I found this book on amazon and thought you might be interested in checking it out. Professional Jewelry Making by Alan Revere, Tim McCreight, George McLean and Emiko oye.
I was looking around on Amazon for new and used tools as I often do and I found this book. It’s a good one!
Normally it can cost you around a $100 bucks but it looks like they have a few copies for around $50 bucks. I also noticed there is a digital book as well for $9.99. I haven’t bought the digital book however the reviews look good. This may be a way to get this book if you are on a budget.
Professional Jewelry Making is a must have for any metalsmith. It was put together by the leading purveyors of the craft in the parlance of our times. This book runs through almost everything you need to know with fantastic technical illustrations. Anyway, it’s a great book. I highly recommend it.
Get the deals while they last, strike while the iron is hot, a bird in the hand is better than one in the bush and what the heck one more, don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Okay the last one didn’t really fit. 🙂
Prevent fire scale from forming on your jewelry after you solder.
One of the best ways to prevent fire scale is to mix a fire coating that you will dip your jewelry into before soldering. It is made up of boric acid and isopropyl alcohol. In the past people would use denatured alcohol.
Please be advised denatured alcohol can be dangerous. When it is burned, breathing in the toxic fumes is very hard for your body to process. Over time the toxins can build up in your system and cause serious health issues.
This is why I use 91 proof isopropyl alcohol. It burns clean and is much less dangerous. That’s my little health tip.
The first time I ever tried to cut and polish jade I really messed it up!
It has been many years since but I remember looking down at a piece of jade I had almost finished polishing and discovered something heart breaking. I had been working on this particular piece of jade for many hours and at the last step of the process I ruined it.
Or, so I thought at the time. Everything was going great. Sure, the grinding process took some time but I had made it through all my grinding wheels, starting with an 80 grit and working my way to a 1200 grit.
Then it happened. I over heated the jade and in a flash I had ruined the outer surface. The entire surface was covered with an orange peel type pattern. Two seconds before happened it was looking great.
I wish I knew then what I know now, (queue that Rod Stuart song). Turns out if you over heat jade during the polishing stage an orange peel type pattern will appear. Bummer!
So, I ground down the outside and tried polishing again. Guess what? I did it again. I was also using cerium oxide which I found out later is better for almost every other stone but jade. Sure, you can use it and maybe you’ll get it to come out but I found a better way.
I was watching some knife makers work on their knife handles and one guy was making a jade handle. I thought that was pretty cool and said something about the polishing of jade and how I never could get it to work out.
What he showed me made me laugh out loud. The fix to my problem was something that I used every day in the shop.
What was it? “Zam”. The same polishing compound I used to polish silver and gold.
I went home and tried it, being sure to keep it cool by dipping it in a glass of water every so often and just like that, the polish appeared and the orange peel pattern was gone!
Since then I haven’t had a problem and jade is one of my favorite stones to cut. Here is a video that walks you through how to cut jade into a basic cabochon.
If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between soldering and fusing, the short answer is one technique uses solder and one doesn’t.
Fusing gold or silver can be done by heating two pieces of metal to the melting point.
At the point where they both start to melt the flame from the torch is then removed. If both gold or silver pieces of metal reach the melting point at the same time they will fuse together.
The trick to fusing is to use a very hot flame and quickly heat a small portion of the metal at the same time keeping the rest of the metal slightly cooler than the melting point.
This video walks you through the process of fusing gold but it could be done with other metals such as silver or platinum.
Fusing is similar to soldering in that they both will connect metal with the heat of a torch.
I am using a Smith mini torch with oxygen and propane. I’ve put a tool list up for everything that you will need for a torch set up.
As always use all precautions when working with a torch and other tools. Wear eye protection and always have a clean work area free of flammable items, AKA towels, paper, dust, etc.
If you have any questions please leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.
12 Great books for Agate hunting, Agate identification and Agate geodes
If you are interested in hunting for agates or as we call it rock hounding there are a few books that will propel you to success. These books are great for any agate hunter who is looking to identify agates or to help you know where to look for them.
Stone setting seems to be an elusive skill to many jewelers, new and old. There are many ways to set a stone. They include prong setting, bezel setting, bead setting, flush setting and combinations of both.
If I had to pick just one important factor in setting stones (and there are many) I’d go with how well the stone sits in the mounting. Making a good seat for the stone will mean the difference between success and failure. This goes for a cabochon cut stone and a faceted stone. If your stone is rocking back and forth in the mounting it will make it difficult to set.
Here’s a good rule. Look at the back of your stone. If it’s flat, in the case of a cabochon, how flat is it? If you really look at it closely it may actually be curved. Match that curve in your mounting. Sometimes that is achieved using setting burs and sometimes it is done using ball burs. Basically use whatever you have to get that seat cut to match the back of the stone.
This goes for faceted stones also. Does the stone’s pavilion come to a point like a diamond or is it round like many other gemstones?. The seat for the stone needs to match the back of the stone.
In this video I’ll show you how to bezel set a cabochon gemstone in a sterling silver ring.
This is a step by step process showing how to prep your bezel for setting the stone, the process for hammering the bezel over the gemstone and a tool list.
I made this video with close up shots so you can watch the entire stone setting process. It’s worth it to watch the entire video. There are a few little techniques that you may not know. I hope this helps a few people.
Every stone I set is slightly different so get to know your stone and take your time before you start hammering it into place.
Leave me a comment or question and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
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