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Polishing filigree setting

hello all, ive been here learning for 2 years now, and ive bought all
the tools i need to start making some silversmithing. im so glad to
have found this site, after a brain aneurysm in 06, i had to re-learn
everything. i had been making and designing country wood furnature,
but i was now stuck in a wheelchair. from as far as i can remember i
loved stones, i mean and id have made many beaded jewelry.
so after i learned to walk and talk, and once the gloves that held my
spoon and fork came off, i was ready to re-learn my computer skills,
as simple as they were. i stumbled upon some geat places to buy
agates, drusys and the like. so i bought and bought till i had to do
something. from right here ive learned so much from all you very
talented ppl. ive set some stones in bezels and the past 2 days ive
made a bezel for a drusy and made a filigree setting, wow, now what
how do i polish this, i asked my self, so now i asking the experts,
how would i polish such delicate silver. if i could figure out how to
add a pic, i know it would help, but if i bought a tumbler, would it
all fall apart?

thank you, DeAnna

Hi DeAnna,

I don’t know whether you do your polishing on a flexshaft or you use
a buffer. I do the polishing and stone setting on my SO’s filigree
jewelry. On the buffer I use 3" blue (400 grit) radial disks for
prepolish. For polishing I use a 3" chamois buff with Zam. For the
flex shaft you and use the 3/4" blue radial disks and whatever you
use for polishing.

I like using the chamois buffs because the are less likely to catch
on the filigree. I’ve been using them for years because they are less
messy with lint and they last a long time.

Rick Copeland


Im old school, therefore a mm brush with tripoli or greystar for the
prepolish then red or green rouge for the final polish is hard to

A good finish can help a poor jewelers work look good, and a poor
finish makes a great jewelers work look bad.

Good Luck,

DeAnna - when polishing jewelry with a tumbler, you need to tumble
before setting stones. Some folks have success tumbling things set
with fused glass but something as fragile as drusy will not survive.
On the other hand, filigree works very well with a tumbler. Just do
it prior to setting stones.

Judy Hoch

Hello, I have a friend who is specialized in filigree jewellery. I
asked her how to clean filigree work.

That is her answer: “To polish filigree after all the soldering is
done I let the piece soak in hot pickle 2 minutes. After that I boil
the piece in a mild liquid detergent. Until all sides are bright I
brush the piece with a brass wire brush. Finally, in a clean water I
put 1 table spoon lemon salt and I boil the piece in it.”

Here is her work in my website:

Hi DeAnna,

Polishing filigree depends on what type of filigree it is. If it is
scrollwork comprised of smooth wire (usually round, rectangular, or
square), then grinding them with silicon wheels to clean them up,
brush finishing to get in between the wires and then high polishing
with a mini muslin buff on the flex shaft it will work. (I use blue
rouge, but any high polish compound will work for the final finish.)

If it is Russian, Yemeni, or some other style that has twisted and
milled wires in between smoother frame wires, then the traditional
finish is to leave the filler wires unpolished, pickle white and only
high polish the frame wires as described above.

Tumbling filigree and scrollwork won’t make it fall apart, but I’d
rather watch paint dry than push shot out of every tiny space!

Hope this helps,
Victoria Lansford