Final Countdown

It's officially the final countdown here at Alexandre Optical Diamond Setting School, entering the final week of the 12 week professional course is hard to imagine it flew by so quickly! 

During the last few weeks we covered come cast mounts for claw settings of various shapes and bezel settings. 


It's very important that the cast metal you use for settings is free of porosity, otherwise the claw has the potential to crack and crumble away! Also ensure the alloy used is appropriate as some metals may be too soft where you may need to have a thicker claw. 

Channel settings was for me the toughest challenge, creating the channel wasn't the hardest part, it was securing the stones in place then subsequently hammering to set the stones, the bright cut also was tricky as with each stone it was quite a bumpy ride! 

I need to continue practicing the channel setting if I want to pursue this type of setting in the future, but officially this was the last task before moving onto something more fun! 

You are your own boss from this point onwards with guidance from Master Alexander, so I asked to do some inlay! I tackled inlay with use of wire in a channel, rows of wire to fill an area and solid sheet cut to inlay into an area in sheet metal. The most interesting inlay I found was into Mother of Pearl Shell! 

Inlay of fine silver wire into channel into bronze around a main stone, I decided to use a previous exercise to beautify, but this meant cleaning after inlay was 10x tricker as the stone was already in place. Decorative cuts into the silver inlay added great effect 

Inlay into Mother of Pearl! I never knew it would be possible! But It is entirely possible! After cutting out the desired inlay shape, I cut and fit a sheet of fine silver to fit into the carved MOP and hammered away!

I hammered a little too much and I started to see some micro fractures around the points of my 'star' and chose to leave the centre of the star for design complexity, but later found out I could have set a stone in the centre also! But I really do like this effect I might try to do it onto Black MOP for a greater contrast.... lets wait and see 

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