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Author Topic: Pendant making  (Read 1493 times)

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amrap1

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Pendant making
« on: December 04, 2020, 08:32:55 PM »

I though I would try to help other new people and maybe learn something along the way by posting a simple "guide" to making pendants. I am still learning and have a long way to go, but we have to start somewhere. After using 2 tumblers for 2 months with various results, I didn't want to end up with just some pretty stones I didn't know what to do with. I saw people's jewelry here and wanted to do that too. 

I bought a Slant Caber for around $500 instead of a $2500 one and started shaping stones into various shapes just to get used to how different stones ground and polished. I looked into saws to cut rocks and they looked expensive so I was grinding large rocks into smaller ones. I saw a wet tile saw and wondered if that would work. A friend of mine had one and said I could borrow it. Tried cutting rocks but it isn't made for that.

I went to probably the only Gem Show actually held in this Covid crap and met a vendor selling pendants. After a long conversation I knew it was my next step. Buy slabs he said. Start out with cheap ones to get practice and your tile cutter will cut them.  I made a few pendants (some are posted here) and people loved them. Hopefully this will help someone with more talent than me take it to the next level.

The first 2 pictures are the slabs about 1/4 inch thick.
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amrap1

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Re: Pendant making
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2020, 09:08:23 PM »

I forgot to talk about the pendant hardware. They're called "pendant finds". You can find them on Amazon, Ebay and Jewelry Making Websites. They are sold in millimeters. I bought my first batch of 3 sizes, all oval and 10 of each for $19 off Amazon. I only order from US sellers, but I'm sure they are made elsewhere. I started out with simple ones with no outside scroll work. It makes it easier to use the "find" to draw the guide lines on the slab.

The first one I could put on the slant caber and grind the front and back to see what they will hopefully look like when polished. I ground down the uneven edges but it had cracks that I would have to work around. Both sides looked pretty much the same. The second slab would not fit into the cab.

Using the plain oval find, I drew pencil lines to mark out the cut outs and cut generally around them.

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amrap1

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Re: Pendant making
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2020, 09:15:11 PM »

I would have cut more off the stones, but the tile saw is in the garage and it's 38 degrees. You should cut as much as you can safely cut off. Saves the cabber wear! Only had time to work on the two cut out stone. First picture is just the rough cut. I didn't take pictures of all the steps to get to the end.

What looks better...silver or black?

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irockhound

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Re: Pendant making
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2020, 10:48:15 PM »

Black sort of has a gothic feel but both a dark stone and mounting lacks any pop since the stone is dark and the mounting darker and my eye is drawn to the backing.  The contrast between the silver and the dark stone actually highlights the stone
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R.U. Sirius

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Re: Pendant making
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2020, 12:54:13 PM »

I really enjoyed reading through this, as it illustrates the beauty of lapidary arts as a hobby: while there certainly are "ready made" solutions and products, putting it all together is an uncharted territory, and everyone ends up doing it somehow differently. Sure, many of us keep reinventing the wheel, but often there is no one "correct" way of doing things, and all these "wheels" - bits and pieces of equipment and the technique - are unique in some way.

Having said all that, it is a good idea to try and replicate what experienced people do. Like anything else, it takes months or years of hard work to start getting good at it.
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amrap1

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Re: Pendant making
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2020, 12:23:43 AM »

Quote
Black sort of has a gothic feel but both a dark stone and mounting lacks any pop since the stone is dark and the mounting darker and my eye is drawn to the backing.The contrast between the silver and the dark stone actually highlights the stone

I personally agree with what you said and I did an experiment. I took 3 different cut stones (light, medium and darkish) and 3 different finds (Antique Brass, Gold/Brass and Silver) to work. I showed different them to 7 people during our lunch break (in case my boss reads this forum) :LOLOL:  and there were so many opinions that I believe there is no right or wrong combination. There are probably more people that like the contrast though.

Quote
Like anything else, it takes months or years of hard work to start getting good at it.


That's the truth for sure. With so many types of rocks there is no "one way" of polishing a stone to bring out it's beauty. I've had to go back to step one to get high/low spots out and started out aiming for a 40x30 pendant and ended up with a 22x30 a few times. All we see here, and of course, at shows are people's successes. I have a few failures that I saved to remind me that this isn't as easy as some people make it seem.

 
 
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