Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Making Custom "Dragonfly"

Client had a beautiful periwinkle blue sapphire he wanted to get set into a dragonfly pendant for a friend. I drew up the "dragonfly in moon" design which was influenced by Japanese ink drawings. I made it proportionate to fit the stone size. Here is a pictoral glimpse into it's construction.

The finished pendant. I love how it turned out.

Measuring the circumference of the drawn circle with wire.

Straighten out the wire and check with a ruler to get the correct length for the silver wire.

Silver 14 gauge square wire soldered.

Dragonfly shape sawed out and circle textured, both sanded.

Details are tooled into Dragonfly to add dimension.

Because I am just doing minor tooling, hammering over wood works well.

Took an afternoon hike and saw this crazy bug. It was just over an inch in length. It was fun chasing it down the trail trying to snap a picture. It's good to get outside.

After tooled and pickled, I solder on the pre-cast prong setting. This can save a lot of time and expense.... sometimes.

The two components are ready to be joined. Notice I already have the bail soldered in place.

All of the components have been connected with Hard solder, and I will attach the two main parts with Medium, but I still apply White Out to the previous joints to help protect them. I carved a little notch in my solder board for the bail so the piece could lay flat.

This is the piece after it has been pickled and then bathed in Liver of Sulfur to blacken.

Look it is out of the tumbler all shiny and ready to set! Almost done, right? Not quite. I decided I couldn't trust these factory prongs to hold an irreplaceble stone. It was brought back from Iraq and is quite valuable in size and clarity.

So, I made new better more sturdy prongs from 16 ga square. They are looped like that so I can solder without the heat-sinking third-hand pliers after the initial tack. Trimmed to height after.

Next, the prongs are trimmed and a notch is filed to hold the stone. It takes me a few hours to get the filing correct to the shape of the stone, and the prongs set and shaped how I want them.

The new prongs after messing with them all night. Ready to set the Sapphire.

The finished piece. I am modeling it to show size and length. It is on an 18" rounded box chain. I am into a variety of box chains this year. I love them.

Back and Front documentation.

1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful! Thank you for explaining the whole process!