Backing Turquoise

What is backing turquoise and why do I do it?

Adding a backing material to turquoise material is nothing unusual.  It’s an industry standard and there are some good reasons to do it.  Turquoise is a softer stone prone to breakage in a piece of jewelry.  Some people can be very hard on their jewelry (myself included) and their pieces might get inadvertently whacked on things.  The backing on the turquoise makes the stone better able to handle this with less breakage.  And as a metalsmith when I’m setting a stone wrapped in metal there is some force that must be applied.  Again in this instance the backing helps protect the stone.  So Azoho is perfectly happy to add this step when making turquoise cabochons- whether they stone is to be used in one of my pieces or another jewelry maker’s.

Backing Turquoise Process
The backing is curing on a tray on this Nevada and Mojave Turquoise.

 

Let me explain the process.  It’s goopy. It’s a mixture of a steel epoxy and stuff that gets measured out and mixed much like one would mix a two part epoxy or resin.  Once it’s mixed it’s time to apply it to prepared pieces.  The prepared pieces have already been through the saw.  Goopy stuff applied and then it’s put into a tray with wax paper.  This ensures a nice flat bottom.  It’s allowed to set up and cure then it’s ready for the next step.

Next I want to trim away the excess.  No need to use diamond from a saw blade or a wheel.  I use a pair of gardening shears from the dollar store.  Heavy duty and it works.  Each piece is trimmed around the cab.  Then it’s ready to dop.

Dopping is when you attach the stone to a handle.  I use nails and CA Glue.  I let that sit overnight to cure- then it’s ready for the lapidary machine.  These will be cabochons soon ready for use in jewelry.

And that’s the process in a nutshell.

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