Things You'll Need
- Sheet metal
- Cabochon stone
- Jeweler's hand saw
- Jewlery files
- Fine grit sandpaper
- Safety goggles
- Wire clippers
- Bezel wire
- Ceramic tile
- Fire bricks
- Soldering clamps
- Soldering torch
- Copper tongs
- Pickle pot
- Metal ring band
Making stone rings is a fairly traditional jewelry making process that many beginners learn immediately following basic soldering lessons. Stones are placed into metal rings through the use of stone settings, which are small metal pieces soldered to the ring base. The simplest type of stone setting is for cabochons, or flat-backed stones. Cabochon stone settings work like little stone containers, which cover a stone on three sides and are fitted perfectly to its size and shape.
Create the Stone Setting
Lay your cabochon stone on top of a piece of sheet metal that matches your ring band. Trace around the cabochon with a pencil. Cut this shape from the metal with a hand saw, adding an extra 1/8 inch to the size.
File and sand the edges of the metal shape smooth. Put on your safety goggles and drill a hole through the center of the piece. This will be the base of your cabochon setting.
Take the bezel wire and wrap it snugly around the base of the cabochon stone, then clip away the excess with the wire clippers. File and sand the cut edges of the bezel wire.
Paint the cut edges of the bezel wire with a small amount of flux. Fit the wire into the soldering clamp, so that it holds the edges closed in a loop.
Cut a tiny piece of medium solder and place it over the "seam" created by the cut edges.
Heat up the torch to a low flame and hold it over the bezel wire until the solder begins to melt. Be careful not to melt the bezel wire itself, as it is very delicate.
Remove the bezel wire from the clamp with the tongs. Drop the bezel wire into the pickle pot and leave it there until it is cool.
Complete the Stone Setting
File and sand the excess solder from the "seam" area. Form the bezel wire around the cabochon, then remove the stone.
Paint a small amount of flux on the bottom edge of the bezel wire as well as the top edge of the shape you cut in Step 1.
Place the metal shape on top of your fire bricks and lay the bezel wire on top of it, so that the flux sides are touching.
Cut a few small pieces of medium solder and line the inside edges of the bezel wire with them. Apply a low flame over the wire until the solder runs into the space between the wire and the sheet metal.
Pick up the stone setting with the tongs and drop it into the pickle pot until it has cooled.
Finish the Stone Ring
Sand the excess solder from the inside of the stone setting. File and sand down the extra material on the outside edge of the setting, so that you have a smooth edge.
Paint the bottom edge of the stone setting with flux, as well as the top of the ring band to which you would like to attach the stone.
Place the stone setting and ring into the clamps, so that the band is held against the bottom of the stone setting. Cut several small pieces of soft solder and place them around the joined edges.
Apply a low flame over the solder until it melts and runs into the space between the ring and the setting. Remove the ring with the tongs and drop it into the pickle pot.
File and sand away the excess solder on the ring. Press the cabochon stone into the stone ring, then press the bezel wire down over the top of the stone to hold it in place.
To set up your soldering area, lay a ceramic tile on top of your work surface. Pile fire bricks on top of the tile to create a fireproof tabletop. Keep nearby your torch, clamp and tongs.
To set up your pickle pot, pour pickle solution into an electric crock pot and keep it heated at a low level. This pot will remove the oxidation from your metal.
- "Jewelry: fundamentals of metalsmithing"; Tim McCreight; 1997
- "The Complete Book of Jewelry Making"; Carles Codina; 2007
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