Oooo. Sounds wonderful. Am very seduced by such ideas--BUT: I do
worry about longevity. Does anyone know how epoxy stands up over the
years? Does it go brittle? Cloudy? Off-colour??
The Indians of the southwestern U.S. have been using 2-part epoxy for
what is known as chip inlay for at least 30 years that I know. I still
have a few of those pieces, and it’s still holding up well. I’ve
always warned people, however, not to flex a bracelet with a lot of
inlay of any sort, because it will fracture and pop out. Most epoxies
will yellow with exposure to UV. The Indians solved this by using some
color in the epoxy. This color was usually black, made from finely
ground jet or lampblack. Another way they got around it was to oxidize
the channel black before inlaying the stone and epoxy combination.
Is it preferable to set it like a stone, so it isn't affixed to the
metal [I'm thinking Re: expansion/contraction, & easy removal for
future repairs/reworking of the metal.]
It’s best to place the material coated with epoxy into a channel, and
add additional epoxy to fill gaps. The channel is overfilled and then
ground down and polished.
There is a type of pourable varnish you can buy in craft
stores, that comes in two parts like epoxy--pours on thick, dries
crystal clear. Within a frame, it can be poured very thick. It's fun
to work with, and I have wondered about using it to create
interesting elements for jewellery. I'm held back by not knowing
what 'quality' the material really is. I want my customers' pieces
to LAST--for their children's children.
I’ve found this material doesn’t hold up as well as that made
specifically for jewelry. Many 4-H projects have deteriorated in a few
years–cracking and yellowing primarily. It also doesn’t polish well,
and it scratches much too easily for my taste.
I have used Durenamel and been pleased with the results. I like the
convenience of premade colors. I have a piece made of copper, chip
turquoise and clear resin. It’s been sitting in sunlight for the past
year. The resin is still crystal clear, and the copper still sparkles
underneath. I have not noticed any deterioration such as crackling,
softening, chipping, etc. I made some pins for one of my customers.
She didn’t want enamel because she was afraid the enamel would crack
if the recipient dropped it. I made one with chip stone, and one with
just the Durenamel. Oh yes, she wanted it over sterling silver, rather
than fine, so that jinxed enameling too. They’ve been around for
almost 2 years now, and no complaints, even when I ask specifically.
K.P. in WY -