Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Blacksmithing with Gems and Rocks


Recommended Posts

For Christmas I want to make my mother a hair pin with a small Jewel or maybe a piece of jade in the back, my plan is to cut the back into 4 pieces than forge it back together around the gem. I have tried looking for sources of people using gems in blacksmithing but have been unable to find anything about how to do it or if its even safe. I have heard that some rocks crack when they get hot so I am a little worried about that. My main two questions are can I safely forge red hot steel around a gem, and if it would be a bad idea to put the gem and the steel in my forge? If I can't any ideas on how I could put a gem there? Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would use a jewelers torch on something like that myself. The Metal will be kind of small so it will heat easily and quickly and the small torch will allow you to isolate just what you want heated. You can get one for about $40. Unless of course you are not in the states and dont use dollars, if you use birr its around 1,600. Thats a subtle hint to fill out your header. We around here can be much more helpful at times knowing where you are at. General location, dont have to give us your street address unless you want us hanging about drinking your beer and BBQing everything but the cat. No really though it helps and you would be surprised how many may just be near you and are willing to help you in your endeavors. Also if you have not yet "READ ME FIRST", go read it. Many useful tips about the site and the etiquette here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most semi precious are far too delicate to withstand hammer blows (and high temperatue)and the iron or steel is much too hard, even fully annealed. 

 

Jewelers typically mount stones using thin metal prongs and bending  them over the edge of the stone. All this is done at room temperature. No heat at all. The mounting prongs are soft enough to allow this. I don't think iron would be soft enough. 

You might be able to use epoxy resin to attach the stone.  Or maybe braze or hard (silver) silver solder some prongs

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Will this be 4 prongs or a 4 wire basket?  Either way I'd try it COLD first.

As to gems and heat Some will work, some may work and some will fail catastrophically.  That was sort of a "Can I eat Mushrooms I find?" question.  I barely remember having read an article in a lapidary magazine 50 years ago that discussing which stones could be cast around for jewelry work and which to avoid...save that opal was NOT heat safe!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alright, Kinda expected it to be a really bad idea, thanks everyone for answering the question and so fast as well. I am going to first try wrapping it with a thin wire, and if that doesn't work well I will try resin. Also I have now updated my location, thanks for the advice!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you change direction and go with some other metal, silver can be had in wire. In many different shapes and sizes. Back in my dead head days of hanging out in parking lots i used to make and sell pendants with different stones wrapped in silver. Quite easy to work with and silver will not break the bank. I do not know about LA but around here we have a store that sells nothing but silver and silver jewelry from local artisans. Living in LA you should be able to find some local artisans that would be able to give you more guidence on their tools, supplies and techniques. 

Regardless, when it is completed let us know how you did it and lets see some photos of it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Diamonds and a few other precious stones can withstand the heat, just don't quench!  For what you want to do, consider the wire wrap method as previously mentioned or bezel set.  In these cases, copper, brass or silver are your friend.  If you are intent on using wrought steel, don't plan on hammering your stone holding elements into place but use steady pressure like from a c-clamp or press.  Be aware that spring back may be an issue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/17/2020 at 10:02 PM, BillyBones said:

and BBQing everything but the cat.

You don't like cats?! :o

You can bend soft wire cold and not apply so much pressure to a stone it'll crack or break. No heat!

Anneal, brush and finish it before you set the stone. I don't recall you saying how large but it'd have to be pretty large or going to take physical abuse to need prongs as thick as say banding. I'm thinking 16ga is overkill. 

Make a cup or socket where you want the stone that doesn't quite extend past there the stone starts to curve back in. Call it the edge break for lack of the correct term. Silver solder flattened mechanic's wire into the socket (bezel?) with JUST enough extending above the edge it will fold over. Anneal it, a gas range top will suffice be ready to wrap it in Kaowool or something to help it cool slowly. 

After it's all cleaned up and finished, I'd epoxy the stone in the bezel, once set and cured the prongs get folded over the stone.

Make sure there are no burs or sharp edges to catch the prongs, they could scratch someone or pull them open.

Bear in mind what I remember about jewelry is more than 50 years old and contains a lot of Dad telling me to leave him alone if I couldn't watch quietly. He did talk while he worked because I was there though. He set a lot of semi precious stones in odd shapes, lots of folk wanted quartz crystal jewelry and Dad used to talk about how much easier a cut stone was to mount.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh gosh thank you all for all your advice, sadly I don't have any wire and I don't want to go out and buy some, so I'm going to stick to the epoxy resin idea, I personally think It looks nice but I did have some trouble making the slot to put the gem in, which looks a little weird, but otherwise I am happy with it! Honestly this was like my third attempt at it, I have issues getting it symmetrical. Thank you all for your support!

1.jpg

2.jpg

3.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...