A Machinist’s Foray Into Jewelry Making

Machinists are expected to make functional items from stock material, at least hat’s the one-line job description even though it glosses over many important details. [Eclix] wanted a birthday gift for his girlfriend that wasn’t just jewelry, indeed he wanted jewelry made with his own hands. After all, nothing in his skillset prohibits him from making beautiful things. He admits there were mistakes, but in the end, he came up with a recipe for two pairs of earrings, one set with sapphires and one with diamonds.

He set the gems in sterling silver which was machined to have sockets the exact diameter and depth of the stones. The back end of the rods were machined down to form the post for the clutch making each earring a single piece of metal and a single gemstone. Maintaining a single piece also eliminates the need for welding or soldering which is messy according to the pictures.

This type of cross-discipline skill is one of the things that gives Hackaday its variety. In that regard, consider the art store for your hacking needs and don’t forget the humble library.

10 thoughts on “A Machinist’s Foray Into Jewelry Making

  1. He writes the main piece was “Cut down to 3.8mm length.” and he “[…] added a touch of epoxy to the posts and fitted them into place”. So, not a “single piece of metal” as the article writes. Great job nonetheless.

    Better Alignment might be facilitated by a piece of scrap wood / metal / plastic with a hole of the workpieces diameter. Put it over the lower piece, adjust the drill head with the upper piece so that it fits smoothly into the hole, too.

  2. Although the result is quite nice, this is not how you set a stone. Using epoxy is not done in such a setting. That’s seen as an easy way out. Epoxy is sometimes used, but only if a traditional way of setting is not strong enough or not possible.

    1. The issue with epoxy is that the metal, the epoxy, and the stone all have different coefficients of thermal expansion. Essentially, the expansion and crimp of the metal and the stone tear the epoxy apart over time. Although, I guess that there will be flexible epoxies that tack to both metal and stone.

  3. Although the result is quite nice, this is not how you set a stone. Using epoxy is not done in such a setting. That’s seen as an easy way out. Epoxy is sometimes used, but only if a traditional way of setting is not strong enough or not possible.

  4. “The back end of the rods were machined down to form the post for the clutch making each earring a single piece of metal”

    This sounded somewhat wasteful, and on reading the article, is not the case at all. He drilled a 0.8mm hole for the posts (of unspecified metal/origin), and expoxied them in.

  5. I made a ring out of a small piece of ruby left over from one of the first ruby lasers made at Bell Labs and I machined it (by hand) into a very nice stone and put it in a ring (I bought the setting) for my girlfriend at that time. This was a beautiful and, of course, very rare piece as that ruby was “grown” at the Labs back in the early 1960’s. She loved it and broke up with me 2 weeks later and kept the ring. Damn, I miss that ring.

    1. EDIT: I did use our ultrasonic rotary milling machine and a lathe to get the base shape and then completed the shaping and polishing by hand so, I did use some machinery.

  6. as a gold smith it was nice but he made it so much more work then it needed to be. lol

    btw sliver soldering is one of the cleanest forms of soldering out there (and one of coolest parts of gold smithing if you ask me) the big problem is the epoxy won’t likely last that long so just keep an eye on it.

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