I recently had the joy of being commissioned to make an extra dainty sterling silver sun pendant with a sunstone in the center. Here is a peak at what went into making this little sun that is smaller than a quarter.
It all started with a sketch. After the sketch was approved I moved it into the computer to fine tune the design. Meanwhile I searched through several of my suppliers to find the perfect stone. This sunstone was mined in Oregon. The glitter effect comes from metallic inclusions called schiller. Not all sunstone has schiller, but I wanted the center of this pendant to sparkle.
Then it was time to play with fire. I keep my tiny (flea-poop-sized as my professor calls it) pieces of solder in old (over ten years now!) film containers and use the lids as trays. All that darkness you see on the silver is from oxididization of the metal from the flame. To get it back to being shiny it has to sit in a crock-pot of mild acid for a little bit.
Next it was bail making time.
And after that it was finally time for stone setting. Setting burs are used in rotary tools to grind out a seat for the stone in a tube setting. Then the edges of the tube are carefully pressed inward to hold the stone in place.