Blog Archives

Update

OK, things don’t go to plan. The 3rd installment of how to clean jewelry has video problems, as in–it sucks. The plan was to do it over, but the weather wasn’t cooperating so my daughter could get in to do the filming. Believe me, it’ll be worth the wait, okay?

There was the usual Christmas rush and my usual “I don’t want to see a piece of metal or a stone for a month!” I’m over it now.

I do my usual slow period stuff, redo the website (that’s the Metals and Gems one), do the taxes, sketch a lot and do my pretty stuff that makes my heart sing. Like the one above, which is a doublecut decahedron (that’s 12 sides) buff top almost orange yummy citrine. I think it’s about 13 carats. Oh, and it’s what passes as spring here in Wyoming, so I’m busy with planting.

Soon, I’ll be migrating the blog over to WordPress, because it has a lot more options and is easier for people reading it to navigate. Yet another thing I have to learn. Good for the brain cells, right?

I had a big arthritis flare, unable to use my hands much and couldn’t sit because of the hip. The medicine the rheumatologist put me on is pretty rough on the system too. Did you know they use chemotherapy drugs for advanced arthritis? I have a whole new respect for people going through chemotherapy–they take a lot more than I do! I feel like a pathetic wuss.

My husband is working hard on the room that will become my studio. He’s put down a tile floor and painted the walls. There’s much more to be done–wiring, ceiling, finish framing the windows, cabinets–and then the big stuff–moving all the equipment in and finding new places for everything. It’s gonna be a great place!

Most of my new work has already been placed in galleries, but I’ll be showing you some of my upcoming pieces as shot off the bench.

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Making Jewelry Storybook–Baroque Ammolite Pendant

A lapidary from Canada gave me some gorgeous free form (baroque) ammolite for some help I had given to him on making a concha repousse’ die. There are only a few places in the world that have ammolite. Ammolite is the opalized form of ammonite. Ammonite is the fossilized form of a cephalopod of the Cretaceous period. They looked very much like a nautilus. The opalization occurs mostly in the greens and reds, but occasional flashes of bright cobalt blue are also visible.

The one I chose to work with was a large piece. I wanted to make a setting that was in keeping with the ancient properties of the ammolite, and I wanted something to bring out the color, and balance the shape.

After sketching out the basic idea, I began playing with some things that might accomplish this.

What I started with

I chose some pine needle castings for their strong linear forms and some chrome diopsides in various hues to accent the green in the ammolite. I had to make some tube settings by soldering together some telescoping tubing since I didn’t have the right size of tubing.

Taking shape!

Here you see the tubing soldered together and cut into settings, ready for the seats for the stones’ girdles to be cut. I’ve arranged the pieces loosely to approximate how the final setting will look.

Ta-da!
Here’s the finished piece that I’ve put on my Etsy website. Gorgeous, isn’t it? This is why I like working with pretty stones.

Thanks for the stones Gerry–they are absolutely lovely! (And I still think I got the better part of the deal.)
If you’ve enjoyed the step-by-step story of how a piece of jewelry is made, look for similar stories in the “Making Jewelry Storybook” sections.

Copyright 2011 by Katherine Palochak