Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday is My Fun Day- Labradorite Ring

Here's some of what I'm working on- A double layered ring with a Labradorite cabachon.

I love Labradorite! (Think 'Labrador retriever', then add 'ite' to the end.) Such a pretty stone- I love the fire within it. Rather like an opal or Tiger's Eye. Like Tiger's Eye, Labradorite's fire is caused by natural Asbestos within the stone. Isn't that cool?

I wish I had a picture that truly showed the magnificent fire within the stone- None of these shots come close.

The first thing I did was make the inner layer of the ring. I cut it, filed it, and soldered it together.

Then I made the outer layer. Same process- I cut it, filed it, and soldered it. Then I decided to forge (or hammer) it. I love hammering! I love how it gives the silver a faceted surface that shines and shines. I got to just pound away at that layer. I left the surface where I planned to attach the stone un-forged and flat so that it would solder together more easily (learned that trick from my hoop butterflies!)

Here's where the first problem happened- I had made the outer layer a bit bigger than I thought. When I hammered it, it stretched the metal and made the ring about half a size bigger.
So to get them together, I had to stretch the inner ring a bit and squash the outer layer. And I'm so glad that happened!
I LOVE the domed affect it gave the two rings.
I had to keep the inner ring level while I squashed the outer ring so that they would fit together. But then, the way they fit together, I didn't even have to solder them together. The two layers fit perfectly together, with the inner one actually cupped by the outer one.

The domed surface of the ring band looks really cool, and gives the ring a heavier look. So I'm actually very happy about my mistake!
Then I started working on the bezel for the cabachon- (the 'cabachon' is the stone that's been cut and prepared to use in metal-smithing. The bezel is the metal that holds the stone snug.)
And this is where my second problem occurred. I had originally intended to use a Tiger's Eye cab from my dad's metal-smithing stash. And either somebody brushed it off my desk, or took it, or it magically went abracadabra...

However it happened, my Tiger's Eye cab went missing after I had already started working on the bezel.
In fact, I had measured and created the bezel specifically for that Tiger's Eye cab, and it was gone. Which made me just about cry- I didn't realize how much I wanted to use my Daddy's cab until it was gone.
Beth graciously offered the Labradorite, but the bezel was a little too small. We worked with it, stretched it, and shoved the Labradorite cab into the bezel. So it doesn't quite fit, but it works.
After preparing the bezel, I soldered it onto the ring. Not perfectly. But solidly.

I'm actually really happy with the ring. It's an excellent ring for a first time, and the beautiful Labradorite covers up most of my mistakes.

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