Part 2 of the Tapered Rectangle Earring Tutorial
Let’s finish this earring project we started yesterday. When I left off, we created the design and cut the pilot hole for the stones we are going to Gypsy Set or Flush Set into the flat earrings, so let’s dive it:
These are the tools I am using to cut the seats and set the stones: a 0.9mm Twist Drill Bit to drill the pilot hole, a 1.3mm Twist Drill Bit (65% of the stone size) a 1.8mm Bud Bur, and a 2.0mm Hart Setting Bur. All these tools are available at JewelryMonk.com/tools at a discounted price. Also a burnishing tool I will show you how to prepare later.
First I drilled the earrings with the 0.9mm Twist Drill Bit as a pilot hole, then finished it off with a 1.3mm Twist Drill Bit, which is 65% of the total stone size. I like to have my “Through Hole” for settings between 60%-70% of the stone size. After the hole is drilled, I prepare the setting with a 1.8mm Bud Bur, which is about 90% of the total stone width. This helps the stone to seat better. Some stones are cut with a thicker bottom, and this will help with stone variance.
The width or size of the stone is important to know, but also be aware of the thickness of the girdle of the stone, or the side area. This will determine how deep to drill your seat for the stone. This stone has a little thicker girdle, so I have to drill a little deeper than normal. I used a 2.0mm Hart Setting Bur to do this. You want to drill the stone seat so that there is a little metal between the top of the girdle and the top of the piece. You want the table (or top) of the stone to be at the same level as the surface of the metal.
Now that I have the stones ready to set, I will finish assembling the earrings. I mark the back of the pieces where I want the earring post to be attached. I mark them so they are the same from side to side. Just a small make is needed, which will be covered up by the head of the earring post and the solder. Next I clean the piece well and get ready to solder.
After the pieces are clean, I dip them into a mixture of Denatured Alcohol and Boric Acid Powder, this helps to prevent fire scale. I add just a little dot of Handy Flux to the area where the solder will go. I also add just a dot of flux to the head of the earring post and pick up a small piece of Medium Silver Solder (cut from a sheet). You can see not much is needed. Since the earring is thicker and heavier than the earring post, during soldering I focus the majority of the heat from the torch to this area. This prevents melting the post. I solder, then pickle to remove any fire scale and the left over glazed flux.
After getting the pieces out of the pickle, I bench polish the piece to take care of any small scratches or imperfections before setting the stones. I also want to polish the top and refine the beveled edge on this design, and the Hard Felt Wheel works great for this. I use a Knife Edge Hard Felt Wheel on the back, to get close to the post without bending it.
Another added feature I like to do is take my Hart Setting Bur and clean up the hole on the back side of the setting, This looks cleaner and more uniform when it is polished. I usually just put the bur in the hole and turn it with my fingers, (no foredom) It doesn’t take much to clean this out.
To support the earring during setting, I drilled a hole in my bench pin with a 1.0mm Twist Drill for the earring post to fit into. This keeps it from bending and helps to use the back of the earring as support during the setting process.
The burnishing tool I use to set the stone is one I made. I took an old dull ball bur, probably around 1.0mm and cut or broke off the end. I sanded the edge round with a Snap On Sanding Disc and polished it by rubbing it back and forth on a piece of paper loaded with Yellow Rouge. I use a small flat piece of glass or plexiglass under the paper, and rub the rough across the paper to prepare it, then keep rubbing the burnisher until it has a high shine.
FINALLY, it is time to set the stone! I place the polished burnisher at the intersection of the stone and metal and in a circular motion, with the burnisher at about a 10 degree angle, I mold the metal edge slightly over the edge of the stone. You will be surprised how little metal it takes to hold the stone in place.
To see this process, I have attached a Video of this setting process, it is about 7 minutes long, but goes into more detail about the setting process. Click the link below:
After the stone is set, I give it a light polish on my polishing machine, clean it in the ultrasonic, and it is all finished!
I truly hope this helps you to understand this process. Like most things, the more you practice, the more familiar and better you will get. At least you now know the “Mechanics” behind the art of Gypsy/Flush Setting.
Again, the majority of the tools used in this tutorial are available at a discounted price at JewelryMonk.com/tools
And remember, if you are not subscribed HERE, you might miss out on some really cool jewelry stuff.
Thanks for stopping by. Now…… Go Make Something Shiny!