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River rock pendant

Make the most of your cast texture with this metal jewelry project

Reminiscent of arroyos (dry riverbeds) and patterns left in the sand along seashores, the linear, flowing texture of cuttlebone casting is the perfect background for a textured gold frame, cast gold pebbles, and a bezel-set opal cabochon — all evoking water imagery.

Learn how to form a gold frame around your casting, and then cast tiny gold rocks in a carved charcoal block. Fabricate a simple bail, make a bezel cup for your favorite cabochon, and solder all the components together using the fewest number of soldering operations.

Read instructions on creating the gold rocks below. For the full project instructions, click here for the free project PDF.

Materials 

  • Gold:
    - 14k wire: 22-gauge (0.6 mm), rectangular, 5/64-in. (2 mm) wide
    - 14k scrap or casting grain (amount is dictated by your design)
    - 22k bezel wire (length depends on size of cabochon)
  • Yellow-gold solder:
    - 14k: hard, easy
    - 21k: hard
  • Sterling silver:
    - Casting
    - Tubing: 7/32-in. (4.5 mm) outside diameter (OD)
    - Strip: 18-gauge (1.0 mm), 5/32 in. (4 mm) wide, 1/2 in. (13 mm)
    - Sheet: 26-gauge (0.4 mm) (amount is dictated by size of cabochon)
  • Cabochon

Additional tools & supplies

  • Stainless steel binding wire
  • Soldering tripod and screen
  • Small chisel
  • Miter jig
  • Metal shears
  • Steel bar stock: 1 x 2 x 1⁄4 in. (25.5 x 51 x 6.5 mm)
  • Mini bristle disks on a screw mandrel

Suppliers

Toolboxes

Instructions

River rock pendant gold rocks 1
Photo 1
River rock pendant gold rocks 2
Photo 2
Gold rocks

Carve a charcoal block. Use a flex shaft with a round bur to carve a variety of small indentations in a charcoal block [1].

Form the gold rocks. Place a small piece of 14k gold in one indentation. You can estimate the amount of metal you need to fill the cavity. Light your torch, and melt the gold in the cavity [2].

River rock pendant gold rocks 3
Photo 3

Once the gold is molten, take a 1 x 2-in. (25.5 x 51 mm) piece of 1⁄4-in. (6.5 mm) thick steel bar stock, or a second flat charcoal block, and carefully place it on top of the melted gold [3].

SAFETY NOTE: Do not drop or slap the steel bar stock (or charcoal block) on top of the molten gold; this can cause it to splash out and burn you, as well as ruin the casting.

River rock pendant gold rocks 4
Photo 4
River rock pendant gold rocks 5
Photo 5

Remove the steel bar [4] or second charcoal block, and pick your cast rock out of the cavity with a pair of tweezers [5]. Repeat the process in another indentation to make a total of 14 gold rocks. Place them in pickle until they are clean.

For the rest of the project instructions, click here for the free project PDF.

FIND MORE: metal , forging , soldering , cabochon , pendants

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