Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fabricating a Bright Cut Pendant

Hello there! Been a while, eh? I've been very busy at my bench. One of my recent projects was this fabricated opal pendant. I started with 12 gauge silver sheet soldered to a back plate (20 gauge) and half bezel. I had to make sure my silver was thicker than the stones I was trying to set. Once I was done soldering I cut it out and got this:

 No holes for stones, though. Next I placed the stones and drilled starter holes for them. I'm testing the piece out to see if i've got thing spaced well.

Next I open up the holes with a flame bur then a setting bur to create a seat. Most my seats are a tad small so I use a knife graver to open it up enough to fit a stone.

 After getting everyone to fit I take my graver tip press it into the metal then tilt the tip up: I do not cut, I simply wedge metal over the stones. This is the beginning of the bead process.
 Next I cut a little V behind each bead to "release it." They are ugly at this point, but once I polish and shaped them with a beading tool we have pretty little beads

 Once all beads are finished I am now bead set. I then take my flat graver and cut behind the beads to clean things up, remove stray marks, and create nice angled surfaces to reflect extra light. This is bright cutting and together it is called "bright set." There are many variations of bright set but the main idea is the setting surface has been angled so that it reflects more light creating a "brighter" look.

The opal setting was quite tight already, but just to be extra safe since it was just a half bezel I epoxied AND  set metal over the stone. I pretty happy with the finished product, though the bright setting could be a little cleaner. Also: don't bright set periot. Just. Don't.