Some instances and designs require a quick and simple wire prong collet for setting round gemstones in. Knowing how to make your own collet stock is an important skill that is necessary in metalmithing. This free tutorial on making this type of wire prong collet is helpful when you under time constraint.
This free jewelry tutorial follows the same format as in the premium pdf jewelry tutorials. This gives you a good insight into the to technical teaching methodology.
I start with a metal rod that is the same diameter as the stone that I am making the collet for.
Then I make a cross at the end.
The reason I do this is because it is easy to see if your cross is accurate and if it is, then that means that the circumference is divided into four equal parts.
Also, should the collet require six or eight claws, this is also easier to see from the end.
I scribe a line with my dividers all around the rod.
In this case the thickness is 1 mm, but that will vary if the stone is bigger or smaller.
Now I cut a small slot at about 45° on each of the four 'arm' of the cross I scribe at the end.
This is to guide the barrel frazer later.
Then I saw a groove all the way around the rod, using the line that I scribed as a guide.
Then I use a barrel frazer to make a notch for the claws that will be soldered in.
Generally spoken, the notch that the barrel frazer makes should be about half the depth of the frazer itself.
Once all four notches have been made, the 'disk' is cut off completely from the rod.
The top and bottom are then filed and sanded smooth.
The disk sanded.
In this example, I am using 1 mm wire.
I bend the wire into a U and then fit it on the disk to prepare for soldering.
Once the first U is soldered in place, the second one is done in the same manner.
Here the claws have been trimmed off.
The bottom claws are bent inwards.
The claws are then soldered together.
The collet is then sanded down and polished, ready for further use in a piece of jewelry.
This collet can be sunk into the shank and then shoulders can be added if so desired.
Sometimes a design requires that a four claw collet be attached on a flat and thin surface, like for instance on a coin pendant or a flat wedding band
So by way of illustration, I have made another example of a variation on the technique shown above.
Firstly, the bottom claws are trimmed off and filed and sanded smooth.
Note that this time I am making a 8 claw collet.
Here is a sample ring that I filed a flat top on.
I leave the top curves of the claws.
This prevents the claws from shifting while it is being soldered.
Then, as usual, I use binding wire to hold everything in place during soldering.
Soldered on and the claws are trimmed down.
Also, the hole in the center has been expanded.
Now I set the stone into the collet.
Set and polished.
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