I started this pendant on Sunday, and it is almost finished (it needs the final ultrafine buff, to really bring out the shine in the silver):
Contemporary Sterling Silver pendant with Mojave turquoise and CZs
The Mojave turquoise cab is just gorgeous - nice pinks and purples, and beautiful veining. It would make a gorgeous piece all by itself, but then I put it next to these 8mm lilac CZs, and - wow! I really love this combination!
Mojave turquoise and lilac cubic zirconia
I started playing with designs on paper, and what you see in the 1st pic above is very close to my final drawing.
Freeform cabs are a little harder to work with; here is the soldered bezel:
Fine silver bezel
Getting the bezel the perfect length was quite a challenge, given the irregular shape of the cab!
The irregularly shaped bezel really didn't want to lie flat on the sterling silver table, and needed a little (a lot) of encouragement from the t-pins. Notice all my solder paillons, lined up and ready for the torch!
Bezel on table, with solder paillons, ready for soldering
Despite my best efforts, the t-pins changed the bezel shape a tiny bit during all this maneuvering, but once soldered, I was still able to get a good fit with the cab.
Next, I added the wire support for the CZs - I used 18 gauge wire for this (a decision I now regret)
18g wire soldered to bezel
The next step was to add the pronged settings for the CZs - I soldered these to each end of the 18g wire.
I forgot to take a pic of the finished piece before I set the stones - sorry!
Here is the back of the completed pendant, showing the bail:
Back of sterling silver pendant
Here is the front of the pendant again:
Pendant front - Mojave turquoise and CZs
I am not thrilled with the outcome - I love my design, but there are a couple of flaws in the execution. For one, I should have used a thicker wire for the CZs - when these are bumped, the wire moves and bends. Not really what I was going for!
The second thing I don't like is visible at the top of the cabochon - where you can actually see the wire along the bezel. Notice how it isn't visible at the bottom beside the bezel. This has happened because the cabochon narrows to such a sharp point there at the top, and when I was setting the stone, I had to push the bezel more there at the top to get a good snug fit, and when I pushed the left top side of the bezel over as far as I needed to, it revealed this wire. If I had foreseen this, I would have figured out a different way of soldering the wire to the bezel. Live and learn, right?
As I said, this piece still needs a final polish (and tumble) - if the wire hardens more, I may decide to live with the design. If the wire doesn't harden more, and keeps bending, OR if I just can't accept the way the piece looks at the top of the bezel, I will probably take it apart and redo it.
What do you guys think? I'd love some feedback!