Saturday, April 24, 2010

When snow turns to sludge!

I bought some fabulous Agate Drusy cabs and decided to set one in a ring. I didn't want anything fancy - just a nice simple bezel type setting.
As you can see below, that's what I made - all went well with the metal work, making the bezel setting and all that - here's the finished ring.......

Actually though, it all went pear shaped at the last minute.
The stone started off as a lovely snow white, frosty, sugary WHITE stone. By the time I finished it was a GRAY! My snow had turned to sludge!

Here's what happened - The stone was straight sided so I couldn't set the bezel in the traditional way of pushing it over the stone. I decided to use 2 part epoxy. I had done some research (um, web surfing) and discovered that the use of glue to set stones is frowned upon in many jewellery circles -Warning: please turn away now if that's you ;) - but as I didn't want to do other fancy settings, it was my only option.
So, I carefully selected a top of the range Ultra clear epoxy - (8 mls for $9.40 - hey, that's only the equivalent of $1175 a litre - it should do the job - argh!!)

Meanwhile, the white stone against the polished silver looked a little bland, so I oxidised the ring with Liver of Sulfur to get a bit of contrast. I did this before setting the stone so I wouldn't discolour it (Ha Ha - that's ironic!). I gave the inside of the setting a quick sand to remove the oxidisation there and later on I glued the stone in and set it aside.
On checking it later, I was shocked to find my white stone had turned gray.

I'm thinking that I mustn't have removed all the oxidisation properly inside the setting and a chemical reaction of some kind occurred that caused the remaining oxidisation & the epoxy to be absorbed into the porous stone. Any metalworkers or lapidary people out there who can shed some light on it? All suggestions and theories welcome as I still want to make myself one of these rings with my remaining stones and I'd like the stone to stay white next time!

The story does have a happy ending though. My stockist liked the monochromatic purple/gray shades of the finished ring anyway and happily took it to put in her shop. Pin It