Wondering if anyone would suggest how best to set a carved moonstone
in a 22k bezel setting. The stone is carved from the top (cameo
style). Unfortunately the lovely and detailed carving is "lost"
unless seen in just the right light. Have tried backings of various
black materials, high polished gold, silver, open back bezel, etc.
The black underlay seems to make the stone look gray and dirty rather
than enhance the carving. Any thoughts? Perhaps an accompanying
flashlight?! With appreciation for all that I have learned already
in this forum. Wini
Wondering if anyone would suggest how best to set a carved moonstone
wini - try backing the carved moonstone as i do - with a thin layer of
lapis cut to fit the stone- ive
Wini, Try using a thin mirror as a back. Some star quartz is handled
this way. Will Estavillo
I always back my moonstones with white gold. It isn’t perfect for
all of them but works most of the time.
Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140
Here is a trick I picked up from an old Italian jeweler. Line the
bezel with a fine weave of white silk before you set the stone. It
seems white silk, much like fiber opticts, transmits light. I have
used this and other similar techniques for bringing out the beauty of
stones in bezels. You also might try rhodium plating the inside of the
bezel thus reflecting white light through the stone. I have also used
a thin layer of colored synthetic enamel (mixed 50-50 ratio to be more
flexable) that is transparent as a cushion for the stone and a color
assist. Mix a color that will enchance the color of the stone. For
moonstone I would use a blue or red depending on the color of the stone.
hope this helps. Frank
Hi Wini, You can buy a product called “mylar” at most fabric stores.
It is thin sheet plastic that is mirrored on one side. Two dollars
will get you slightly more than a lifetime supply. Cut a piece of this
and slip it under your moonstone. It will be perfect. Have fun. Tom
Wini, I love your question, now I can through out an idea I have had
in my head for many years. A Magician friend from long ago wore a bra
hooked up to a small battery. She had Christmas lights sewn into the
bra and made a spectacular unrivaled costume.
Segue forward to putting a piece such as yours into the best light?
For the electrically adept among us, is there not a way using fiber
optics and perhaps a hearing aid or watch type battery incorporated
into a clasp to solve Wini’s dilemma?
I use many natural stones in my pendant design and want so very much
to back light them in such a manner that the inclusions such as
dendritic patterns or rutiles can be highlighted. I have tried open
backs, shadow box designs, wire wraps, anything to allow light to
penetrate from behind, to no avail.
I know I can design the clasp to include a battery, design the chain
to include the fiber optic lines.
Help, I will gratefully give you the first one I make work as I wish
it too. Thanks, Teresa
teresa - whatever you do, for goodness sake don’t let her USE ANY
GLUE, we’ll NEVER get off that thread!!! & never ever spill a
drink down her - er, ah, ‘front’! ive
I use many natural stones in my pendant design and want so very much to back light them in such a manner that the inclusions such as dendritic patterns or rutiles can be highlighted.
Have you considered “foiling” the stones? This was often done in
antique garnet jewelry, I believe. I have done it when mounting
dichroic cabs, to get the maximum effect from them , and have been
well satisfied. I’d use foil that will never tarnish- such as gold.
Yes, I’m sure to some folks this rates right up there with using glue.
But it works for me. Anne
How does one “foil” a stone? Sounds like it might help with some of
the small- too pale cabs I’d like to use but are too clear. Please
explain. Curses! Foiled Again! (Oh, I used to love to hate Snidley
I use mylar when I set transparent or translucent stones in sterling,
so the stone does not go dark when the sterling inevitably tarnishes.
Mylar is plastic with a metallic finish, it will not tarnish and it
keeps the stone bright.
Twenty years or so ago I also thought it would be fun to create an
illuminated piece of jewelry. I used a miniaturized battery with a
conventional miniature bulb to channel light to fire polished ends of
braided acrylic rods (properties similar to those of glass fiber
optics). I constructed a tiny spring box that functioned as both the
battery pack and the clasp. I had investigated the use of LED’s with
even smaller power sources but wound up not using those. The thought
of trying to hide a larger battery source on someone in fitted
clothing boggled the mind so didn’t try that either.
To make a long story short, my solution worked but only in a very
dark room. The light source had to compete with ambient light and
generally lost. The battery had such a short “life” that it wouldn’t
even have lasted an evening. I had left the fiber ends exposed so they
didn’t even have to shine through something else and the results were
still less than marginal.
If you could totally encase the gem in a black box or highly
reflective type of bezel situation it might work a bit better to
radiate the light outward through the stone. I doubt if you would
dramatically notice the light but would love to hear if anyone else
has tried this.
Also, I want to say several years ago but it may have been fifteen or
more, I wandered into the Heller Gallery (either there or OK Harris)
in NYC and there was an incredible installation of pylon type columns
around some type of central fountain- like object. All the elements of
the presentation had been cast with fiber optics embedded in the
surfaces. They were illuminated from within and glowed with jewel like
splendor. The lights had been turned very low and even then you had
to be really close to the pieces to see most of the detail of the
optics. Linda M
Hi Anne, In the good old days of antique jewelry they did indeed foil
stones and not only garnets. Would you share your technique of
foiling stones? I have on occasion wished I knew how to do it.
Martha from Long Island
I’ve never tried anything like this at all, but Linda’s experiences
give me an idea for you to mull around in your mind. Remember Lucite
(or maybe you’re not old enough!)? A sort of forerunner of fiber
optics? where you could curve the lucite rod into all sorts of shapes
and the light (from a small bulb and a small (at least for that time)
battery) would just follow the rod?
You might want to try it again with the new super bright white LEDs
that they make now. They live up to the name super bright, in a well
lit hotel convention room it’s painful to look straight into them
even at a distance of three feet (this is a bar LED, wires held right
on a battery, techies showing off.
I think one of those would work very well for back lighting a stone
and would not change it’s apparent color either (there is a slight
blue halo around the white light but itis very narrow and not really
noticable unless you have it pointed out to you.)
Jameco has the white LEDs. http://www.jameco.com
Lynn A. Davis
Handcrafted Jewelry, Accessories
And Other Fine Treasures
Would you share your technique of foiling stones? I have on occasion wished I knew how to do it.
I think to call it a technique is over glamorizing. I just insert
gold foil behind the glass cab stone-mounted in a bezel. also tried
aluminum foil on another, just for the heck of it. Just don’t use
anything that will oxidize and start to look funky in a couple of
To those searching for mylar in bulk to help with backing translucent
stones (I think I remember folks asking for it?) : I just happened to
be in my local Tap Plastic supplier for some materials I use to
suspend metal in nitric and ferric chloride and noticed huge rolls of
mylar. I asked and the price in my area was about $1.75 a foot for
sheet at least 30" wide! Hope this helps someone.
Shael–What is the material you use to suspend pieces in ferric
chloride and ferric nitrate? Always looking for a better way!