Daily Wire Tip Jan. 19: Wire Wrapping Andalusite

By on January 18, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
January 19, 2011

Question:

There is an abundance of Andalusite in my area. I’ve tried to work with it with little luck, as far as achieving a water shine, so I need to come up with a way as to use wire to bring out the beauty. Using silver, I find that the silver dominates the beauty and leaves the Andalusite with a non-attractive look. How can I wire this as to produce the high quality pendant that I want?

-Steven in Fresno, California

Answer:

Gee, what a sad situation, to be surrounded with Andalusite – I need to visit you and see! (see Google Images results for Andalusite)

You don’t mention if the stones you have are gemmy (transparent to translucent, usually faceted) or if this Andalusite is basic (pink and white with black cross, usually cabbed). I gather it is the latter, so I would recommend just making a regular frame pendant for it. If the stones are of the gemmy type, then any of the prong designs offered in our DVDs or in my book would work beautifully, because using prongs along the edges of the stone will not cover the top much at all.

Gemmy Andalusite is not often found in larger sizes and is also known as "poor man’s alexandrite" due to the fact that this natural stone contains several colors (red, yellow and green, sometimes in brownish tones). Unlike Alexandrite, Andalusite does not need lighting changes to see the many colors. As a June baby whose birthstone is the extremely rare-but-gorgeous red/green Alexandrite, less-expensive Andalusite is one of my favorite stones!

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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9 Comments

  1. avatar

    Sheila

    January 19, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I prefer to wrap andalusite with gold filled wire. I think it enhances the color rather than detracts from it.

  2. avatar

    Joni Stinson

    January 19, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Enjoyed learning about this stone. Since you are an alexandrite lover, thought you might enjoy seeing my rings and while they are not wire wrapped, they might inspire your readers. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jstinson/sets/72157612656795252/
    All adult family members wear alexandrite rings…a family tradition. They are passed down from one generation to the next. My son was given his grandfather’s ring and my DIL was given an aunt’s ring on the day of their marriage.

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      January 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      What a neat tradition Joni! Thanks for sharing : )

  3. avatar

    Kathy Statton

    January 19, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Would polishing with cerium or tin oxide bring out a better shine on the Andalusite? Or maybe a leather lap?

  4. avatar

    Donnie Spielman

    January 19, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Another way to showcase your Andalusite cab would be to groove wrap it. If you have the capabilities to cut a groove around the cab you could then insert your wire in the groove & bring it up to make your bail. That way the wire, no matter what you use will not interfere with the beauty of the cab!

  5. avatar

    Brent

    January 19, 2011 at 11:15 am

    To get that water looking polish, there are several different types of final polish materials out there. Cirium oxide usually works for most stones, but sometimes you need to try a tin oxide, or a fiber optic polish, or for real stubborn stones, just keep going with finer diamond grit (14000. 30000, and so on) or use the internet to see what works best on this stone.

  6. avatar

    Anna-Marie

    January 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Bronze wire also looks beautiful with andalusite, as the copper and brass together tend to highlight the stone without making it look too brassy. I made a bronze rosary with andalusite pater beads that showed off the crosses in the beads to perfection. Unfortunately, it was a gift, and I did not get pictures of it.

  7. avatar

    James Malone

    January 19, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    I agree that gold filled wire would be the way to go and wrap with the frame wires not going far out onto the stone to show as much of the stone as possible and then just a plain bail. No Frills Wire Wrap I call it.

  8. avatar

    Carol StJohn

    May 31, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    If the stone is not shiny, try using a matte finish wire, something with a patina or colored wire, so the bright wire doesn’t compete with the stone.

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