Inspiration and working with fairtrade gold, 2



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sinuous ring design next to an opal and two diamonds

sinuous ring design now set with an opal and two diamonds


using a jewellers piercing saw
Trimming off some excess gold.

When making a setting for a gemstone, one I use frequently is the plain "rub over". This involves bending up a wall to house the stone, with a base to provide a ledge for the stone to sit on, thick enough to accept a hollow filed into it to match the curve of the inside of the ring. Diamonds and other facetted stones have their settings made differently.

making a stone setting
Bending a gold strip to fit round an opal.

close up of setting prior to soldering
The wall of a stone setting, ready for soldering. You can see the little clippings of gold solder waiting to flood into the joint.

sanding the ring smoothe
Smoothing the main part of the ring with fine grade sandpaper, prior to soldering in the setting for the opal.

When finishing the piece, I don't create a surface polish which mostly just reflects the piece's surroundings - the result of which is you cannot very easily see the true colour of the gold itself.

The way I treat yellow gold to produce a very rich colour, involves nothing more than ancient techniques.. in fact any special polishing (eg. inside a ring), is mostly just done with a polished burnisher made from a material much harder than gold.

I also use polishing threads (a kind of very fine quality string), rubbed with rouge and pulled back and forth through some parts of the ring and settings.

a ring ready for burnishing
A peridot and amethyst ring. I've set the stones, but haven't burnished it yet.

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