Sunday, July 6, 2014

Bronze Rings with Prong Settings

Stone setting is always an exciting technique to explore with my students since it provides them with yet another way to expand their design process.  We will typically cover pressure setting stones, bezel setting stones and (as shown above) prong setting stones.  Students were given the challenge to design a simple coil ring in Bronze Metal Clay that integrated the ends of the coil into the design, included a surface carving and incorporated prong set round CZs.  Of course, the biggest part of the challenge was that the ring had to fit a specific size (of their choice) when done.  Prong settings can be purchased anywhere you would purchase general jewelry findings.  Since we were working in metal clay, they had to specifically be bronze to fire in place in the carbon, otherwise most any other metal could be soldered in place.  The prong settings look like little crowns with a notch along the interior points.  once the piece is complete, the stone is dropped in so that it is level and aligns with the interior notch, prong pushers (or even jeweler's pliers) are used to push or squeeze the prongs tight around the stone.  As long as the notch aligns with the edge of the stone, once closed in it should be locked in place.  One of the tricky parts of prong setting with metal clay is that the setting must be deep enough to sinter with the piece, but also supported in a way that it does not sink too far in and stays level.  Prong findings come in most any standard shape and size you might purchase pre-cut stones in.  They are a great way to incorporate stones that cannot withstand the heat of a torch or a kiln. 

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