MCards: Garnet Chain for #6

MCards: Garnet chain. 18ct gold plate on silver graduated chain, featuring six prong set antique garnets.

This piece sat on my bench for the best part of two years. I am so glad to have it finished and have the back of my bench free again, it was such a pain to dust around the links without messing up the order. The garnets came from a large lot I bought from a jeweller who did antique repairs - some of them were already chipped, and I'm happy to say that I managed to set them without doing any more damage. The four smaller stones have really lovely old cuts, very elegant.

I had the piece plated before I set the stones: a plater once told me that garnets can be problematic (I can't remember exactly why - perhaps they're slightly conductive - some stones are), and he made me come in early to get the Chain Dentata plated, before he had switched on the heating for the plating baths. One of these garnets has such a stunning internal fracture that I really didn't want to risk it in an ultrasonic cleaner either, so I made sure the prongs were thinned, cut to the correct length and cup burred to finish so that they could just be pushed over the stones. The 2 micron plate mostly coped with the setting process; one stone was a pain, but there's always one…

And after all the careful planning, it turns out that the scale of the chain is slightly too large for the intended purpose. Luckily because it is graduated, I can hide the larger links at the back and noone will ever know! It was, however, most gratifying to see the chain in situ with some of the other pieces for the first time at the test shoot last week.

Here's a selection of images of this piece, in reverse chronology:

November 26th 2015: Everything back from the plater! 2 microns of 18ct yellow plate.

November 18th 2015: Suddenly all the construction has been completed! As I thought, it only took a couple of days to get the last bits of soldering done.

July 22nd : 2015: The links are constructed, but not joined. This was the longest sustained state of the chain - I was waiting to work out how long the chains between the links needed to be (honest). You can see a number of other MCards pieces lurking on my bench here.

January 26th 2014, apparently! Different thicknesses of square wire prepared for constructing the graduated rectangles.