Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Step 2: Great...we have the design, so now we gather the wires in all the gauges (sizes) and tempers (soft, half-hard- or hard). Also, if there are to be accent stones, we need to decide which ones would look best with the design. After all necessary supplies are gathered,we will measure for the length of our first set of wires. We then clean and straighten the wire by drawing one piece at at time through a cleaning cloth...then we will line up the first set of wires to be bound together. These wires are the wires that will hold the main stone.

I am going to give you an example of the remaining steps of a border wrapped stone as in the picture above... After the wires are bound together, we will remeasure for any side bindings...mark and then bind. Then, the wires are bent toward the center in a pattern of your choosing on the front and back sides. These bends hold the stone in securely. You should use half-hard wire in this area of the wrap, or you can twist square soft wire. Twisting the soft wire will make it become half-hard. The stone is placed (centered)over the first binding and the sides are bent up to cradle the stone. The wires on the sides are bent out and then pulled together at the bends. It is very important to line them up exactly. When they are all fitting together nicely, I will tape them together at the top...and then wrap them together...pause...take the back wires and form them into a bail by bending them over a small dowel...resume wrapping all the wires together. Then we will trim off the excess wire in the back that forms the bail...file smooth and bend neatly under.

The stone is now securely set. We aren't finished yet! Now our design kicks in further. The top wires in front of the bail will now be formed into what ever design you desire. You can simply pull them all down to rest on the sides of the binding wires...cut them level...and then file smooth (men like this design)...or you can curl them...wrap each one with tiny wire and bind one to the other with gemstones (or not)...When you have the piece designed just the way you want, you check for any rough spots. All smooth? Great...let's continue.

Now we will place the piece in a tumbler and tumble for an hour to 3 hours. This is not possible with all stones, so some items are totally hand polished. Hand polishing is extremely time consuming and gives your arms and fingers a real work out. *smile*