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Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/Making earrings with nylon post and natural gemstone

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Question
Hello,

I'm trying to make a hypoallergenic earrings with natural gemstone. Now, I found nylon/plastic post(with cup, 3 mm outside diameter), but I cannot find natural gemstone(such as amethyst, topaz,etc) in the shape of chaton(point back).

I found round faceted gemstones in 3mm( eg. Amethyst), but they don't look like they are point back or foiled.  Based on my online research, foiled back stones sparkles better that even if I will be gluing the stone to the plastic post, I thought I should get the back foiled. Is it possible to foil the natural gemstone? if so, how can I do it? also, if stone is not in point back shape, will it fit? if outside diameter of plastic post is 3mm, If I use 2 mm stone, will it fit? Since nobody seem to sell natural gemstone in the shape of chaton, I'm trying to figure out how to make this happen. I would appreciate any inputs you may have.

Thank you so much!!

Answer
Dear Seunghu,

This link shows foil back  “glass”  stones in event you cannot find natural gems in the shape desired:
http://www.fusionbeads.com/1028-and-1088-Swarovski-Elements-Crystal-Chaton-Stone

The term chaton is generally used in reference to rhinestones, a form of simulated gemstone made of glass. These are often foil backed and may be rose cut(flat back)  or have a pointed back(pavilion).  Gdemstones are most often cut with a crown(top),girdle or waist of stone between top and pavilion(the pointed bottom of the gemstone).

A pointed bottom gem needs a seat or fitted area for the back or at least the waist of the stone in order to be cemented in place. Cement on the back of a clear natural stone will take away almost all the reflective qualities.  Foil backing is designed to provide some reflection of light and therefore color back through the stone. Genuine stones are ideally cut(generally not the case) to show the most reflection from inside the gem as the mineral will allow and glue “alters the surface” and takes away  desired reflections.

Common cements used for gemstones do not adhere well to a nylon surface and you should test the cement for strength with a test gemstone.

There is not a practical means for do it yourself to foil a gemstone, natural or simulated. The process is much like what is used to make a mirror of glass. Search the net for “how to mirror glass” and you will see why it is impractical to try foiling a gem yourself.

To retain hypoallergenic properties of the nylon posts, please look for another means of mounting the gemstone, one allowing the back to be open and free of cement.  The most obvious setting is a dangle with a loop to attach through a small hole in the nylon post end or pad.  This approach may require help in setting the gem but cement may be used with a round mounting fitted to the size of the stone, either an open bezel or prongs bent just to hold the stone level with a tiny touch of cement where contact is with the stone. Apply cement only to slightest edges where stone contacts the setting.  One of the best cements for this is one of the newer ultraviolet(uv) curing cements.  These are often called “uv glue” and glass cement (because the cured cdment is both strong and clear). A tiny amount around the rim of the gem will not take away from the natural reflectivity enough to affect the beauty of the stone.


I do hope this information helps you. In the least, you will now be able to look the Internet for the materials I have mentioned. Feel free to ask more if you need to or if there is confusion.

God Bless and Peace, best wishes with good completion of your earrings.  Thomas.  

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Thomas

Expertise

Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.

Experience

I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education/Credentials
Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to jewelry...wow, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

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