Enlightenment is mistake after mistake.
Well, this big boy was two years in the making. I got the stone from a flower and garden show–of all things. My oldest, dearest BFFs and I get together in Chicago almost every year for it, drink a considerable amount of wine, peruse the flowers, and buy crap we probably shouldn’t from the vendors in our lubricated state. One of my friends offered to buy me some jewelry from a lady who has a booth of handmade goods every year; as I make my own, I didn’t quite see the need, but she was selling a few loose stones on the cheap. I could see why: this one wasn’t very well cut, off-center, and the back was not quite flat, but I have a soft spot for imperfect things, and wanted to make a project of it. And so I have.
Last year, I took the back of the stone to a diamond honing block submerged in water. Flat back, easy as pie. Then I put it aside with vague ideas of what sort of cuff I’d like to make for it. Also, I needed some taller bezel wire than I had on hand, because the edge was, well, high in spots, uneven, goofy. A challenge.
This year, I decided to go for it. At some point in the winter class, I made a bezel, did my best to trim it to the correct height in every area, and got the bezel onto the backing sheet. This required a bigger torch then I generally use, just to get the solder chips to flow instead of lumping up like little jerks.
Then there was some cleaning up and setting aside, and some consultation with Bob to figure out what kind of wire I should order, and how I might bend it to get the shape I wanted.
I think what I ended up with was 6 gauge half-round. The trick to getting a nice, even double band is to cut two pieces, solder only the ends together, shape the resulting piece on a mandrel, and then carefully pull the two wires apart: separated on top, joined underneath. I practiced first with some copper, as I wasn’t sure exactly what length I needed, and didn’t want to waste the expensive half-round sterling. I ended up thinking I had planned for a full inch too much, but now I’m not so sure . . . but more on that later.
Next I had to file down some spots on top to get the bezel box to lie flat and have good contact area for soldering. In retrospect, I ought to have remembered this little problem:
Two years ago I gave myself fits with this ring I almost made, because a band with a big flat thing soldered on top of it doesn’t look very good from the side. How I did I forget that?
Well, it’s what I chose to do, and I got it soldered on with a minimum of fuss, so it is what it is.
Then I finally made use of the little brillo-y wheel that puts a nice brushed finish on your metal. At least this was a happy find. I love that look much more than a mirror finish.
Now here’s what I really, really failed to consider.
Do you see any weight there? Because there isn’t any. And the front side with that giant fossil stone is heavy.
So even though the band fits will, it slips to one side or the other.
And the stone tips forward when my hand is down.
And it tips back when my hand is up.
Insert bad words here. Lots of them.
It may be a good thing that (1) there are a couple gaps in the bezel that I can’t close because of the roughness of the stone’s cut in some spots (and one chipped area); and (2) the opening in the cuff is a bit wider than it should have been. Maybe, when I feel ready and willing, I can pry the stone out so that I can solder some supportive bars to the cuff ends. Or figure out some other kind of decorative weight to add. I don’t know, I’ll have to ask about it.
Right now, I’m down about the whole thing. And this weekend was the major art fair, the one with the real professionals and the tons and tons of fabulous handmade jewelry. I should be inspired by it, but yesterday I checked it out and came home feeling terrible about myself.
But at least this book on Art and Fear came in the mail this week. Maybe it will help me with my mental hurdles. I want to be a pro someday, but I’m too easily frightened by all the business shit that goes with it. Meanwhile, I can’t just keep puttering like this while working part-time in what is essentially a college kid’s job, can I? Or can I?
That’s enough of that. Coming soon: four rings and a seahorse. Not starring Hugh Grant.