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Finishing carved white opal


#1

Hi, Ive just bartered for a raw piece of white Opal and have begun to carve it. I think it should be done within the next couple of days. Now, my question is....What do I do with the finished carving? itll be about 1inch tall,3/8 inch thick, 1/2 inch wide with two
carved sides and one side being the back of the piece. It doesnt really sit up by itself, and I think, since its Opal it may be to
fragile to set in a screw bail and use it for jewelry that way. The
only thing that I could think of so far, is to make the back all the
way flat and bezel set it. But that would cover up some parts of the
carving on one side and be just waayy to tall on the other side and
Im not sure whether i can get the bezel into all the nooks and crannies of the carving. totally aside from the fact that Ive never
soldered gold before (which this rock will certainly deserve)

I`m very open to other suggestions
Sparrow


#2

Sparrow,

   I`m not sure whether i can get the bezel into all the nooks and
crannies of the carving. totally aside from the fact that I`ve
never soldered gold before (which this rock will certainly deserve) 

I look for stones that are beautiful from all angles, and make
settings that hold them securely while allowing them to be viewed.
I’m not exactly recommending my method, as it’s not all that easy,
but perhaps looking at what I did will suggest something to you for
your own decision.

You’ll see a few of my stone settings in amongst the clutter heRe:

http://www.golden-knots.com/pendant.html

There’s one on my index page that I’m particularly fond of, too.

Loren
http://www.golden-knots.com/


#3

Hi, Sparrow- This may be the type of situation for which wire wrap is
a perfect solution. If you were to wire wrap the carving as a
pendant, the back would not need to be flat, you would not stress
the opal and you should be able to accomodate the unusual shape.

Lee Einer
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com


#4

Hi Sparrow, How about prongs in the nooks and crannies. And rather
than having a full, solid back plate, make a square wire frame (base
when laying on it’s back) to which the prongs are soldered. Will save
on gold, and also allow the back of the stone to be seen.

Take a look at this chrysoprase carving I set in such a manner:

http://www.carolinaartisans.com/shop/chrys_gold.htm

Click on the hyperlink to see the original rendering… will give a
little more about how the backing was done.

Let me know if you have any questions!

All the best,
Dave
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com


#5

Dave, Loved seeing your Chrysoprase carving and the setting. Simple
but elegant!

Sparrow, Dave’s suggestion is right on. This type of wire setting
is always the third of three projects all of my students are required
to complete. It can get a bit dicey solding on 4 or 5 prongs plus
jump rings etc and it greatly improves their soldering/torch
techniques. This style of setting is extremely versitile and useful
on all sorts of odd shaped stones. Another way to accomplish the
same thing, is to use a plate of 18 or 20 ga …saw out the exact
outline of the piece, then cut out the inside following the outside
shape so you end up with a thin (maybe 2-3mm wide) flat piece the
exact shape of the stone with an open back. Then place your prongs
whereever you wish. I have a number of these that were done by my
Chinese instructor in Taiwan.

Good luck and cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL
where simple elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut1


#6

Loren, I love your work! I’ve stopped at your site a couple of times
before, checking out the competition and all that, and Ive really enjoyed your pieces. :-)...(dont worry, I usually don`t suffer from
artist block)

doing a wire wrapping thing on this carving may well be functional,
but I dont think itll compliment the piece. (she’ll look like she’s
wearing bondage gear or something, which would lead to
misrepresentation, I think plus limit the market even more)

At this point I do have an idea, but it’ll be a while till I can get
that piece of 12gauge (!) gold wire (OUCH my wallet!!) but I can cold
forge that and make it look like a vine that grew around her, and
she`s sitting on part of it, without any difficulty

good things take time…:slight_smile: Thanks for your input Sparrow
http://www.sparrowsjewelry.com
http://www.sparrowsjewelry.com/experiment.html


#7

Hi Dave, Thanks for the tip. I LOVE that piece of Chrysoprase,…now
Im hoping that the guy I was trading with comes back, because he also has a piece of raw chrysoprase, but he didnt know what it was,
and I wasnt sure, because I didnt think Chrysoprase was found in
Australia (the stone is usually out of my price range, but I`ll
barter for it any day! :-))

