First of all, with the exception of the large pieces on the bottom row, the turquoise in this picture is Bisbee Turquoise from Bisbee, Arizona. Furthermore, people recognize Bisbee Turquoise by it’s red brown host rock. Coincidentally, Bisbee Arizona is 100 miles Southeast of Tucson Turquoise.
Devcon © steel reinforce putty adds strength and also adds a flat surface for mounting the stone. As another benefit, it also adds height to the stone. Consequently, the epoxy portion of the turquoise is usually under the bezel of a piece of jewelry. A disadvantage is that backing adds weight to the cabochon. When purchasing cabochons, the seller establishes the price by weight.
Consequently, the turquoise in the photograph above is on a cookie sheet with wax paper. The wax paper’s purpose is so the turquoise can peel off of the cookie sheet easily. The turquoise pieces with the Devcon © are split. At this point, the next step is the attaching of dop sticks to the separate pieces.
A cabochon is a rough stone cut into convex shapes without facets. The stone is cut in sizes and shapes that best suite the for jewelry layout they wish to achieve. They may be cut to a specific shape and size, or they may cut the cabochon into a Baroque or freeform shape, trying to maximize their yield.
A backing adds strength to the stone. It is usually steel reinforce epoxy, which the craftsman applies to the stone. They use the lapidary techniques of cutting, grinding, and polishing.
These days, more and more people use J.B. Weld ©. The advantage of this type of epoxy is price. The other advantage is that you can mix the exact amount of epoxy you desire to back your stone(s).
Bisbee turquoise is particularly vulnerable because it may have dynamite fractures, as in this piece.
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