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Capping natural stones, how is it done?


#1

Hi Everyone:

I am new to Ganoksin and a hobby silversmith. I like to work with
natural stones and crystals and I have seen some of these capped in
what looks like either electroplating or wax molded, althought the
finished look is a little too loose I think to be wax molded and
then cast. The surface of the finished metal capping, etc, is a bit
bumpy, lumpy, rough, etc. I am not sure of the process. I have some
stones which are impossible to cap in the normal cut and solder way
because of their irregularities or protrustions. Can any one on the
list tell me how this other process is done that I have seen?The
overall effect is not as clean looking as it would be with the normal
cutting and soldering so I am assuming it must be electroplating over
wax or something similar that makes the silver or gold mold itself
nicely into all the irregular nooks and crannies of the crystals and
stone, forming a snug fit between the metal and the stones. I’ve seen
this process used on the metaphysical crystal wands as well.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have looked in my books but
can’t find anything that talks of this process or shows finished
pieces which look like the ones I have seen.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice.

Warm regards,
June


#2

can you send a photo? It sounds like a cap (finding) has been glued
to what you are calling a natural stone. is that a cabochon or
faceted stone? or are you talking about tumbled stones?

I can assure you they aren’t capped with wax. It is probably either
bezel set, or a simple’ end cap’ glued on, if not soldered on ! to
plate it you would need to attach a base metal cap first then plate
it- there is electroforming but that is not a cheap set up, even if
one knows how to do it or has just begun to set up a studio. ma To
bezel set you would measure the stone and allow for the thickness of
the metal you are using and add that to the length, then cut a strip
or draw a cone or other shape on paper and saw it out, next clean the
edges so they fit perfectly flush to themselves, no gaps, no burs,
nothing but clear cut perfectly fit and then cleaned and degreased
metal ends, Then position on a soldering board, charcoal block
whatever you prefer, flux well, and apply a paillion of solder in a
matching karat or metal ( i. e. sterling or fine silver, monel,
brass, nickel, etc. don’t need a precious metal solder, but a low
melting point type like tix, or a wire /stick like stay brite brand
etc.), heat and then pickle, neutralize and rinse. then polish or
finish as desired. a good book to read is TIm McCreight’s" the
Complete Metalsmith"- try your local library if you don’t want to buy
a copy straight away. it is an excellent primer on jewelry making and
the perfect place to start learning on one’s own. Don’t let anyone
tell you self-teaching/learning isn’t just as good as taking classes.
With the proliferation of on line video demonstrations on sites like
You Tube you can learn all the processes you need and save a ton of
money. If you happen to be in NYC though the 91st st Y has
reasonably priced classes with professionals that run year round-
that type of class is perhaps the one exception to the rule (as is
any Y, or local community based org., or gem and mineral societies
and lapidary clubs, All often have a well equipped studio and tools
they share and are led by members who teach other members their
skills, or hold regular meetings that focus on a presentation then
sometimes the group works on projects, they are usually listed on
line. Check the Southern Federation of Mineral Societies web site for
links to those around the US and other countries as well). hope this
helps, if you have questions feel free to contact me off list. rer


#3

I think you mean electroforming. This is a process where a
conductive coating is applied to a non-conducting material and then a
thick electroplate is applied. The process is quite old but came into
more common use about 30 years ago. great for small geode/druzy
slaces etc. Nick Royall


#4

June- It’s called electroforming. LIke bronzing a baby shoe.
Anything you can cover with bronzing powder, you can electroform. I’m
sure there are links on Ganoksin to electroforming. Have fun and make
lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#5

Electro forming is what you are talking about. I use the process to
electro form over wax models of old Spanish coins. I then drill a
small hole in the electroformed coin and melt out the wax. This
gives me a very light yet strong reproduction that I can then use
for large earrings. You can electroform onalmost anything.