Diploma in Fine Jewellery - Advanced Stone Setting in Wax, Term 2, Weeks 1 & 2

The start of term 2 was relatively easy for me, but it took me a while to get started. A combination of January blues / burnout from the busiest two months of the year (November and December) had me feeling like I just needed a break. Ordinarily I’d go to London for Christmas and stay a few weeks into January which would be a nice break and usually what I need to ground myself. I find that if I don’t go back for 6-8 months, I start to feel “off”. I hadn’t been back since June, so I was definitely in need of some British home time. Anyway, due to Omicron the trip was postponed to March.

So, back to the diploma, there were three projects, one of which wasn’t for marking, so I didn’t do it, but I will give it a go. Especially as I have access to the course for life. One of the projects was pavé and the other channel setting. I’ve used wax many times before in my creations, so I’m pretty comfortable with carving, forming, sanding etc. I created a domed teardrop pendant for my pavé, I needed to use at least six stones for this project. Once I’d carved the pendant, I marked out where each stone needed to go, and made sure they were symmetrically placed (or as best I could), I then drilled holes where the stones needed to be and then burred out the seats. Because my pendant was domed, I had drill at a slight angle, not much of a problem, until you look at the back and all the holes the were drilled through are somewhat higgledepiggedly (technical jewelry term!

Pavé Stone Setting in Wax

I then drilled using the setting bur to create the seats for the stones, making sure I had drilled far enough down that the stones were flush with the surface of the wax. I then needed to place balls of wax halfway over the stone and halfway on the wax, this will make it look like pavé. To create the balls, I used a thread burner, it’s a very useful tool, I use it to resize wax rings that I send to my casters. Using the filed shavings of wax from filing the pendant, I turned on the heat of the thread burner to pick up a small amount of the shavings and dropped them on the piece. They came out well, mostly a uniform size and not too big that they cover up the stones.

Advanced Stone Setting in Wax

Next up was the channel setting piece. I chose to make a ring using 5 stones. I had one failed attempt, I filed away too much of the head of the ring so the culet of the stones were poking through the back, a big no no for rings, no one wants a pointy stone digging into their fingers!

Advanced Stone Setting in Wax

So I started again, this time I made sure the head was taller! I needed to use the setting but to drill the seat all across on both sides, making sure the stones were slightly lower than the surface of the wax this time, this was so that I could place more wax on top, to secure them in place. When cast, the metal will cover part of the stones.

Advanced Stone Setting in Wax  Advanced Stone Setting in Wax

Both pieces needed to be sanded down before setting the stones, so that they’re ready to cast. I need to send in the waxes for marking. I may take them to my casters when I get them back, it will be interesting to see how they turn out in silver.

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