Look, Ma, I didnt melt anything!

I love it when an idea pops in my head, and then I get all excited about it.

I love it even more when I make it, and it actually comes close to what was in my head.

Last year I got an awesome carved amber sun face from my friend Keith (His shop is here – check it out, he’s got really cool stuff). It was one of those I HAVE TO HAVE THIS NAO moments, even though I wasn’t ready to do anything with it.

Of course, when I was in the middle of a custom project, I had The Idea.

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Here’s what I did to get the idea off the page.

I cut a round-ish piece of 22 gauge sterling (and let me tell you, it was HARD to not go and make it perfectly round), made a bezel to hold the stone, and soldered the two together. Then I took an old file and a hammer and made all the “rays”.

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As you can see, it got ALL bent out of shape – it took a lot of hammering and shaping with my nylon pliers to get it to lie flat again. The rays all done, with the amber sun next to it:

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Next, it was time to make all the little silver balls. A cool way to do this is take a round diamond bit and drill a whole bunch of holes in a charcoal block, then snip lengths of silver wire and brush them generously with flux. Take a torch to it, and POOF! the silver bits ball up. Pretty damn cool.

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Then it was a matter of put all the little balls on there, curse when they’d roll off and land on the floor, put them back on again, and rinse and repeat until I had them all where I wanted them. In the interest of sanity I applied a little Krazy Glue (CA glue) to keep everything in place, since the CA burns off during soldering.

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Successful soldering! Next was to shine it up and put a little patina on it to add some lights and darks. I use liver of sulfur, which makes the silver a soft gray-black. Stinks up the studio, but it’s a nice easy patina. Of course I forgot to take a picture of that part – imagine it in your head, okay?

After the gray was dark enough, I dried it off and then gave it a final polish, careful to not go too hard against all the nooks and crannies. And, ta-da!

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I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. This little adventure has made start rooting through my “Stone Drawer” for more stone-setting projects!

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