I’ve been asked to make a pair of Sterling Silver Earrings with 8mm
Moonstones. The client has a beautiful pair of Moonstones that are
clear in color–she would like them to have a bluish cast to match
some other jewelry. She is perfectly happy to have them backed with
something that will give the stones the right look. I’m not sure if
there is an ethical question, but I think that as long as she has
requested this and is fully aware of what is being done, it’s OK.
My real question now–is what kind of material would work, and be
long lasting? I thought of painting a piece of silver to put under
the stones (what kind of paint)? Blue foil paper, or some kind of
stiff, thin plastic (but I don’t have any old credit cards that are
light blue). I would really appreciate any suggestions. Many Thanks
I’ve been asked to make a pair of Sterling Silver Earrings with 8mm
Sandra, Given how blue moonstones typically look, you might get the
best results by using that transparent blue mylar (like that used
sometimes to wrap Easter baskets and floral arrangements). It just
may give that iridescence that is so attractive without a “fake” look
that you might get from something more opaque. Try it (set it on the
back of the moonstones and set them on a piece of silver) and see!
Should be available at any halfway-decent artsy-craftsy store.
As long as the client has requested it and is aware of what is being
done, there’s no real ethical issue – I think the ethical problem
comes in (for me, at least) when it’s sold and the “treatment” makes
the stones look like a different grade or quality altogethr without
the client being aware.
Handcrafted and Unique Artisan Jewelry
The client has a beautiful pair of Moonstones that are clear in color--she would like them to have a bluish cast to match some other jewelry. She is perfectly happy to have them backed with something that will give the stones the right look.
why not use some powdered sodalite, or turquoise, under the stone to
level it, in the same way you would use sawdust? Or you could use
some powdered enamel, as well.
Dear Sandra, Another Orchidian (thanks, Donna) shared with me that to
raise cabbed stones to a desired level, use the plastic (comes in
variety of thicknesses) that model train people use to make the
little windows in the train cars. You can cut to size, stack, and
set. And it doesn’t deteriorate. Use this instead of sawdust to
back the stones for example.
I have used it that way, and also have used permanent paint pens
found at art stores to color the plastic shape that will back a
stone or bead. The resulting color under the translucent stone or
glass bead (cut and cabbed) can be very subtle by mixing, stacking,
etc. or very obvious. Turn the painted surface upside down for a
very subtle difference, but of course, the color effect would be
Find the plastic sheets (fairly more expensive than you think they
might be) at model train shops. The clear plastic does come in some
colors, as I remember, aqua and yellow, and of course clear.
I often color the backs of closed bezels to enhance the color of
stones. I make sure I disclose this to the customer. I have found
ceramit to be the material I like the best. It gives a good cushion
to the stone and the colors come in opaque or transparent. For
moonstones I have found that black gives a very nice blue color to
rainbow moonstones. Try blue or black. Frank Goss.
It won’t be Blue but backing it with a shaped piece of a CD disc
gives an interesting play of color some of which will be blue
iridescence. Bill from L.I.
Hi Sandra, Blue foil will work. Put a drop of super glue
(cyanoacrylate) on the foil and spread it out with a toothpick. Set
the stone down on top of it. When the glue is dry, use an
Exacto-type knife to cut around the stone and then to carefully shave
away the excess foil and glue. I do this with aluminum foil
occasionally, and it works just fine. By the way, blue paper will
work also; the glue will seal it. Beth
Sandra, you can easily “Proof” the stones by painting the backs with
finger nail polish. I use black finger nail polish to test opals
for inlay. It cleans right off with just a drop of acetone. You
could experiment with other colors as well. That said, you are
unlikely to get that great blue from a clear moonstone. That color
comes from within, not behind the stone.
What ever backing you decide to use, should be both water and body
oil proof, else you will soon have an ugly separation of color and
stone. The most likely semi permanent colors will be colored epoxy.
I would get some dye from some place like Tap Plastics or other
like shops. Just remember that there needs to be a thick layer
under the stone. If you apply the colored epoxy and then let the
stone touch the backing, you will get some not very good results in
the form of a bulls eye where the stone touches the backing. There
needs to be at least a mm or so of color backing to prevent bleed
through. Make sure the stone is very clean. A final wipe with
acetone just prior to setting in the epoxy and make sure you don’t
touch the stone with your fingers in between cleaning and setting.
Set the stone in the bezel or prongs and then before the epoxy sets,
clean any that squeezes out.
Many times the color black behind a blue moonstone that is clear
will bring out the blue color. My suggestion is to make the clear
moonstones a doublet with either black onyx or lapis. This can
adhere permanenetly and is nicer than foil, plastic or paint.
Hi Sandra, hope this helps. I use Tester’s model paint (a small drop
from a toothpick) to add to my 5 Minute Epoxy to make background
cushions for moonstones & opals. One note however, if the moonstone
is gem quality (no inclusions), I paint directly on the metal & use a
thin gauge wire to form seat so stone does not make contact with
base. Otherwise the stone acts as a magnifyin g glass and makes the
stone look fake. If you mix it into your epoxy, be s ure to start
with one small drop of paint at a time until you get the color
preference. I’m sure there is probably a limit on how much paint
you can mix in but I am able to get dark colors without affecting the
epoxy’s curing (usually two to three small drops). I have always used
Tester’s paint only because I can get a variety of colors in small quantities.
Howdy Sandra, I think you should consider anodized (electrically or
heat colored) titanium. Sure there are other ways, like foils or a
blue patina on silver or something, but a disk of titanium could be,
colored, attached to the moonstone with clear Hughes or other epoxy,
and mounted as you please as a doublet. OR the entire earring could
be made from Ti and the stone mounted. Ti is also hypoallergenic
(bio-compatible as in hip joints and stuff). Bill! where are you?
This would be a good chance to introduce Sandra to titanium!
1 Lucky Texan
You may want to use fabric and 20 minute epoxy. Find a color of
sheer fabric you like, shred the material and mix into the epoxy.
Then “paint” it on the back of the moonstone. It would be long
Nancy in Dallas
Hi Sandra, I think I’d look for some of the metallic Mylar film
wrapping paper in the right colour. I use this stuff for all kinds of
things and it is stable and long-lasting. (it makes great
lightly-springy packing for wedging under the balance wheels of
watches I send through the post to stop them swinging about and
damaging themselves!). Blue silver foil from sweetie packets would
also work but is usually a bit too thin and often wrinkled.
Ian W. Wright