Using my time wisely!

I’m afraid the anticipated photo shoot for new products is going to be put off for a while.  I’d anticipated doing it this week, but my mother has a black-tie gala for the Bridgeport Hospital Auxiliary to go to, and has borrowed my Paisley pendant to wear to the event.  This takes place on October 3rd, and I’d rather wait until I have my pendant back so that I can shoot everything together.  Besides, this will give me time to make a few more new things!

I’ve been planning for some time to learn various methods of setting faceted stones.  I’ve only recently gotten to that happy place where I have both the appropriate tools and acceptable materials, but I have been making good progress!  Earlier this summer I started making and using tube settings, like the one in this ring:

This, sadly, is only a CZ, not a diamond!  I suppose eventually I will be able to afford very, very small diamonds, but I didn’t want to practice on them!  People confuse “hardness” with “toughness.”  Because diamonds are so hard, they are also extremely brittle, and are prone to cracking and chipping if not treated carefully!

Just this week I finally tried a flush setting, which is a way to set a stone into the surface of a piece of metal without prongs or extra “settings” around it.  It only works for fairly small stones, but I’ve discovered that it is incredibly easy!  This is a good thing, because small stones tend to be less expensive than big stones.  I’ve now found that I’ll be able to accent pieces with small stones quite easily!  This is my test piece:

It’s really tiny – 3/4″ total length.  The stone is only 2mm, but it was really easy to set!  I was afraid such small stones would be very tricky and tedious, but so far flush settings are OK!  I’m not so sure about the earring design though.  I like them sitting on a table, but I don’t like them so much as they look when worn.  They’re a little too short.  I think if I were to try this design again I’d scale the whole thing up by about a third.
Now that I have some new techniques to play with I want to start branching out and using them a bit.  At least this means that when I place orders for stock I already have an idea of what I’m gong to use it for, and it doesn’t end up sitting in my inventory for years waiting for the right idea to come along!  The current goal is to start to amass a small collection of faceted stones that have some color!  CZs are inexpensive and perfect to learn/practice with, but there just isn’t enough color contrast for them to be noticed when they’re set in silver.
My next project is to make an anti-tarnish storage roll for my finished pieces.  Everything is tarnishing way too quickly, and I have several pieces with soft stones that can’t just be tossed into the tumbler!  I suspect this is because my space constraints force me to store everything in my basement, which is quite damp.  A storage/transport roll will take up considerably less space, and I’ll be able to store everything upstairs!  When I’ve finished and worked all the kinks out of the plan, I’ll post a tutorial.  Look for it to be up within the next two weeks!
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