Saturday, February 23, 2008

Welcome to jasperpoppies!

This is a great little pendant I finished not too long ago, a pendant made of Jasper that I collected not to far from my home in San Jose, Ca. I love Jasper, which is great, because I live very close to the small town of Morgan Hill which is home to some really gorgeous Jasper.

To start the pendant, I cut a ¼” slab from a piece of rough material. After I found the area of the slab that I wanted to use, with a pencil, I drew the shape that I wanted to cut out. In this case it’s an oval that measures ¾” tall by 1” wide. Then it’s time to cut the stone into a rough shape of an oval using a diamond trim saw. After I achieved the rough shape that I wanted, I used a two hundred grit diamond router to smooth out the oval and put a small chamfer on the edge of each side of the stone.

I used a 2mm diamond core drill bit to drill through the stone to accommodate the headpin. I have found it works best to submerge the entire stone under water while drilling, to keep the drill cool and lubricated. This will greatly improve the life of your drill bit. The faster your drill speed, the better you will be able to cut through the stone. I recommend using short strokes to help keep your drill lubricated.

After I reached this point I decided to put the pendant in a small tumbler to give it a really nice polish. I skipped the rough grit phases of the process because at this point the piece was fairly smooth. I tumbled the piece for a few days with a 500 grit slurry, and then a few more days with a polish of tin oxide.

For the wire bail and curly headpin I used 18gauge medium-hard Sterling Silver wire. First I curled the bottom of the wire with round nose pliers and then fed it through the stone. You can add your own creative twist to this part of the piece. Once the wire is through the stone, simply create a loop at the top and wrap the remaining wire around the loop 2 or 3 times.

In each piece of jewelry I make, I keep the wire work simple, so that the focus is on the stone. I am really happy with the way this piece turned out.