I am so pleased to finally be able to bring this blog post out! A few months ago I was commissioned to make a pair of sterling silver sapphire earrings as a surprise wedding present to match the recipient's sapphire engagement ring. Now that the wedding is underway, I can spill the beans!
Although it doesn't look too attractive, the process depicted in the first photograph is one of the most important to get right. Mess up the soldering and you may not be able to salvage the project! To make sure the fine chain doesn't melt during the soldering process, it must be covered in a special thermal protection flux paste. This, alongside the fire-scale, is why it is so dirty at this point.
And even though its an extremely dirty process, taking a raw material and forming it into something like this is very exciting. Here they are, soldered and read to be cleaned.
After a short bath in a pickling solution, they came out free of firescale, but pale and dull. Now for my favourite part - the polishing!
Again, the polishing process can be extremely dirty with the use of compounds, but it brings out the most amazing shine on silver.
After the polishing process, the sapphires are ready to be set!
And with a little encouragement (or brute force!) they went in. Prong settings are perfect for showcasing the entire stone, and this was especially important in this project as the sapphires were beautiful. Although slightly darker than the typical bright blue sapphires we are all accustomed to (in order to match the bride's engagement ring), the open backed setting allows for light to shine through the stone, giving off an amazing colour!
Just some simple earwires to finish them off. Voilà!
Congratulations Alex & Christine!