Turquoise Money Clip
Kendra Roberts embellishes a regular money clip with turquoise and purple stones.
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Materials and Tools:
6" 10- to 12-gauge sterling silver square wire
pre-made sterling silver money clip
several slabs of turquoise (or shell or tile)
5-minute epoxy resin
wood skewer stirring stick
safety glasses and dust mask
lapidary unit with diamond wheels
trim saw with 6" diamond blade
acetylene tank with large torch tip
grinding machine with buffing wheel
toothbrush and toothpaste
1. Measure the top of a money clip and cut four separate pieces of 10-12 gauge square sterling wire slightly smaller than the measurements of the money clip to create a channel to hold the stones. Use a jeweler's saw to cut the wire. File the cut ends.
2. Set the wires up as a rectangle on a ceramic block, place a small piece of silver solder on each of the four corners and with a small paintbrush, apply flux to the entire piece. Turn on the torch, move the flame over the entire piece evenly to melt the solder and create the rectangle.
4. Place the rectangle directly on top of the money clip. Place several pieces of silver solder on the inside of the rectangle. Apply flux to the entire piece. Turn on the torch and move the flame around the outside of the rectangle so the solder flows from the inside out. The wire rectangle will be soldered to the top of the money clip.
5. Quench the entire piece in water. Place the clip in a warm crock-pot full of pickle solution to clean off the flux residue.
6. Choose the rough stones to fit inside the rectangle, in this case purple and blue turquoise. Rough cut two purple stones and three blue turquoise stones with a wet diamond blade trim saw. Wear protective eyewear and a dust mask.
7. Grind the stone pieces to the final size (to fit the mosaic design into the rectangle shape) on a lapidary unit using several different wheels for grinding from coarse to fine. Protective eyewear and dust mask are needed for this entire process as well.
8. Place each stone into the channel butting them together so that they will all fit together precisely.
9. Remove the stones from the channel. Mix two-part epoxy resin according to manufacturer's directions. Mix in charcoal or colored pastel into the epoxy to add color.
10. Apply the epoxy to the channel filling it halfway to the top. Place each stone into the channel, making sure to get the resin between each stone. Scrape away excess resin that spills out of the top when all stones are in place. Let dry for 20 minutes.
11. Polish all surfaces of the stones in the money clip on the lapidary machine. Start with the coarse wheel and move to the fine wheel. Wear protective eyewear and a dust mask.
12. The surface of the stones becomes progressively more shiny.
13. Using a rotary tool and several rough to fine sanding/buffing wheels, go over every surface of the surrounding metal until it is polished to a high finish shine. Wear protective eyewear and a dust mask.
14. Give the turquoise money clip a final polish with a buffing wheel. Clean the metal with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Kendra Roberts lives a full New York City life, working as a research analyst assistant for a financial firm and a part-time model. But she still finds time for her passion — rocks! She collects all sorts of rocks and semi-precious stones from everywhere she travels, and has plenty of power tools and grinders in her apartment to feed her need. She says, "It's messy, it's dirty, it's hard on the nails, but I love it!"
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