Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Airing some laundry… January 23, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 10:39 am

Am I trying to be too cute with my blog titles?  Hmmm….

What I’m alluding to are some things in my jewelry making that need to see the light of day.  These have been tucked away for awhile, partly because they show just how much I need to learn to bring my skills to a new level.

Two bezel settings are first up. These are from a jewelry class that ended last spring. I am self aware enough to know that there are some big problems with them, especially in the finishing department. Having reenrolled in two session for this spring, my goals are to used these two pieces to really work on filing, sanding, and polishing.  They still won’t be up to snuff because of some soldering boo-boos, but they can still serve as practice pieces. There are a few “waves and knicks” in the bezel edge on the coral piece and the decorative beading on the Czech glass piece is not butted up to the bezel in places. And a little blob of too much solder on the right side of the bail.  A date with the sanding wheel is in its future!

 I have a gorgeous labradorite cabochon waiting in the wings, so I want to be more skilled when I tackle that one.


two bezels


I show you the back so you can see what lies ahead…all those scratches! Can I get these to a mirror finish?

 We shall see…


two bezel backs


Next up is my first effort with a prong setting…

After watching a video, I thought “Well, that looks pretty easy and within my skill set”. But as sometimes happens, instead of starting with a simple project, my brain takes on grandiose plans with something I’ve never actually tried before.  Does that ever happen to you?  I do this with recipes I’ve never made before too.  Adding ingredients, or worse yet…substituting ingredients because I want to make it NOW and don’t exactly have the right things in my pantry.

While at a local bead shop, I honestly did look for a simple cabochon to try out prong setting.  When what to my wandering eyes should appear…but a big tray of these gorgeous Lapis Lazuli carved beads.

And there it begins…


carved lapis



I already had a small stash of these Tibetan beads I’d been saving for “the perfect project”.

In my head, I see a beautifully finished chain of polished, hammered sterling rings and these lovely colored stone beads. Oh, yeah!


carved lapis and beads


Here was the plan…following the video tutorial from Beaducation, make a base from 16 gauge sterling wire.

Easy. Check.

Mark out the placement of the prongs, cut pieces from 18 gauge wire, and solder into place.



prong set 1


prong set 2


Check…uh…these prongs were looking way too flimsy  for this stone. My class teacher suggested one option of bending each prong into a U shape.  Good thing I had cut the wire extra long. Maybe a possibility.  Or cut them off, file and sand the base smooth again and cut the prongs from 16 gauge wire.

Also need to solder a U shaped bail at the top.


prong set 3


So, what to do?  Not sure yet…still thinking.  Stay tuned…




4 Responses to “Airing some laundry…”

  1. debra freeland Says:

    You are way too hard on yourself!!! I love the imperfections because then it is truly “handmade” . Always love your inspirations and your recipes too!!

    • Ha! That’s for the vote of confidence, Debra! Glad you enjoy some of my musings. And I just got my copy of a book called the Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Browne in the mail today. Timely, indeed!

  2. Ah! But ’tis not the end, but the journey… All of your projects really do look promising! (Much much better than a few of my scrapped ones…) And that last prong setting isn’t too impossible to do again in 16 gauge: not very much silver would be scrapped if you decide to start all anew — you could do some more melted balls… (I would re-do with 16 gauge, but it’s your decision 🙂 ).
    Do try for a mirror finish, so you know how to do it. But I found that my iron-silver bangles looked best with a matte finish, to bring out the white in the silver: the mirror finish can be disappointingly dark in some designs. Anyway, my teacher told me it’s best to first get a mirror finish, to ensure there are no deep scratches and imperfections, and then matte that down. Depends on the piece, of course (wouldn’t make much difference to my bangles…).
    Looking at those first settings, I just think it’s good I’ve finally found sanding and polishing tools that WORK — that is a part where your tools really can make a huge difference! And they don’t even need to be expensive, just the RIGHT ones 🙂
    Good luck!

    • Morning, Monica! Thanks for sharing your “learnings” from your teacher and experiences. Always encouraging! And I’m looking forward to making friends with the necessary tool
      in my classes this session.

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