Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mojave Turquoise Pendant

I have decided to take a break from beadweaving for awhile, and get back to working with metal!

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!

12 comments: said...

That is one sweep pendant ! I love those colors and nice design I love it said...

Ok I was so overwhelm by the beauty I didn't finish reading till after I wrote my very love that pendant

If you do take apart - instead of wire cut a thicker flatter piece that from the side is thin but wide to give more stability (maybe even be part of the one side of the bezel? I might be thinking to much on this

I totally love the design and the work you did on it is beautiful and I never even noticed the wire at the top till you mentioned it

Sweet Freedom said...

Thanks, Deb - I have been mulling over a few options ever since I mounted the cabochon yesterday and discovered the issue. Knowing my OCD tendencies, it is probably going to get redone. LOL

Christine Altmiller said...

GORgeous!!! Absolutely! The design is wonderful and so are the colors. I can kind of see what flaws you pointed out. I am sure in person, to you, they are more pronounced. Fingers crossed the wire hardens a bit more. If you don't want to take it all apart, you can keep it for yourself since you know the extra TLC it would need. But the design~just great!

dreaminofbeads / SAS Jewelry Designs said...


dreaminofbeads / SAS Jewelry Designs said...

Wow said...

That is one sweet stone
and your design really brings out the colours
I cant stop looking at it

Sweet Freedom said...

Thanks, Deb - you are too funny!

I have already figured out how to improve upon the design execution, and fix the issue. Just wish it was something I could do without starting over, but it isn't. :(

That cab is REALLY set in the bezel - so I will struggle to free it, but that is a task for next week!

Karen Williams said...

What a fascinating piece! I made a silver bezel once, in a class and swore never again (my cab was a freeform piece too). I have to say I love your process photos and your frank discussion of what did and didn't work.

Your finished piece has a wonderfully clean, contemporary feel.

Sweet Freedom said...

Thanks, Karen - stay tuned! I'm going to start over on this one on Tuesday, and the do-over will be even better! said...

I cant wait to see it again and again
I keep coming back - I totally love it

Sweet Freedom said...

The re-do has been put on hold for a few days - I forgot about a challenge I entered, that's due in a few days - I remembered when I got to the store yesterday, and had an *Oh, crap* moment - gotta buckle down and concentrate on that right now! But this is next on the docket!