Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It Sneaks Up on You

I recently made a stone-set pendant, after not making any for almost three months (!!). It involved crafting two bezels, two back plates, soldering them together, soldering on three jump rings, cleanup, and stone setting. This seemed like a quite a bit of work  when I started it...

...but I worked steadily on it in the studio, and when I was getting ready to set the stones, I glanced at the clock. And thought, "Wow!" Apparently I've gotten a bit faster at this type of work! I was a little amazed. Especially after not making any stone-set pieces for a while. I've spent all year feeling like I'm so slooooow at this kind of work. Sometimes the learning curve sneaks up on you though.  :)

Stone setting, for me, has been a bit of the ne plus ultra of jewelry fabrication. For those of you wondering what the heck a "ne plus ultra" is, it's defined as:

1. The highest point, as of excellence or achievement; the ultimate.
2. The most profound degree, as of a condition or quality.
 
I felt like stone setting was THE mountain. Well...the most PROFOUND mountain. And from where I was standing, at the utter bottom, it seemed nearly insurmountable. Remember this post? I couldn't even make bezels at the beginning of this year. But I'll bet I've made over 100 of them by now. And yes...they've gotten much, much easier (and thus faster) for me. 

So I don't think I'm at the top of the mountain yet, but I've at least notched a couple of steps toward it. Now I'm starting to think about faceted stones (yes!!). But one thing at a time. I still want to make stone rings, bracelets, different types of necklaces and pendants....the list never ends.  :)
I'm also trying to figure out a way to be faster at stone setting, but I think that's just one of those things that really can't be rushed. (Or maybe I just haven't figured it out yet). Stone setting is nearly the last step of the process and it would be devastating to rush that and ruin the stone after putting in all the work on a one of a kind creation! 

So are you ready to see this happy new necklace?   

When I found this labradorite, I knew that it was going to be my next creation (despite the absolute slew of labs I bought at the same time). Something about it just spoke to me and I felt like I imagined this pendant, in its entirety, on the spot. That never happens. But I sat down to make it and it really felt like it came together so quickly!



The top back plate behind the garnet is softly textured with a satin finish, and the bottom plate has a light line texture, polished to a high shine. I'm loving the contrast. 

The back:
The top has an open back, so you can see the color of the garnet more clearly. The last garnet I set was gorgeous but without the light coming in it almost looked black against the metal backing. The customer who bought it loved it, but it bothered me. So I made a change for this one.  :)


Here's the previous garnet:

You can see the color in photos, but it was harder to tell what stone it was in real life. So the new one got a window in the back.

Not bad, eh? I'm pretty in love with it. Of course Blue Piranha loyalists know that garnet and lab is quite possibly my favorite stone combination. I've been using them together for years. 

But let me just say....wait until you see the *next* pendant I made...it's really, really good fun.  :)


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