break their springs within days of each other.
What the heck?!
I have nice (code for expensive) jeweler's pliers that I use for particular tasks,
but these Ace Hardware pliers are my go-to tools 
that I prefer when I need to do some serious metal manipulation.
I love the design...
they feel perfect in my hands
but not so perfect when the spring is broken.
Fisher's Ace Hardware was awesome...
they replaced the newer set of now-springless pliers for free.
I bought a second set and I'm now back in business with a couple of my favorite pliers to help me make this new labradorite necklace.

4 comments:

  1. The original necklace is gorgeous!

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  2. The original necklace is gorgeous!

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  3. Thanks, Susan. I'm hoping that necklace #2 will be as appealing as the original!

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