Comments: 14
Spare Ammo 8 years ago
Linda Hilton 8 years ago
Thanks! I have fun with them!
ginmar 8 years ago
You did those?
Linda Hilton 8 years ago
Yep. ;-)

These were all cut from purchased or gifted slabs. So I started with a slice of rock, cut out the individual pieces, ground them to the desired shape, then ground the tops to round them into domes. After that, the pieces went into the tumbler for about five weeks to smooth and polish. Final step is to wrap them in sterling or gold-filled wire. I do all that stuff.
Beautiful. So how long does it take to go from lump of rock to exquisite piece of jewellry?
Linda Hilton 8 years ago
It depends on whether I polish by hand or in the tumbler. If I do it by hand, I can take a stone from lump of rock to slice to blank to cabochon to wirewrapping in a few hours. But I've never been good at the hand polishing part of it, and that's really the most crucial step. So I get a much better product if I take them through the grinding by hand and when I have enough to make a load for the tumbler (usually ~50 pieces), I toss them in there for four to six weeks. The tumbler runs 24/7, and each week (sometimes longer) gets a different grit, going from coarse, to medium, to fine, then a week on pre-polish, another week on polish, and finally a few days on soap and water clean up.

The actual wire wrapping can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the complexity of the wrap, the shape of the stone, and whether or not I'm feeling confident or discouraged. If I get really frustrated, I may sent the piece aside for a day or two, or even a week, until I come up with what I'm going to do to finish it. These two, surprisingly, went very smoothly, but I still couldn't finish them without setting each aside for at least an overnight pondering of what to do.
Blimey. I had no idea the tumbler was going 24/7. I assumed when you said 4-5 weeks it meant you just gave them a whirl for a couple of hours each day.

The wire wrapping looks as if it takes a very steady hand.
Linda Hilton 8 years ago
Yep, 24/7. Plug it in and walk away. I usually check on it once or twice a day to make sure the barrels haven't run into each other and jammed up the works or anything, but other than that, it just runs. It's not particularly noisy, but mine is out in the workshop so I don't hear it at all.

I'd say the wire wrapping takes more of a steady eye than hand, to get everything balanced and reasonably symmetrical. But there are definitely parts that take a steady and strong hand, to keep the tools from slipping off the wire and ruining everything. Been there, done that, cursed A LOT.
Abandoned by user 8 years ago
I love that silver one a lot. The colors are absolutely gorgeous.
Linda Hilton 8 years ago
Thank you! It's an old stock Mexican crazy lace agate, so the colors are more subtle than some of the really flamboyant stones that have been found. If you ever have a few hours you don't know what to do with, just do a google image search on "Mexican agate." Best not done when on hallucinogenic drugs, however. ;-)
SilverThistle 8 years ago
Lovely rock slices, Linda. Every time I see your avatar here I think it looks like a ballerina. I know it's a pendant now, but still I 'see' a ballerina for the first few seconds of seeing it. So pretty.

I have lots of Amethyst crystal formations around the house, it's my birthstone and I seem to have accumulated quite a lot of them as gifts over the years. Some are cracked open geodes(is that the word?) and the cut edge polished with all the crystals inside like a little cave but some don't have the 'shell' round them and are just clumps of crystals.

I've also got a couple of fossilized ammonites that I like a lot. I found the little one when we first moved in and did up the garden and it hasn't been sliced open, but the bigger one is from the Natural History Museum shop and quite a big one with a polished surface.

Oh, and I've got a fossilized muscle shell, lol. Found that in the garden too (we live on the coast) and it's like a half shell with all the stuff inside. So interesting.
Linda Hilton 8 years ago
I love amethysts, too, even though they're not my birthstone. That particular stone was sold several years ago; whenever I get some of those crystals and wrap them, they sell right away. Ha ha, I should do more!

I probably should also write a blog post about amethysts. We have a lot of them here in Arizona, with some of the best in the world coming from the Four Peaks amethyst mine. I've never been there, but I have some stones that were collected there about 40 years ago. The two big crystals in this picture are from Four Peaks, as is the little polished stone. When I listed it on Etsy, I knew it would sell quickly, and it did!

But there are other places in Arizona to find amethysts, even if they aren't the same quality. Yeah, I think I need to write a blog post, with a bunch of pictures!

We used to find little fossils in the limestone gravel back in Indiana, but I've never found anything in Arizona, not even a piece of petrified wood. All that I have has either been bought at rock shows or in estate lots, or someone has given it to me. One of these days I need to go hunting for my own!

Amethysts are not my actual birth stone, which is ruby, but my adopted one (it was my grandmother's, and I inherited her stuff as a teenager - she wore amethysts and silver, and both look terrible on my mother - her daughter - but look good on me).