How to Make Sterling Silver and Gem Flower Jewelry
Materials and Tools:
22-gauge sterling silver sheet
extra fine point Sharpie
silver solder (easy, medium and hard)
genuine semiprecious stones
an object with a sharp point (an old compass)
* The acid compound in a crock-pot to clean the silver once it has been fired.
1. Start with a piece of 22-gauge sterling silver "dead soft" sheet at least 2-1/2 inches wide and no more than 3-1/2 inches long. Put one strip of masking tape across the 2-1/2-inch-wide side.
2. Across the tape, using the end of the silver as your bottom, draw a freehand circle approximately 6-1/2 mm round. Draw six separate petals. When you are done they should all be in a row and not resemble a flower yet.
3. Cut out the images with the saw. When done with all seven pieces, set aside the rest of the silver and the saw. Remove the masking tape from each piece.
4. File all seven pieces, rounding out irregular spots and smoothing them. Rub the flat sides of each piece briefly on sandpaper.
5. Put flux on the round piece using a little paintbrush. Put six pieces of hard solder evenly around the piece on top of the flux. Place the flame of the micro torch on the piece until you begin to see the solder "sweat." Turn off the torch.
6. Place the petals on the round piece, on top of the solder (now it should look like a flower). Fire it again with the torch, until the solder melts and the petals settle down onto the round piece.
7. Put this bigger piece in the pickle. After a few minutes, using only copper tongs, remove the piece and immerse it in clean water to rinse off the pickle solution.
8. Take a small square of 220-grade sandpaper and begin smoothing out the edges of the flower. Use sand paper on the front and back, too.
9. Flatten one side of a small jump ring. Turn the flower over so that you see the back of it, but solder on only one petal. Put one piece of medium solder on that petal. Place the torch on the petal with the solder until it sweats. Then use the wooden-handled tweezers to place the jump ring on the solder and fire it some more until it melts and affixes the ring to the flower. Then put it back in the pickle.
10. While in the pickle, take a small piece of 180-grade sandpaper and sand down the 6mm bezel cup so that the walls of the cup are fairly low.
11. Take the flower out of the pickle, clean it off in water, and put flux on the front of the round piece.
12. Put one piece of easy solder on the round piece and fire until it sweats. Put the 6mm bezel cup on the solder and fire until it settles onto the piece. Put the flower in the pickle. After a minute or two, take it out, clean it in water and dry.
13. Use the brass brush to shine up the silver. Take a sharp object (like a nail) to crosshatch the inside of the bezel cup.
14. Mix the two-part epoxy with a toothpick. Use the toothpick with just a dab of epoxy on it and put the glue in the bezel cup. Set a 6mm stone in the cup. Wait 20 minutes to dry.
15. Burnish the bezel cup edges to "hug" the stone.