Mexican Crazy Lace Agate Gemstone Cabochon Pendant Jewelry Design Process

by georgeingraham on September 30, 2009

Just for fun want to show off this recent Mexican Crazy Lace Agate pendant. Sorta patting myself on the back just a little as it is my best silver solder project yet !

We decided to have a jewelry design contest for existing forum members.  Actually, it is still ongoing as of this blog entry..

Not being a very good artist as free hand drawing goes, it took almost an entire notebook to come up with the final sketch !


Wanted to see if I could actually design a piece using a similar set of stones as the many matching multi stone groups that I offer in my store. So started with that in mind.

One of the my favorite minerals that truly offer outstanding patterns that are ideal for this matching patterned multi stone groups is the Mexican Crazy Lace Agate.  It is easier to loose the flow of the pattern across the setting because the grains change rapidly as I grind and shape the top of the cab. The three three pieces across the top of this one kept the flow of the pattern pretty well.

Cut out and roughly shaped the backing for both pieces. Then cut and shaped the preforms to match the backing. Leaving plenty of room for soldering the bezel tape.


Shaped and finished up the cabs and soldered up the bezels to match.. It was a bit tricky for me to solder all three of the top settings to the same backing at once. I knew how important it was going to be to be able and heat this larger than normal piece evenly. As a result, it was the first time using the largest of torch tips I have. The much larger flame worked like a charm !

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Pieced it all together..

Used both a tumbler as well as some 3M type discs for cleaning everything up.

Not having any experience with creating a nice beaded or maybe braded type neclace to go with it, not exactly sure how or if will create something to match this..

One thing I did learn too is that should have filed down the corners of the bezels just a bit so as when I pushed the tape up against the upper stones, there would not be the little gaps that are showing.  Next time …. !

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

georgeingraham December 11, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Hi Dave ..

I am not familiar with rolling our own bezel tape.. Is it just the running of thicker sheeting through a set of rollers ?

Also, yes… Next time I do a similar project will start with the corners and work away from them as you and others suggested.

Thanks for the reply !

Dave Hanna December 11, 2009 at 10:05 am

I always set the corners first if they are kind of square, this way any bunching can be worked out as the sides are set. I roll my own bezel so I can have many heights and thicknesses to chose.

Helen Hill October 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Just looking at the finished article, I can clearly see that the bezels would easily push further onto the stones, eliminating those gaps. Cutting V’s in the corners is messy and unnecessary. The trouble with having shorter tape or taller stones, is that you then risk the stone not being held securely enough.

When you do the corners, don’t leave the corners until last, that’s when you’ll get bunching. When you do a corner, push some metal directly into the corner, but the parts adjacent to the very point, need to be pushed towards the sides of the setting, then it takes up the slack nicely. The long edges can take up more slack than the small bit of metal on the corners, which is why you shouldn’t leave them until last. Also, the thicker your bezel, the more slack it will take up, and the easier the corners will turn nicely.

Pedro Prado October 4, 2009 at 7:36 pm

You made a great piece. I liked how you explained all the process, and you are right, Mexican Crazy Lace Agate is a great stone. It is a banded chalcedony that is infused with iron and aluminum.

Ruta October 2, 2009 at 9:13 am

I like this piece – on the bezels – I was taught to file a very small V notch in the corners of the bezel to fit the angles of the stone-then pushing them over neatly eliminates the gap.

georgeingraham October 1, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Thanks Helen…
I think that besides fitting nicely around the perimeter, if the stones were a bit higher, or the tape a bit shorter, then could easily just push the tape up against the corners without having to deal with actually bending the tape over the shorter stones.
Make sense

Helen Hill October 1, 2009 at 12:35 pm

I agree with Michael. If the bezels fit correctly – correct size around the stone and correct height – then the bezel will turn onto the stone nicely and it would give a neater look. But really attractive necklace in any case. It’s crying out for a nice, chunky chain of some sort, whether beaded or of silver.

georgeingraham September 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Thanks Michael !

I thought about using the bezel pusher to work those corners over, but just to chicken shit that they will end up sorta crinkled.

Wonder if this is a good example of how the Argentium silver is a bit better for working around and over corners like this.

Thanks again Michael..

Michael Johnson September 30, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Very cool!~ leaps and bounds from your first works in silver. The corners don’t have to be gaped. You can tap them ever so slightly with the smallest hammer that you have, maybe a rivet hammer. Or, you can use a piece of soft wooden dowel as a punch between the hammer and silver. But, it is possible to push the silver on over. Just do it cautiously. The last thing you want to have to do is beg the lapidary to re-cut such a wonderful and intricate cab :o)


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