Stonesetting with metal clay can be a complicated task. Before you begin, you must make sure that the stones you are using are safe for firing. Placing the wrong type of stones in your tabletop jewelry kiln could result in cracking – or worse.
Fortunately, there are a number of resources available for those who are interested in learning the tricks of the trade.
When it comes to setting stones in your custom jewelry, you need to be sure that your stones can withstand the heat of your intended firing pattern. Most natural stones are not able to withstand the prolonged heat exposure needed to cure your precious metal clay.
Instead you should plan on choosing synthetic stones such as cubic zirconia. You should also check with your stone source to see if they have any specific recommendations for setting stones and firing them before you go ahead.
The metal clay you choose to go with your stones should match the needs of the stones themselves. For instance, stones that can only withstand low-temperature firing will require low-temperature metal clay.
In addition, you need to pay close attention to the shrinkage rate of the clay you are using. If you set the stone and then the setting shrinks drastically during firing, it could crush the stone in place. On the other hand, if it doesn't shrink enough, the stone could remain loose.
There are a number of classes, online videos and books available to teach you the specifics of stone setting. The truth is that even with the help of temperature charts and careful planning, it is still possible that your stones will react in an unexpected way. Sometimes this means that they change color or otherwise do not come out the way you intended.
You will also need to master your control of your home kiln to ensure that you are managing the temperature appropriately for the stones you use. You can search online for stone vendors that are safe for use in kilns as well.
The Tabletop Furnace Company
The process of stone setting with metal clay is very complex. You should seek guidance from an experienced jeweler to get the best results. To learn more about your firing options, visit The Tabletop Furnace Company to discover our full range of metal clay kilns for your home.