My Tutorials

HIDI #1: My Pickling Process (and some mishaps along the way!) 

Thought I would have my first tutorial be on my pickling process.

I am currently having issues with my pickle and I thought I could write it all down and hopefully help someone else in the process.

What is pickle?
Pickle is an acid compound used during jewelry making to remove oxidized surfaces and flux from metal after soldering.  After a piece is soldered, you quench it (in a bowl of water) and then place your dirty piece of metal (copper, gold or silver) in to the pickle solution of your choice.  There are many types of pickle that can be used. You can create your own or you can purchase some from a jewelry supplier. (Keep in mind that you are working with chemicals and need to be careful in how you use them and dispose of them.)  I usually use either citric pickle or a solution of white vinegar and table salt (TIP: 1 Tablespoon of salt to every 1 cup of white vinegar).

What does it work on?
I get my citric pickle from Otto  Directions DON"T come with it (not with mine, hopefully they will change that)...which is very frustrating.  I use 1 part pickle to 3 parts water. But honestly you should try the vinegar and salt works really well...and sooooooo much cheaper!!  This pickle works great on sterling silver, Argentium, 14K white gold, and 14K rose gold, but not so well on 14K and 18K yellow gold.  I have to leave it in for a long time on yellow gold before the black comes off completely...actually I usually end up polishing the last bits off, as I am impatient!!  However it does work, so please try it.

As you can see from my post called, "Adventures in Pickling", I was out of my normal pickle and I tried to use some Sea salt and vinegar.  Well let me tell worked, but as you can see from the picture above, there were sediments in the bottom of the crock pot, which is NOT something I am use to.  Regular salt does not have these extra minerals.  I was pleased that it worked since I was in a bind..but it looked funny.  After a few days the pickle started getting dark in I threw it out.  Was not going to mess up my work due to a silly experiment.  I think I proved that it worked!  So if you are in a can use Sea Salt in your vinegar pickle solution!!  :-)
Happy Soldering!

 HIDI #2: A variation of a claw setting.

This is how I made this claw setting.  There are different ways to make them...but this way is really easy!!!  And...once you get the hand of it you can modify the setting to fit any size and shape of stone..within reason of course.  Just remember to increase the wire diameter if you increase the stone size.

 1.  The supplies I used were an 8 mm round blue topaz, 1mm sterling round wire, 2 thick walled tubing of different sizes, cut about about a mm in thickness, and medium silver solder.  (This is the only part you might need to eyeball.  I sawed a little more than 1 mm and then sanded down a little.)   

 2.  Use the chart above for reference... 
The tubing sizes need to be as follows...  The 1st tubing diameter needs to fit right under the girdle of the stone.  This is easy to figure out.  Just flip your stone over so that it is sitting on it's table.   Now set the cut piece of tubing on top on your stone so that it is sitting around the pavilion.  It should be resting on the girdle.  If it's not, try a different tubing size accordingly.  Once you have the larger size you need to find a piece of tubing that fits just inside the larger if you were making a telescope setting for a tube set gemstone.  (Sorry...I really should have taken a picture of this step!)  

 3.  Now that you have two piece of 1 mm tubing that can be nestled inside each other we need to make the"cage" part.   Take your 1 mm wire and straighten it very well.  Cut 2 pieces to about 1.5 inches each.  This is more than enough...but I would rather have to much than not enough.  File a grove in each piece, right across the middle so they will lay pretty flat across each other.  This does not have to be perfectly flat...but the flatter the easier it will be to solder latter.  The DO however, need to be perfectly straight.  Solder the pieces together, pickle, rinse, and dry.

 4.   Are we okay so far???  Now place the LARGE tubing right smack dab in the middle of your "cross".  If the wires are not totally flat and the tubing is not laying will not get a good solder join.  To remedy this problem, lay your tubing piece to the side and grab a hammer. hammer/hard tap your wires so they are flat against each other.

 5.  Place your tubing piece back ion the middle of your cross.  Solder on top wires using medium silver solder.


 6. Flip the cross over and solder the other smaller tubing right in the middle as well, using medium solder.  Place  nickles on your wires if you are afraid you will melt them.  Pickle, rinse and dry.

 7.  See the above picture...the wire on the right side is a little "wavy".  That is okay...and almost impossible to avoid.  Simply straighten with some flat pliers  when you are finished soldering your tube pieces.

 8.  Cut out the inside wires as shown above.

 9.  I cut some length off of the wires...but make sure you keep them plenty long for the setting.

 10.  Now comes the testing part.  Place the stone into your setting and you will need to eyeball and possibly mark with a thin sharpie where you should cut/file the wires to produce an effective and pleasing setting.  To get a good fit, use a tiny file/ on the inside of your tubing at a slope (or setting bur) to match the slope of the stone. 

 11. File your wires down.  I file the tops to a slight slant and I also do as must finish work as possible.  The setting of the stone should be the LAST thing.  Perhaps a little polish clothe rubbed on the ring...  but definitely keep your files AWAY from your stone...unless you are a confident fool:-)

12.  Push your wires over and inward so they push against the sides of the crown and hold your stone secure.  You can use your finger to hold the stone in place while you are pushing the wires with either your pusher or stone setting pliers.  Secure the stone and test for wobbles!!

The finished ring is below...

Happy setting!!!


  1. This is an awesome tutorial, thank you! And I love the ring. Graceful, elegant, wish I designed it! I will try this setting, it looks as though even I can do it. You really make it look easy.

  2. Thanks for a great tutorial! Ihope to try this soon.