Amphitrite's Ring: Sea glass, sterling silver, brass, 23K gold metal leaf, vermeil, cubic zirconium and Faux Bone
(inspired by a new book on sea glass jewelry by Eva Sherman and Beth Martin - coming later this year!)
I love the accent that a small tube-set stone adds to any design but have always been frustrated to find that I never have compatible tubing, stones and setting burs. This lead me to seek a way to "standardize" the materials I use to streamline the whole process. For me, the least expensive and efficient way was to purchase the following from Rio Grande (prices approx).
This allows me to set 100 stones in Sterling silver for just $0.22 each with a one-time investment of $43 in tools. The disadvantage is that I have only found the stones in clear.
Most often, I am soldering a crimp tube on top of a rivet or screw (they fit perfectly on the brass Crafted Findings rivets) so that I can add a faceted stone to a material that can't be soldered, such as Faux Bone, nylon or glass (shown above). This is very easily accomplished, even if you have no soldering experience.
- Insert the rivet into a kiln brick or Solderite pad
- Set the crimp tube near the rivet
- Warm the area around the tube and rivet with a torch (to slightly heat the two)
- Spray on a healthy coat of Firescoff, as directed (be sure to flip the tube over and get inside)
- Use tweezers to center the crimp tube on top of the rivet
- Drop in a small solder chip (I use medium)
- Heat the area around the tube until the solder has flowed
The Firescoff, if applied correctly, will act as a flux and prevent firescale, that way, you don't have to use a pickling solution. This also anneals the metal, allowing you to set the stone more easily.
Once the piece is soldered, drill a hole in a piece of wood or Faux Bone and insert the rivet, allowing the tube to sit flat. Hold the tube with crimp pliers and use a setting bur on a flexshaft to create a well for the stone to sit just below the rim of the tube. Set the stone in, making sure it is flat, and with a quick twist of the setting tool the rim of the tube is perfectly burnished over the edge of the stone! (see more info in the comments section about how/when to set the rivets).
The stone setting system above is definitely an economy version and I damaged several of the larger ones when I tried to use them to set larger stones...but for this operation, they work perfectly.
I have done the same with gold filled and copper 3X3 crimp beads, but found with the copper I needed to go up in size with the stones and bur (2.75) since the hole size is larger (.09). It also worked with 2X2 crimps and very tiny stones...but my eyes are too old to keep playing with those!