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Learning how to solder with raw gemstones


#1

I am a beginner at working with soldering and would like to create
earrings using raw miniature gemstone specimens and posts. Does it
make sense to create a cross or (x) and solder that, then add the
post?

I am planning to use 20gauge sterling silver wire so that I can
adjust the prongs to the odd shaped stones when finding pairs that
are similar in shape.

Also, any thoughts on solder paste?


#2

You need to worry about the post fitting the nut that you intend to
put on it. Assuming that you will purchase the nut, their description
will usually indicate the size of the hole in it. Make sure that the
post will fit, but not be too small. A soldered post will be annealed
and soft. I usually make post earrings as a single unit with the post
wire (long enough for two finished posts plus a bit), connecting the
two earrings. Once soldered, I can then twist them in a spiral motion
to work harden the post, straighten it, and also check to see if your
solder joint is secure. They are also easier to polish this way. Once
finished, cut the post and finish the ends. You can put an X on the
spot where you want to solder, but it will likely not be visible once
your flux turns white. If you can, drill a small hole where you want
the post or use a center punch to create a small dimple to locate the
post. Good luck. Rob

Rob Meixner


#3

There are some great tutorials out there in Google-Land, but I hope
I can help a little.

When you discuss making an “x” (crossing two wires, soldering to
create four pieces that will be the prongs), you didn’t mention
whether you wanted to make a basket type setting (great tutorial for
that here:

So the question is what you’d be soldering the post to, unless
you’re intending to solder the post wire directly to the
cross/prongs? Here’s an image from a jeweler who seems to be making
something along the lines you’ve mentioned. This is a slightly
different kind of setting, but would be more secure than wires alone,
especially softened 20ga. The images are here, along with other
works:

I hope I’ve been helpful to you, and good luck! I’m a beginner
myself, learning some of the very same things. :slight_smile:

Cheers,
Becky