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Jewelry with Stacked Cabochons


#1

While traveling in Mexico several years ago, I was stumped by
several artist’s work. They stacked several cabochons and bezel set
each stone. Some rings were 5 stones high…mini sculptures. Others
were large belt buckles with 3 stones.

My memory was reminded of this by an article in a recent Lap Journal
or Art Jewelry magazine. Another artist was doing something similar.
I would like to know the mechanics of how this is done. One of the
artists’ names in San Miguel de Allende is Darla Nordstrom. I’ve
provided a link to her site below and from there I think if you go to
bracelets and look at # Bracelet # 17 it is a variation on what I saw
while there. Her pieces are only 2 stones high, but I saw other works
in Mexico that had more stones.

Do you have to do your own lapidary work and have some sort of hole
cut out in the lower stone? How do you solder this all together? This
might be old hat for some of you, but I would greatly appreciate some
input on this as it is something that has stuck with me for several
years as “Hmm…how did they do that?” .

Liane Redpath Worlund
Bellingham, Washington


#2

Check out Michael Boyd’s work, michaelboyd.com. Top stone has bezel
with tube soldered on bottom that goes through hole in second stone.
Small round cabs have one tube, larger cabs have two. Glue is used on
bottom of bezel and in hole tube goes through. Bottom of hole is
countersunk, tube is flared. Michael does do workshops on lapidary.
One trick Michael teaches is to buy stone beads, cut in half or grind
off half. Strands of beads can be so cheap, you can get 20 or 30
beads for what a few cabs would cost.

Richard Hart


#3
Do you have to do your own lapidary work and have some sort of
hole cut out in the lower stone? How do you solder this all
together? 

Could you do it by cold connections and make the top bezel setting
to include a chunky rivet that would go down through all the holes in
the lower stones, then carefully hammer the rivet to secure all the
settings?

Helen
UK


#4

I haven’t done this type of work but have talked to someone who has
and the stacked cabs are made by first making the bezel setting or
use a bezel cup if you are working with calibrated cabs. Then solder
a short piece of 16ga or similar gage wire on the back of the bezel
setting as a pin then set the cab. Then use a diamond drill and
drill into the lower cab a hole close to the size of the pin. Then
epoxy or super glue the upper and lower cab to each other.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#5

If I were doing it I would drill a hole in the lower cab using the
appropriate diamond drill, then set that stone. On the back of the
bezel cup for the upper stone I would solder a tube which would just
fit in the hole, drill through the backing plate on the lower
setting, insert the tube and flare it, then set the top stone.


#6

It’s an old technique. Back in the day…

Ok, back in the stone age…

We used to have to make or repair men’s rings that had an onyx with
a diamond set in a small plate set in the center. They were always
getting loose and we’d have to tighten them or replace the worn
parts.

The diamond set plate would have a tube of FINE silver, not
sterling, soldered on the back. The onyx, or whatever, would have a
hole drilled through with two small notches at the end of the hole on
the bottom of the stone. The tube was tightened by using a small
burnisher to flare the tubing underneath the main stone. The two
notches helped keep it from turning. Don’t see too many gents rings
these days with that old technique.

We also used fine silver for under bezels to set uneven and fragile
cameos from behind. The fine silver was so soft that you could shape
it to the uneven back side of a fragile shell cameo and then raise
beads under it to keep it in place.

It was considered ok to used fine sliver on a piece that was gold.
I’m guessing because it was never soldered to the actual piece. But
then in those days folks played pretty fast and loose with metal
karat stamping. Now these days, I’m betting that lasers are called
into service for this.

Jo
www.timothywgreen.com


#7

I have taken Michael Boyd’s workshops several times, and do this type
of stacking now. It is a great. I also cut beads rather than
expensive cabs, eventho I can resist Gary Wilson’s marvelous cabs!!!
I now am drilling polished rocks with diamond drills - triple
ripples - his method also, to wear on chains or leather. Two or three
years ago Michael Boyd was featured in an article in the Lapidary
Journal, possibly March or April, about this method. You could
probably find it on the Internet. I took the three day class that
followed in May in Pueblo, CO.

Michael’s work is beautiful. He is teaching a class in Salida, CO.,
just before the CoMA (Colorado Metalsmiths Association) meeting,
which convenes on July 11, 12, 13. Check it out on
comaforum@comcast.net. I can’t take it again - dern - since I will be
teaching a channel inlay class at that time.

Rose Marie Christison


#8

This is a case of there being nothing new inder the sun. It’s not
different than the back onyx rings with a diamond plate, or Masonic
and other jewelry, that’s been around for a century. It’s been laid
out pretty well, but I’ll give a couple of tips: Don’t use wire for
the rivet, use tubing, it’s much gentler on the stone underneath.
Many use silver tubing even on a gold piece, for it’s softness. If
you put a couple of notches in the side of the hole underneath where
the rivet is set, it will give a tooth for the rivet, and prevent the
upper part from spinning…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#9
there is a superb jeweler in Colorado who is well known for the
technique. Michael Boyd. 

He is one of the COMA conference presenters this year. See
coloradometalsmiths.org for the conference details.

Judy Hoch


#10
One trick Michael teaches is to buy stone beads, cut in half or
grind off half. Strands of beads can be so cheap, you can get 20 or
30 beads for what a few cabs would cost. 

My thrifty tendencies have led me to the same conclusion. I also
bought some beads at a trade show that with some ingenuity can be
set as cabochons, with the bezel covering the holes. The beads in
question are “pillow” shaped and having chosen which side is to face
up, the curve of the lower side has to be accounted for. For this
I’ve soldered a wire of the appropriate gauge around the inside of
my bezel setting to support the bead. It’s not an exact science but
it works.

Helen
UK
www.hillgems.co.uk


#11

it is done with prongs of wire or tubing that is fed through drilled
holes in the bottom most palmwood (your example) /cab. Janice Ho also
uses prongs to give her metal work a floating above the main body of
her work feel and appearance…you can attach wires to anything,
bezels, bezel cps, flat metals, then drill through the -whatever- and
solder them in place to a backing plate, or rivet them int the case
of tubing, or have a lapidary form pegs straight into the rough that
can then be stacked onto another cab…it’s a dimensional version of
intarsia in that case…instead of making cloisonnes to hold the
shaped cabochon materials on a flat plane, the pegs allow the crafter
to stack the material and then perhaps, set it all into a bezel or
attach to a backing of your design…rer


#12

Michael Boyd does this type of work and teaches a workshop on this
technique called “Integrating Stone and Metal.” It was probably his
work you saw in Lapidary Journal from March 2004. I took his class
in Salida, CO a couple of years back and I know he also teaches at
Metalwerx in Waltham, MA. We learned to cut and polish the stones
and to drill holes into them for stacking the bezel-set stones which
are held together by tube rivets. I highly recommend his class if you
get a chance to take it. He’s a wonderful teacher. Here’s a link to
his web site: www.michaelboyd.com

Bonnie Cooper


#13

Then epoxy or super glue the upper and lower cab to each other. Glue
is used on bottom of bezel and in hole tube goes through. I dislike
that idea—I never use glue–ever.

Hans Meevis
http://www.meevis.com


#14

Thank you everyone for your input on the ‘stacked cabochons.’ All of
your input was greatly appreciated and clearly written so I fully
understand now…and can put that ‘question’ to rest!

Liane Redpath Worlund