Gernerally Id like to prong set this piece. it would be the least design disturbing solution, and I had somebody explain to me at length how to do a prong basket some years ago, when all I could do was nod and pretend I understood, but, if you follow the link where Ive put a couple of pics of the carving, you’ll be able to see, why
a prong set (or at least one of the spots to logically put a prong)
would be,…shall we say,…inappropriate…:wink:

http://www.sparrowsjewelry.com/experiment.html

(please be kind, this is only the 4th piece of rock I`ve ever
carved, and the other stuff was Soapstone and a long time ago)

carving this piece of opal was really an experiment. I never thought
the rock would survive, and I figured I could always chop it up into
cabs after I broke it, but I didnt break it, so now I have to set it...somehow I absolutely loved carving this stuff though, cuts really well, there isnt any “grain” it was real fun!

Sparrow
http://www.sparrowsjewelry.com


#8
At this point I do have an idea, but it'll be a while till I can
get that piece of 12gauge (!) gold wire (OUCH my wallet!!) but I
can cold forge that and make it look like a vine that grew around
her, and she`s sitting on part of it, without any difficulty 

Sparrow, I see your point, the way you describe it your stone needs
to be set with something that is included in the gestalt of the idea
you started with, not merely held in place. Good luck.

I’m looking forward to seeing pictures, mind you, and I’m sure that
I’m not alone in that. :wink:

Loren
http://www.golden-knots.com/


#9

Dagmar,

I looked at your pretty opal piece and belive it would be prefect
for the open back setting Dave suggested. There are several natural
’prong’ positions that would work, one top left, three on the right ,
one on the left and one at the botton center. Don’t know what the
back looks like but even if it is not flat, such a setting would work
very well.

Don’t know what you mean that there is a possible prong position
that would be inappropriate? Is that a torso by any chance?

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut1


#10

Hi Don, Thanks for looking :slight_smile: it`s a woman’s back and bottom (and
some nonsensical “ruffles” on the right side to confuse the issue).
The prong going to the bottom center, would be just that,…going
up her “bottom Center” :slight_smile:

I think I`ll stick with my cold forged vine idea,…:slight_smile:

thank you very very much for your input though! Sparrow


#11

Sparrow, beating down a piece if 12 g. wire till you can bend it
around that opal without breaking the opal is going to be a real
project. If it was me, I would fab a basket with prongs shaped like
hands with the fingers holding the gem!

Spike Cornelius
Portland, Or.
RC ArtMetal


#12
Sparrow, beating down a piece if 12 g. wire till you can bend it
around that opal without breaking the opal is going to be a real
project. 

Hi Spike, thank you for your concern. Hammering and then bending
isn’t quite the way I do it. First I’ll forge out a paddle at one end
and bend it over my roundnoses to make a curl. then I come up around
the back a little bit with an unforged section (probably lightly ball
peened over the horn of my anvil, but not really forged). Then I
forge a curve outward, not flat, into the next section, going around
her waist, then bend an unforged section at the right angle to come
around the back. at this point I can just set the piece in there and
bend the rest of the setting, finishing off with another paddle
coming downward over the base of the neck for a bail. Ive been working with thick gauge metals for eight years and Im pretty good
at it. Setting a fragile stone into thick metal and hammering close
to the stone doesn`t scare me. I may use 14g instead of 12g, because
I think, the 12g may optically be too thick (Ican get about 3/8"
width out of it without ruining the edge of the metal, and that may
just be too wide)

If it was me, I would fab a basket with prongs shaped like > hands
with the fingers holding the gem! 

this is a really nice Idea, that Im sure would work and look great, but alas, it is beyond my skill at this point ( I have this thing about hands, cant draw them, can’t carve them, can’t sculpt them
they just never look right, plus it sounds like an awfully complex
soldering project that I dont feel skilled enough for, and gold would be a horrible thing to use on something I dont feel confident
about completing properly)

Thanks for your advice Sparrow (too perpetually broke with too many
other priorities (NEW ROOF ON MY HOUSE before the winter!!) to be
able to get the gold for the setting any time soon anyways)