Daily Wire Tip: Shining Gemstones

By on February 24, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip

Question:

How do you get that perfect mirror shine on your focal gemstones?

Answer:

As I am not sure which type of stone you mean, cabochon or faceted, I’ll give a general answer for cabochons. The reason this has to be ‘general’ is because the lapidary world is a huge venue and a lot of the polishing techniques used really depend on both the hardness and the make-up of the stone. For example, some softer stones are worked all the way to the polish stage and then we use Zam for the final polish, while some other materials receive their final polish from the use of either cerium oxide or Lindi ‘A’ on a leather pad (glued to a flat lap), and on agates we use a very fine diamond paste on a felt lap (using a regular silicone spray as the extending fluid). I have to credit my husband for the gorgeous polish he gets on the cabs I use, which has come from a LOT of experimenting (and you should see the bucket of, “well, that didn’t work”, which is future fodder for our tumblers).

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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6 Comments

  1. Pingback: Light Lapidary

  2. avatar

    Belinda miller

    August 16, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Have you ever come up with a stone that was just too irregular to wrap without covering the stone ? Am working w/ a piece of composite turquoise that a good friend wants me to wrap. It is not cooperating…oblong of different thicknesses. So, I tried a glue on bail and the glue won’t hold. Too much silicon on the stone? HELP

    • avatar

      allison

      August 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      Which glue did you use? Try GS glue and Gorilla glue…the epoxy kind. Usually fixes everything for me.

    • avatar

      Barbara Singer

      August 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      For dichroic glass pendants I use E6000 glue to attach the bails. It works great. I don’t know about your stone, but I’ve used it on gemstone cabochons occasionally and it worked well then too.

    • avatar

      Betty Selby-Syslo

      December 25, 2014 at 6:48 am

      I am a jewelry instructor in nebraska, wish I could show you ! There are different ways to wrap but hard to explain in words.
      One way is to do a simple basket wrap
      Another is to use the wire as a prong setting
      Betty

  3. avatar

    Betty

    August 31, 2015 at 11:37 am

    The first challenge for any wire wrap is to make a \\\\"cage\\\\" for the piece that will not allow it to escape! Try wrapping a tie wire (I use half round) in the center of a bundle ( at least 3 or 4) of wire lengths 4 times the length of the piece\\\\\\\’s height. place this at the bottom of the piece. On extremely irregular pieces, I try to locate the tie in a notch or depression. From that position, work the center wire(s) around the perimeter of the piece. Then work the remaining wires up through the irregular face and back of the piece. Make additional ties as dictated by the shapes of the piece, on the sides. Finally tie off the wires at the top of the piece with half round wire, making your bale from two of the wire ends and (preferably form opposite sides of the piece. Finish off those wires by making decorative loops or curls on the back to the piece. Use the other wire ends to make decorative swirls, or curls. If required, run one wire at a time through, over or around other wires on the surface to be sure your piece will not escape.
    Betty

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