Jewelry Supplies from Places You Never Thought Of: Part IV
This is worth repeating: Your dentist could be a source of jewelry-making materials. The reason is because dentists and jewelers have a lot in common. Both work with fine details. Both also utilize precious alloys, molds, wax, investment, flex shafts, polishing materials, and casting in their work.
Some of you would probably rather avoid your dentist. But she may have used items she is willing to part with that support your jewelry supplies cabinet. My dentist is very busy, but he managed to slip me a couple dental-grade diamond burs to experiment with. These are made specifically for flexible- shaft handpieces, and they changed my career. (See the April 2016 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist — Carving Pearls, A New Look from the Inside Out.) I now teach pearl carving all over the United States using these dental grade burs. I also have been able to solve problems at the bench, which used to stump me.
I use the burs to:
- Cut holes in metal
- Clean up gemstone seats in settings
- Remove solder when it goes where I didn’t want it to go
- Enlarge bead holes
- Cut holes in stones for stone-on-stone settings
- Cut holes in stones for bails
- Trim stones slightly to fit settings
PS – Use lube for metal; lots of water for stone cutting. And wear safety equipment. There are numerous bur shapes, including knife-edged, ball, and cylinder, as well as coarse and medium grits. One great source is www.usburs.com/collections/jewelers-sampler/products/jewelers-sampler.
For more supplies from interesting places:
Betsy Lehndorff is a Michigan silversmith and has been writing for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 2010. You can see her work at www.HubbardLakeSilversmiths.com
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