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


Anonymous said...

oh wow. I will have to go in and have a look at it because I saw the stone before you set it... I wonder if it was the glue also acting as an extension of the facet? maybe it you add some white pigment to the glue? I have some... you are welcome, I just have to find it :-)
I love it to!

GetSilvered said...

Anon, That you Jane? Thanks, I was considering dripping bleach into the top of the stone to see if that would take the gray out, but E. liked it and took the ring anyway so I didn't need to experiment.
Next one I'll set before I oxidise.

Belinda Saville said...

Pam, is the ring you wanted to show us at lunch on Saturday? It's really beautiful, despite the epoxy leeching into the stone! It was great to meet you on Saturday and see your stunning creations in person. Look forward to the next meet! Regards, Belinda

GetSilvered said...

Hi Belinda, Thanks, It was great to meet you too! I'm in awe of your wonderful bead weaving! Saturday was fun - didn't manage to make any Beading Forum meet ups last year so it was great to get to this one and catch up with you all.

Yes, this is the ring! I found it on the bed when I got home! At least I hadn't lost it :)

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking try putting some of the epoxy on just some silver and see if there's a reaction. If not, perhaps try sealing the back of the druzy with a clear lacquer that doesn't react with epoxy to keep any possible reaction between glue and stone from happening. I too don't like using glue to set stones, but sometimes you've gotta do what you've gotta do. :o) Love the ring.

GetSilvered said...

Thanks for visiting, and the compliment and advice justmakeamess.
I've still got another similar stone so I'll try out your ideas when I do something with it.