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[Issue #10]


                H i g h l i g h t s

Jewelry Manufacturing Methods and Techniques

        January 4 , 1998 Issue #10

Highlights Editor:
~ Dr. E Aspler <@Service> newsgroup modarator:
~ Peter Rowe PWRowe@ix.netcom.comFrom: Peter Rowe

Attached are a number of recent messages sent to the usenet
newsgroup, This group is a moderated
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days. Advertising is generally limited to non-commercial items
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Not-for-publication contact with the moderator can be sent to If not for publication, please be sure to
indicate that fact in your message.


Peter Rowe


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“Used toaster oven”
~ (Allen Adler)
~ “R. Arney”
~ (Curt Gates)

“Etching Obsidian?”
~ “R. Arney”

“Gold and Silver”
~ Jan McClellan

““Hard” plastic jewelry boxes”
~ Paul Ewing
~ Gordon Burke

“Scottish/Celtic Metalwork Design Sources?”
~ (Eric tQ)
~ “R. Arney”

“Jade vs. Serpentine”
~ Gordon Zumach

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Orchid Highlights Digest

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Used toaster oven
From: (Allen Adler)

I have in my possession a perfectly good used toaster oven which I
would like to use for purposes other than cooking food. Are there
any ways it could be useful in making jewelry or other kinds of

Allan Adler

From: “R. Arney”

One of the ways I’ve utilised ye old toaster oven is in using
"shrinky-dink" material for sandcast patterns. May sound stupid at
first, but this material can be found in a variety of (sorry
Larry) charicturistics as regards to how much it will shrink.
Anywhere from 1/2 to 1/6th original. I don’t vent my sand casts
the way most people do, draging from the patteren to the sides. I
take an 8/0 (the smallest) saw blade and grind off the teeth and
shape tthe end to a spear point and vent right through the back of
the design. Bracing the whole with a mesh of supporting material
such as steel wool backed up by plexi-glass or masonite, to allow
the escape of gas without blowing the “sand flask” to hell and
back, I can get outrageous detail and fineness of design most
often equated with tuffa, cuttle bone, or lost wax. Ron A.

From: (Curt Gates)

In addition to what Peter suggests, you could use it to
heat-treat stones and metal, dewax casting flasks, heat pickle
containers, and modify plastic shapes that will later be used as
molds for casting. I have modified tabletop roaster ovens for the
first two applications and they work just fine.

Etching Obsidian?
From: “R. Arney”

   Greetings, Here's an obscure notion: Is it possible to etch
obsidian using the same techniques and materials employed in
ordinary glass etching?; and now that I think of it, how about
carbonates like malachite, and rhodocrosite; can they be etched
in a controled manner using HCl? If anyone has tried, toyed
with, or mulled over the above, I would appreciate hearing from
them. Much Obliged, Ethan Gross

Hello Ethan

Osidian is a volcanic glass. And yes, as such, it can be dealt
with much the same as any other glass. But that leaves a lot
unsaid, for there are “other” types of glass that needs special
precaution when dealing with. The first that comes to mind is lead
crystal. Lead in any form has the qualities of lead so far as I am
concerned and is due respect.

But likewise malachite and mother of pearl and such. These
things, if miss-handled, can kill you, and a bit of research and
study of any material you want to work with is called for. You owe
it to yourself and any who might work for you to make such
exploration. I have a friend, long dead now, who came up with a
way to deal with abolone for inlay. Large pieces, say 1 1/2 by 2,
flattened and cut to shape. Gorgeous work. A few months later, as
I recall the tale, 3 of the 7 people he employed were dead. They
went into the hospital and were treated for pneumonia, and as the
problem was puss sacks in the lungs, and not pneumonia, it killed
them. Simple as that. Malachite and other material, even exotic
woods, also have their dangers and should never be discounted or
overlooked. True, acid etching has nothing to do with the dust of
dry sanding. But “vapors” and such in the air all need proper
ventalation. And just because a thing is vented outside our own
shop does not obviate its effect on those outside the shop. Take
care. Do your homework.

The cream etch I’ve heard mentioned will work to varying
degrees. But in using this material you need to consider
carefully your resist. On glass, and glassy material most all the
same rules and cautions hold true. But when you begin to deal
with the carbonates and such, do yourself a big favor: Buy some
inexpensive material to play around with at first. Just as some
material will ferociously undercut when cutting and polishing,
acids eat just as fast sideways as they do downwards <g That can
ruin your whole day.

