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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Petoskey Stone Wrapping

 Over the last few months I have been busy working on some Petoskey Stone Pendants.  I picked up a quart jar of rough stones.  Since then, I have been polishing and wrapping them.  Some, like the rounded cabochon stone to the left, I wrapped with square wire in a cage.  The stone below is a good way to wrap an uneven stone.

Petoskey Stones are a popular stone here in Northern Michigan.  Tourists especially love them, but they are near and dear to the hearts of us locals too.  They are actually fossils.  They are usually found along the local beaches.  When seen in their unpolished state, Petoskey Stones are a light gray rock that is easily passed up.  It is only when wet or polished that the unique pattern is visible.  Many who hunt them bring along a bucket of water to dip them in to check to see what that stone looks like.
They are polished with sandpaper.  Most dealers and jewelers have a polishing machine that does the job quickly and efficiently. I, on the other hand, polish by hand using three different grains of sandpaper.  I start with #60 to get the stone basically smooth.  Then #220 to really get the pits, bumps and other flaws out.  I end with #600 to fine tune and smooth the stone perfectly.While polishing I have a bowl of water available as it is important to keep the stone and sandpaper wet.  Between each type of paper I wash the stone off thoroughly.

I often think the stone is done, it will look beautiful
while wet.  Then when it dries, I will see all the scratches and other flaws that I missed.  So I keep wetting it and working on it more.  Eventually, when I get the stone the way I want it to be, I use a special polish for stones such as this.  Actually, if you get the stone the way you want it, you don't need any polish, but I like the extra sparkle.  To finish, I use a wool cloth or a piece of old carpet the finish the job.  Then I wash the stone well.  Once it dries, it is ready to wrap.  The stone above is a cage design.

 The flat heart shaped stone above has a special wrap for that type of stone.  Later I will teach how to make these wraps.  The stone to the left has a cute little four bar cage holding it in, topped with a little agate bead.

I am not sure yet whether to sell these as plain pendants or incorporate them into necklaces.  My love of putting together beads will likely lead to them being part of necklaces.

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