Claw Pendant: Highlights & Headaches

The #1 lesson that I learned with this piece was to be flexible. I spent weeks planning the design, multiple changes were made and just when I thought I had figured it out, I made the piece... here are my headaches and highlights that I encountered with this marvelous, fragile stone.

Have you ever had a stone that you were excited to set but idea after idea didn’t seem right? I recently found myself agonizing over setting this stone, definitely the most challenging one I’d ever faced. It was a stibnite in Calcite crystals.

Fragile, crazy, rough, uneven, deep… etc the list just goes on and on. At this point, I had only ever set stones using bezel or gallery wire which of course neither would work in this case. Months went by and a small tooth earring jacket came across my desk as a new item. Aha… the design for this “unusual” stone began to form and soon I was creating this little (big, awkwardly big to be precise) pendant.
Stibnite in Calcite Crystals
S6239 Tooth Earring Jacket
Now, I’m all for finding different ways to use things and I loved these tooth earring jackets that we now carried, however, I knew what I wanted and it wasn’t teeth tearing through a copper sheet, it was claws. I used the flex shaft to add lines here and there and altered the way they looked then dropped them into a hot crockpot of Liver of Sulfur to age them a bit.
This was the end result.

After heavy texturing, filing and drilling on the copper sheet, I finally produced the background I was satisfied with. The texture was interesting, the claws tore through the copper, things were looking great until I set the stone back on the sheet. It sat too high and was terribly unstable.

Stibnite on Copper Sheet

So, soon I found myself back at the drawing board. I eventually decided that the only true way to stabilize it was to pierce the middle of the sheet and sink the bottom of the stone down into it. After sawing and filing, I succeeded and the stone finally lay at a much better angle.

Here I dropped a few headpins in place around the edges to hold the stibnite in place. The last thing I did before the finishing work was to create a frame around the bottom of the pendant to protect the fragile pendant from breaking then protected it with a piece of leather, as well.

Stibnite Space with Headpins

To finish, I dipped it in an LOS bath, burnished the claws, hung the chain, created tassels and set the stibnite. Finally, the claw pendant was finished.

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