One thing I have had some success with as a resist on such
material, has been obtained by (Man I’m sorry about this, but I am
cross trained in eleven different fields, one of which is
silk-screening, prints as well as acid cream etching on glass;)
disolving remnants of "Ulano Plasti-cut Sta-sharp Green
(registered) in denatured alcohol, and painting it on such things
as you are talking about, and then cutting the designs with a
swivel knife after it has dried and then doing the acid etch. This
is all risky business and requires a lot of testing and playing
around until one finds what works. Many things are possible, ok?
But not everything that results is desirable. Aman! The search and
the study, however, can lead you into realms well worth the study
if you have the head for it.

Take care, and good luck. Ron A.

Gold and Silver
From: Jan McClellan

   I was recently admiring a piece of jewelry my wife
purchased. The item is mostly silver with some gold decoration
applied to the surface.  I was curios as to what solder may have
been used. Would you use a gold solder or a silver solder to
afix the gold to the silver base.  No solder was evident. Thanks
for any comments. Gene

I always use silver solder when soldering gold onto silver, gold
solder when soldering silver onto gold - then if the solder runs a
bit onto the base metal it is the same color, if any solder jumps
up on the top piece it is easier to sand and polish off. Jan

“Hard” plastic jewelry boxes
From: Paul Ewing

  Does anyone know of a supplier for "hard" plastic jewelry
boxes? These are not the "pliable" cardboard boxes with a clear
soft plastic lid that typically come filled with cotton, but
rather "hard" plastic boxes with a clear hinged lid and  a
cardboard insert adpatable for either one pair of earrings or a
necklace. US Box Corp (Newark, NJ) calls them "Vu-Top Rigid
Hinged Plastic Boxes." However, I am looking for an alternate

Tripps has someting they call Plastic “Crystal” Boxes. These
range from 75 to 95 cents each for 1 to 11 quantity with bigger
price breaks the more you get. Contact number is 1-800-545-7962.
Hours 8 to 5 MST. Paul Ewing

From: Gordon Burke

Dann & Paul,

This is a little different than what you asked for but you might
be interested anyway. We were recently commissioned with a
wholesale order for up-scale jewelry boxes for high end pieces.
These boxes are made out of nice hardwoods (walnut, cherry,
myrtlewood, oak, etc.) and have a spring return, hinged lid sliced
off at an angle to enhance display of the pieces. When raised the
lid folds back at a 90 degree to the bottom for easy access and
display, when closed it seals shut with a snap. Inside hole
diameter is 1 3/4" round with a cardboard type insert. Wholesale
price for these boxes is $9 each. If you think you might be
interested I can make you a sample up soon. E-mail me at the above
address. - Jim

Scottish/Celtic Metalwork Design Sources?
From: (Eric tQ)

I make constructed pieces (mainly using silver) and am looking for
info on Scottish and Celtic metalwork- Celtic knots, Kilt clasps
and brooches, etc. I like to get inspiration from photos, so
technical books aren’t a must (tho they would also be appreciated)
Thanks for any assistance.

From: “R. Arney”

I think you will enjoy this site, a whole lot. Excelent Design and
execution. IMHO Brillant work.

Hollow work, Mokume-Gane and a lot of Celtic history and info &

Jade vs. Serpentine
From: Gordon Zumach

  Jade (both nephrite and jadeite) is easily differentiated
from serpentine by a hardness test.  A pocket knife will easily
scratch serpentine but will not easily scratch jade if at all.

Nephrite has a hardness of 6-6 1/2 while serpentine can have a
hardness up to 7 (most sources list 3 to 6) which I’ve seen in
some Wyoming material. Therefore the knife blade test isn’t all
that dependable. Also this sounds like someone dealing in finished
products and who wants to scratch a finished product? The bottom
line is if its a pleasing color and well finished (high luster and
few scratches (which relate to hardness)) then it has more value
whether its serpentine or jade. Gordon


Serpentine is softer than either nephrite or jadeite. In finer
qualities, it is difficult to distinguish between the two types.
Jadeite may show a more definite “patchy” crystalline structure on
close examination, while nephrite seems more fibrous. Jadeite
seems to me to be a bit more brittle, and may show a more sugary
texture on the break lines, while nephrite seems to round off a
bit more in the polishing stages. I’ve chipped jadeite while
carving it, but I’ve never managed to chip nephrite–an extremely
tough stone. Hope it helps!

End of Highlights Digest

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