Craftsman of the Month
December's Craftsman of the Month, Ronnie Rutledge, has been a lapidary and jewelry hobbyist for about eight years. He created this anklet out of sterling silver sheet and garnet cabs.
"I first made a rough sketch," Rutledge said, "to determine how many links I would have to use and how long they would have to be in order to make a 10-1/2-inch-long anklet. I cut a strip of 18-gauge sterling silver sheet 9 mm wide, and then cut 22 mm-long links from that. Any length and width will work. I then punched holes in each end for the connecting jump rings and stamped a simple design on each link."
"Next, I soldered my bezel cups onto the links to hold the stones."
"Then I cut 5 mm-wide and 10 mm-long spacers from 18-gauge sheet. I cut notches in them for design, and punched holes in the ends for the jump rings. The next step was to make the connecting jump rings. I made them from square 1.5 mm wire. I cut each wire to 16 mm in length, squared up the ends so they would take solder, then rolled them with my round-nose pliers, leaving a gap for assembly. I then connected a link and spacer together with a jump ring, closed the ring the rest of the way, and soldered it."
"I continued connecting and soldering till all the links were together. The next step before mounting the stones was to remove some of the fire scale from the soldering process. For this, I used my flex shaft tool with a small wire brush. I've found that the wire brush makes removing fire scale less work, but be careful not to brush too long as it will distort your metal surface quickly."
"I mounted my stones in the bezel cups using Gordon's 527 Jewelry Cement. The last step, which you can do with the stones in place if you watch the heat, is to polish the anklet. I used an 8-inch muslin buff on an arbor, mounted on a one-quarter horsepower motor. You must be very careful any time you polish a chain of any kind with a wheel, as it can hang up in the strings and lash at your hands. It won't do the chain any good, either."
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