Thursday, December 27, 2012

VSP is Done!!

and just in time for Brett's birthday:

This was more work than I anticipated. I really wanted the back plate to mimic the shape of the shark tooth, but I had to be careful on my saw cuts so that it didn't end up to curvy  / girly or too fierce.

You can see that I re-cut the left side (your left, as you look at the photo) from the original design( link) . It was a little too softly curved and I wanted a bit more jagged-ness.

The mosaic pieces also gave me a hard time on this pendant (well, they always give me a hard time! But for some reason the ends of the mosaic sides were tough). I just couldn't get the silhouette right for the longest time. Finally, finally, the pendant looked balanced. I soldered on the back bail and then started tackling the bezel.

Since the stone was so uneven, I had to sand down the bezel quite a bit. And I had to sand it down unevenly so that there wouldn't be too much bezel over the top of the stone in some areas once it was set. I'd never done that before, and it was a bit precarious - making sure I sanded the right parts without taking out too much of the parts that were already at the appropriate height.

Setting the stone was just as challenging as I anticipated. It's like I was setting my first few stones earlier this year - back to being a beginner all over again! I started at the bottom, the sharpest point of the tooth, and then went up to the two top sides, and worked that bezel like crazy. I spent a ton of time with all of my stone setting tools, especially the pusher and the burnisher. Because of the tight corners at the top of the tooth, I struggled to get traction with the burnisher and make a nice "lip" on the setting.

And of course this was one of those settings where the set piece won't stay still. It's a big no-no in the world of jewelry making to have your bezel-set stones rattle around in their settings. And after the first couple of times 'round the stone with the tools, I had some movement. The stone was still loose. So now what??

Hammer, anyone?  It's not your traditional stone-setting tool, but a very experienced stone-setter taught me about using a hammer (only as a last resort; it's quite possible that you'll shatter the stone!) if I have movement within a setting that I just can't correct any other way. After a few taps, that tooth is not going anywhere.  :)

I also spent a lot of time smoothing those angled upper corners. Whenever I show Brett a new stone-set piece of jewelry, he always runs his fingers over the top of the stone and checks the smoothness of my settings. That's right - I didn't marry the guy who just takes a look and says, "that's great, honey.". I married the guy who wants to be sure I'm doing my very best possible work. Luckily for both of us, the bezel rims are as smooth as satin.  :)

look at those rims!  :)

And I've managed to add something else to next year's to-do list: more irregular stones. I've been pretty intimidated by them, but I did enjoy the challenge of setting this tooth and I'm looking forward to working on some more unusual things to set in 2013. And my big buying trip is only two months away! Can't wait!


  1. It looks amazing, Jill! =) I'm sure hubs was thrilled. Love seeing your process, too.

    Best wishes for the new year. Here's to amazing stones and settings and surpassing goals!

  2. Thanks Ash! I enjoyed the process and it seems that the hubby is pretty happy with it. :)

    Same to you - have a wonderful 2013 and I hope you achieve everything you want for next year. :)