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  • by Lexi Erickson

    After years of doing my “looks like they were dug up yesterday from an archaeological site” pieces, I have returned to the high polish, very Danish designs that I did when I first started my jewelry career. Simplicity come naturally to me, I am of Danish ancestry, and a recent trip to the Viking exhibit at the British Museum inspired me greatly.  Today’s Danish designs are clean and uncluttered, minimalistic and usually highly polished—very different from old archaeological Scandinavian designs.  For a glimpse at my first jewelry hero of 30 years ago, please check out these Danish/Scandinavian designs, http://www.pinterest.com/katbadness/jewelry-vivianna-torun-bulow-hube/  I could never match her design aesthetics. She will always be my model of perfection.

  •           MATERIALS          

    • 1 Round cabochon, approximately 2-2.5 inches in diameter
    • 24 gauge sheet, enough for a backplate for the stone and surrounding flat wire
    • 2 x 5 mm flat wire, enough to encircle the stone plus 2-3 inches
    • 8 gauge round wire (optional)
    • Hard solder


              Step 1          

    When choosing a round stone, you need to really make sure it’s round, because it’s more difficult to shape this flat wire than you realize. Put your stone on a round template to make sure it is round.



              Step 2          

    Using the larger Wubbers mandrel pliers, gently form the wire into a circle. When you get to the top of the wire, take the smaller side of the Wubbers medium mandrel pliers and turn it back on itself to form the bail. Saw off what is not needed. You needed the extra bit to hold on to, because it’s really difficult to bend just the tip of the wire without the pliers slipping off. Finish off the end of the wire with a nice circle by using the Wubbers classic round nose pliers. Because of the thickness of this flat wire, no soldering is necessary to close the bail.



              Step 3          

    This may work-harden the wire a bit, so anneal the piece, if needed. This makes it easier to bend the wire.



              Step 4          

    Place the wire around the cabochon and do any final adjusting needed. This usually can just be done with your fingers, but use the Wubbers round mandrel pliers if you are having trouble.



              Step 5          

    Sand the backplate to clean it. Solder won’t flow on a dirty surface. The place the flat wire onto the backplate, making sure that the bail is not lying on the backplate.



              Step 6          

    Flux with a white paste flux. Place small paillions (chips) of solder along the perimeter of the flat wire, then heat. When you are sure that the solder has flowed completely around the wire, with no gaps, because these will really show up later when you polish the piece. If it is not soldered, re flux and resolder. When the solder has flowed all around, remove the heat, let it cool for a few minutes and then quench and pickle.

    It’s important that you let this piece cool before quenching because the 2 inch backplate may warp if thrown into the cooler water immediately.



              Step 7          

    Remove the piece, rinse and clean with Dawn detergent and a brass brush and rinse. Dry well, and then saw the extra backplate away. Don’t forget to saw along the top near the bail. File as needed, then finish with the 3M finishing film. Use the 15 micron first, and then the 9 micron.



              Step 8          

    Using the circle template, or anything else that will draw a circle on the backplate, position a circle and mark it.

    If your stone does not have a hole in it, you can ignore this step and put the stone in now. With the center punch, make a small divot into the backplate, drill a hole, and insert the saw blade and cut out the circle. File as needed to make the circle even.



              Step 9          

    Most of the finishing process has already been done, You may leave the piece with a sanded finish or finish it off on a buffing wheel to a high polish, which is what I chose to do. You may leave the piece as is, and put a Lark’s Head Knot of leather through the bail, or you may add a single jumpring as a bail. I chose to use a piece of 8 gauge round wire, and just finish the bail with an “S” hook, and polish. Even though this piece fit tightly into the setting (in fact I almost didn’t get it out), I set the stone in with 330 glue, and let sit overnight.

    This piece may have many versions and looks. Put your own spin on it, and have a good time.




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