deco-inspired pendant

Art Deco-inspired palladium pendant with diamonds and a sapphire drop

This art deco-inspired pendant is cast out of palladium (in the platinum family, very similar in look and wear properties, but it is not as heavy), is set with three small 1.6mm diamonds, and has an oval sapphire drop. This is the first time I’ve attempted constructing palladium (i.e., soldering and forming).

I had to buy welding goggles to protect my eyes from the high temperatures required to solder the metal (cool!) and I ended up using 18K palladium white gold hard solder (recommended by the metal supplier for color match). The only problem I really had was that I was told (well, I researched it on the internet; the INTERNET TOLD ME!) not to use any flux. Which is fine but the flux is very helpful in simply holding the tiny bit of solder onto the piece when soldering.

What I did was this: place a minuscule bit of solder on a jump ring (a rounded, curved, non-flat surface, mind you) and watch it fall off. Do it again. And again. Do it three more times and finally, somehow, it balances without falling off. Take a deep breath (but don’t let it out! It might knock down the solder). Check to be sure the solder is still there (it is. Whew). Put on my welding goggles, flip up the dark part and start my torch using my striker. Finally get the torch started, adjust the flame, and bring it back to my piece to start (oh! after I flipped down my dark visor, that is) only to see that in the meantime, my solder has fallen off again. Turn off torch, take off visor. Hunt around my charcoal block for errant piece of solder. Repeat.

I think I did this whole try-to-solder-only-to-realize-that-the-solder-flew-away-in-the-meantime routine a good 20 times. And that’s not to mention the few times where it actually was still there by the time I got around to applying my big bad flame. Only to have the wind from the torch blow it off my piece. Chalk up another 10 or so failures to my 20 above.

There was much swearing though I managed to remain admirably calm through this utterly absurd routine. I actually used up the entire flint on my striker (and I didn’t have another) and had to make a run to the hardware store to buy a new one. The new one, unfortunately, is just as hard to use as the old one. Blast!

In the end, I reigned triumphant.

Art Deco-inspired palladium pendant with diamonds and a sapphire drop

There’s got to be a better way. Perhaps using a little flux won’t actually end life as we know it on this planet. Because I see this deco piece as a pair of earrings with pearl drop dangles. (Oh yeah!) I will figure this out.

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