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Choosing metal for enameled mounting


#1

I bought a beautiful green quartz, 23ct. for a girl friend at the
Tuscon Show last week. She would like it set in a ring, silver. Ok
the question. She would like the mounting, which I was going to make
like a large bezel set, rather then prongs, to be enameled. How do I
do it? Should I use fine silver for the whole ring? Or it that too
soft for the band. Do I Solder the bezel to the band then enamel or
solder enameled bezel later? And do I counter enamel the inside of
the bezel. Worrying about expansion, will this all just break?

Jo Dean


#2

The enamel will crack off when you push the bezel over the stone. It
is not something that I would try. It sounds like a disaster to me.

marilyn


#3

Jo Dean,

Do you mean you would like the area around the stone to be enameled.
There are several things to consider here. First, fine silver would
be too soft for the band. You would need an edge to the enameling
area that would act as stop for the enamel.

So one way, if your fine silver was sweat soldered to the sterling
band, where you could hammer or burnish up a small stop on the edges
to hold the enamel. Or you could solder a small wire around both
sides as a stop. Which ever way you are more comfortable with. This
thick metal will hold a thin layer of enamel without a need to
counter. Now, solder a bezel inside this enameled area, and solder a
seat inside your main bezel as well for the stone to sit on that is
a.5 mm higher than the enamel. You should be in good shape to
burnish the bezel over your stone. because the bezel that you are
moving is higher than the enamel and should not cause stress on the
enamels.

If you are worried about the enamel cracking in the process, one
thing I like to do is heat test the stone. You may be able to set the
stone then enamel. I would not heat test this stone but a small stone
of the same type and quality. When I am doing a similar project I
will by 1.5 mm stone, and place it in the kiln at 1450 degrees for
the same time, say 1.5 minutes and see if it can stand the heat.

If this does not help you, visit “The Enameling Hotline” at my site
alohilanidesigns.com where you can upload a photo of your stone, and
a drawing of your plan. And I can also upload drawings to help you.

Happy Enameling!

Patsy Croft



#4

All,

I am still obsessing about how to mount my enamel piece - but thank
you to all who gave valuable advice - Peter Rowe: I understand what
you are saying, thank you.

Ifound an old book (1969) by Margaret Seeler on enamelling. She
deals shortly with mounting enamels. However, now I amcompletely
confused.

First, according to Seeler, enamels should have a rim and should be
slightly domed. The dome is against warping and has nothing to do
with the subsequent mounting. The rim, which will ensure that the
enamel can be set and worn safely, is made by tapping the disc down
over a stake - it should be appr. 1/3 of an inch down (see p. 34 -
The art of enamelling). Then she says: this side will be ‘up’. In
other words, once the disc is ready for enamelling the rim will
point towards you when you stand in front of it, so the disc will
have the shape of a small cup. She goes on saying that this
turned-up rim is not yet the solution unless they are mounted from
the rear into some kind of frame. How is this a solution for
prong-setting from the back unless you accept that the rim at the
front will look like a ‘bezel’, with the consequence that you need
to set the enam= el in the same metal as the one you used for the
disc? Sorry, but I do not get this. Could anyone please explain?

She then goes on: the next (?) possibility is to shape a rectangular
wire (16 - 18 ga.), solder it and file the edge (which will touch
the metal of the base) to a slant in order to prevent the solder
from spreading over the base-metal. Solder, pickle, etc. and ‘you
have a piece which is strong, holds its shape, protects the enamel
and can bet set into a bezel. Filing the rim makes setting easier
yet. Metal only touches metal; no pressure can damage your enamel’
(Seeler, p. 35).

Well, I do not understand this. Can someone please enlighten me, so
that I can stop stressing over this? It would be much appreciated.

Best regards,
Leach


#5

Alicia,

The Margaret Seeler book was excellent at the time it was written.
However, newer and more methods relating to enamels have been
developed.

I suggest that you direct your question to the Enamel Forum, or
Grains of Glass for more modern methods of setting enamels.

Also. You might want to consult other enameling books. Linda Darty’s
book on enameling is considered by many to be among the finest
written.

Alma


#6

I read Darty’s book.

She has no answer to this problem. In the book, only 2 or 3 pages
deal with mounting enamel and, frankly, that section is
disappointing. Actually, I read most of the books on enamel and I
referred to Seeler because as far as I know she is the only one to
deal with this (crucial) problem in some depth.

Leach