Making a Simple Basket Setting



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Making a basket setting is a challenge for beginners, so this project would be best categorized under intermediate or advanced. The fine pick soldering requires good torch control that most don't master until they've had quite a bit of practice. I use hard sheet solder and Rio's My-T-Flux for all soldering operations, but you could of course use whatever you use in your own shop.

The first task is to make sure your workshop area is neat and tidy like mine, hehe.
Next, choose a faceted stone. In this case, I chose a faceted rainbow moonstone.
I use 18 gg. round sterling wire for the setting. Cut a piece about 6 inches long.
Make two small jump rings. The larger ring's outside diameter should be just a tiny bit smaller than the girdle diameter of the stone so when the stone is actually sitting in it, it will not show from above. This particular example is so close to the exact size of the stone, that it is difficult to see the size difference. The other should be just a bit smaller. (Are you getting that I don't use a ruler too much?)
Align the jump rings, and solder both closed.
With a marker, make small marks 180 degree across from each other on each ring. On each ring, one of the marks should be on top of the previously created solder joint.
With a jeweler's file, file a small notch on the outside of the ring next to each of the marks.
Cut the remaining piece of 18 gg. round in half.
Bend one of them into a rounded "V" shape like this.
About 1/8" to 1/4" from the bend, make two marks with the marker across from each other. File a small notch on the inside of the wire next to the mark.
Fit the smaller ring into the "V" shaped piece, keeping the ring at a 90 degree angle to the "V." Because of the existing solder where one of the notches lies, you can get it tacked into place just by heating it to the flow point. I place it into a third hand for this step.
For the second solder joint, use a pick with a tiny piece of solder attached.
After cooling, add marker marks slightly above the soldered-in smaller ring across from each other, and then file notches on the inside as before.
Fit the larger ring into the notches, making sure it is aligned parallel to the first ring.
Just like on the first ring, tack the ring in on one side by heating to the soldering point. Pick solder the second connection.
After cooling, make marks with the marker on the outsides of the ring, centered between the previously soldered-on prongs. File small notches matching the marks on both sides.
Bend the second piece of 18 gg. wire into a similar shape as the first. Fit it over the setting to see where you should file inside notches for the bottom ring. Make marks with the marker and file the notches. I do not file notches for the top ring because it is too difficult to get all four notches aligned perfectly. After the notches are filed for the bottom ring, place the second "V" so that the bottom of the "V" is under the first "V." Bend the wires slightly (just a smidgen) in over the top ring.
This is usually the trickiest part because you have to pick solder 4 solder connections without overheating and messing up the previous solder joints. Watch the prongs on top, as they will melt easily if you aren't paying attention as well as you should be.
After soldering, trim off the bottom part of both "V's," and file smooth. At this stage, I usually also trim off some of the length of the prongs as well. Your basket setting is ready to be added to your piece.




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