Hello Everyone, While gathering from Orchid
members on how to improve my bead and bright, and pav'e techniques
(thru improved tool preparation and handling), I have just been
made aware of a bright cutting technique called "fishtail" or "cut
down" method. )(Thanks to Karl and Gerry the cyber setter's
Almost any casting catalog should have some old fishtail styles,
especially an older ALA or Karbra catalog. There are even some
pictures here and there on the web.
Wow, it’s been a bunch of years since I’ve seen any real interest in
fishtail mountings. This is a style that was popular up until maybe
1970 or a little beyond, and although I’m unaware of it’s origin,
although I suspect the style has been around for more than 100 years
and possibly of Victorian origin.
We used to fabricate fishtail style mountings, delicately soldering
the prong section which started out as a bar bent to shape, drilled,
and filed to shape and polished, to the under gallery and shank. This
way we’d get very high quality results. I’ve also made them in wax
from one piece, and pierced them from metal, not achieving as
finished a product.
I never considered this a “bright cutting” technique, as it’s
essentially a prong setting. Okay, it’s been a LOT of years since I
made one, and I seem to remember finishing up the setting work with a
graver, as well as detailing the center head.
The center heads we made for fishtail style wedding sets could be
quite complicated with 3 prongs cut into each corner, and the sides
pierced with interesting designs. I just don’t think this style is
popular any more. Today’s generation would consider it ‘grandma’s
jewelry’. Please correct me if I’m wrong as I’m not that exposed to
the trade any more.
Please excuse the reminiscing…