The magic of the tension set ring
The first of our gemmilicious workshops got off to a flying start with our students exploring all stones green, before learning to make a tension set ring.
Here are the amazing results
I love that each ring carries the maker’s personality.
We introduced students to a wide range of green gemstones. From emerald to peridot, dioptase, to prehnite, prasiolite, flourite and green sapphire, green stones abound. Some of these stones are easily identified by colour alone. But to the untrained eye, additional tools are required to assist.
Using a refractometer we showed students how to identify the refractive index of each type of stone.
The thermal test is also used in assessing which family a stone belongs to. Green gems of the beryl, quartz, garnet, and spinel families all have different thermal-conduction properties, and although the thermal test cannot give the definitive identity, more clues can be garnered.
With additional examination through the loupe and then the microscope our collection of green stones revealed other clues to their origin. Students could see the tell-tale inclusions (fissures) almost always evident in emeralds, and the gel – like quality of prehnite’s structure.
Stone Setting Afternoon
Needless to say, having learned of the fractious and brittle nature of emeralds, none of our students wanted to risk choosing this for their tension set-ring.
We showed students how to measure, cut, hammer and coax their silver bars into their perfect fitting ring. The final element of sheer brute force made peridot, green sapphire and green garnet the popular choice.
What a bunch of beauties!
Next up, we explore the delights of blue to purple hued stones.
If you prefer reds, check out our Plush Pink/Radiant Reds workshop
Crystal clear stones (diamonds, quartz and CZ), yellows and other pastels have their day too
And finally, for the pearl fans we have a fabulous day with Perfect Pearls.