Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Hand Finishing Jewellery Edges

Often jewellery scale pieces need to have their edges finished before the final wrapping or hanging on the necklace. This is frequently done by running the piece against the grinder, dumping it in water and then cleaning with a tooth brush or similar before the next process.  What is described here can be used on fused and “raw” glass both.

You can finish the edges of pieces by hand. 

Get a flat piece of glass – window glass is good for this.  You can put a fine grit such as 200 onto the glass and wet it to a paste. Place the edge of the jewel on the glass and begin rubbing with moderate pressure in an oval or figure of 8 motion.  You will be surprised at how quickly the edge is refined.  You can follow this up with finer grits.  Make sure you clean the jewel and the grinding plate thoroughly if you use the same glass plate for finer grits.

If you want a less messy - but slightly more expensive - method, use wet and dry sandpapers.  These can be found in grits from 200 to 6000, although you will not need to go beyond 1200 which will give you a smooth, shiny edge. These need to be kept damp too.  If you are planning to fire polish the pieces, you can stop at 400 or 600 grit.

This process avoids the water soak stage, can bring back into use the pieces you forgot to soak, and can be taken all the way to the finished edge.  If you are doing only a few pieces, it is much faster than a fire polish in the kiln.