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Designing a Custom Piece

A person had seen a few posts of my Facebook and asked if I could create a custom piece that would utilize several stones. She mentioned the thought process for selecting the specific stones. After reviewing the reasons for the selection and doing some research, I suggested one stone–citrine. We spoke a little further and I felt that the piece would be best with a facet-cut stone rather than a rough or tumbled stone. I did a drawing of the design and she agreed this was what she wanted. The stone was ordered–a 10mm facet cut citrine.

Below are some photos of the necklace in different stages:

pieces to be put together for the necklace

Here are the three main components of the necklace. The wreath looking piece is created from 20, 18 and 16 gauge sterling silver wire. It was wrapped around a mandrel and woven together. I then soldered the wires together to create a solid piece. All randomly placed wire, but reviewed for visual balance. A bail was made in the same random but controlled style with 18 gauge wire. You will notice the setting for the citrine separate from the decorative part that surrounds the setting and the placement of the stone.

Pictured is the soldered setting in the decorative piece. The citrine is along side.

The next photos is of the setting, now soldered into the decorative piece with the bail. The 10mm citrine is next to the setting. You will notice the prongs are very long and will not be trimmed until the piece is cleaned up and the stone is ready to be set. With this style of piece it is great that it looks random and organic but it is important to spend the time to finish the piece carefully and completely because the next step is to patina the piece and set the stone. Once the stone is in, it is difficult to clean up so the wreath piece was cleaned and polished to make sure there are no rough edges and anything that is not appealing is addressed prior to the setting having been soldered in place. Then the piece is cleaned and adjusted so the stone will set properly.

The setting is finished and cleaned up. It then has been had a patina applied. Steel wool will be used to rub off some to give the piece depth and visual dimension. Then it will be ready for the stone to be set.