My completed labradorite ring in a rub over setting
I’ve experienced frustration with a simple project not going as planned and I know I should heed my own advice: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Sometimes you experience draw backs to your projects, but when the etched filigree cuff went so well, I think I started gaining such confidence in my own abilities that I thought the ring with my set labradorite project would go just as smoothly. I have to remind myself that soldering is a tricky job, especially when you’re heating 3 separate joins before you even join the ring and setting together.
The journey of the ring starts here. The first step was shaping the bezel setting around the stone to make sure it’s a good fit, but not too tight. You want the stone to be able to slip out if any adjustments need to be made before it’s set in stone (excuse the pun). You also need to make sure your base piece has a wide enough surface for the bezel setting and the stone to sit comfortably. Always check the fit (as you would with any dressmaking project) before going on to the next step.
Checking the sizing and fit for my setting
The next stage after soldering your bezel strip is to then solder this to the base piece. If you’re making a ring, shape and solder the ring separately. Don’t forget to put your pieces in the pickle after every soldering attempt (successful or failed) before you continue!
My ring pieces after sitting in the pickle
You can see on the ring there’s a flat side to the ring shank. After it was in the pickle, I had filed one edge flat so the flat base of the setting would have a surface to solder onto. It took a good few tries only because the ring shank wouldn’t sit nicely on the upside down setting. I had to use a third hand with reversible tweezers to hold the ring shank in place while I soldered the join.
Once you’re happy that the setting and ring shank have been soldered on properly, start filing and polishing before you set your stone. It’s hard to do much polishing and cleaning up joins once the stone is set. Don’t forget that with a rub over stone setting the top part of the bezel strip gets pushed over the stone to hold it in place, so you’ll most likely experience difficulty cleaning up those hard to reach places.
With the ring in a ring clamp, place your stone in the setting and working on opposite ends, use a pusher and starting at 12:00 (or N on a compass), push the top edge of the bezel at a 45° angle. As you’re working at opposite ends, work on 6:00 next (S on the compass). Then 3:00 (E) and lastly 9:00(W). Once the 4 corners are a tight fit against the stone (you can try gently pushing on the stone to see if there’s any give), work on the remaining 4 edges (2:00, 4:00, 8:00 and 10:00 or NE, SE, SW and NW). Slowly work on the edges that haven’t been contoured to the shape of the stone until it’s all smooth.
Working on setting my labradorite cabochon into my ring setting
Once you’ve got a snug fit and you’re happy that your stone won’t move, work along the top edge of the bezel strip and at a 15° angle using the same opposite ends technique you used on holding the stone in the setting, gently but firmly (you don’t want to push too hard, otherwise you could be moving the pieces on your setting too much and break the soldered joins or scratch your gemstone) smooth the edges over the widest edge of the stone.
Keep working at it until you’re happy.
My finished labradorite ring. I have to say, the main inspiration behind it was to create something personal and individual to suit my style, but to also pay an homage to the ring worn by a character in my favourite series, Twilight series: If you’re at all familiar with the books you guessed right, Bella’s moonstone ring.
Source:Inside Bella’s Closet
It’s not an exact replica and it’s not meant to be, I prefer the style I’ve got and the shape of the stone as it suits my own preference for colour and style. It definitely wasn’t an easy process, making the ring itself. I thought with all things considered I would be able to finish the ring in one 2-hour class, but instead ended up spending 3 classes and some time at home to get it done – that means 7.5 hours spent on making the ring I’m now wearing!
It’s not put me off making more though, and already I have 2 more I’ve got in mind to work on next and have already received a custom order query for a third one to be made.
Have you made any pieces using the rub over stone setting? Got any photos you want to share of your own creations?