Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Slippery Slope! Turquoise (and a Bonus Stone)

In my previous post I mentioned setting stones that are not a consistent height from bottom to top. The second or third stone I ever set was one of these. It's a piece of turquoise my father found on my parents' property in Arizona.

The way the stone was cut meant that one side of it is higher than the other. Which doesn't mean it's un-settable, but it requires a bit more work on both the front and the back end of setting.

The reason this is tricky is because you usually need only 1 mm (that's all!) of bezel wire above the rim of your stone. With a stone that has different heights, you must measure the wire to the highest part and leave 1mm for setting....which means you will have excess wire for the shorter parts. If you measured to the shorter part, you wouldn't have enough wire to cover the stone and keep it in place in the high spots.

You can see the uneven-ness of the stone best in this shot:

The left side is definitely higher than the right. And yeah, more curvy-ness on the back plate. Part of that same learning experience I had with the Biggs Jasper of my earlier post.

For fun, more photos:

This turned out to be one of my favorite pieces, even though it was a bit of a ball-buster to set. I struggled to get the stone set without it rattling / moving within the setting (a BIG fabrication no-no). It took a long, long time to get the bezel pressed up against the stone without any looseness. But now I have beautiful ring that showcases one of my Dad's found stones. Bonus: Dad loves it too!

Here's an example of an uneven stone before it's set. Check it out:

You can really see how the right side is lower than the left. So the bezel wire will have to be measured for the left side and then "finagled" during the stone setting process. 
And in the above shot, it's quite clear that the back of the stone - bottom of the photo - is very uneven as well! Fun, fun, FUN during setting...well, I always like a challenge.  :)

So what's this stone? Lapis? Nope. Kyanite?'s a little beauty called Cavansite. A not-very-common stone first discovered in Oregon in the 1960's. Since then it has only been found in a few other locations, like a place called Deccan Traps, in India. So there's not too much of it and it's apparently valuable to specimen collectors (which sounds terrible but simply means the geo-freaks* who collect rock specimens). The stone's name is a combination of its materials: Calcium, Vanadium, and Silicate. Its color is always a deep blue and unlike any other stone I've seen.

Now I know you're dying to see the front of this bad boy, right? Well first let me disclaim by saying that my cabochon isn't probably the best Cavansite, nor is it very big...but it IS pretty and it was almost UNaffordable even in this tiny size (about the width of my thumbnail at its widest). But I couldn't resist it...I, too, am a geo-freak at heart!

That dark spot down the bottom of the stone is from the camera. Otherwise, all-natural sea-blue coloring. Yummy!

*geo-freaks:  I use the term very fondly as I have been a rock and gem girl since...well, since I was a girl. And I have been known to buy rock specimens to use as bookends, coasters, paperweights...I'll use almost any excuse to get them into my home.   :)

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