Now that I have finished the repousse and the bezel for the ammolite, it’s time to start piecing together the brooch. I have to be certain of the layout and how both sections relate to the center fire opal gem. I will accomplish this mostly using the laser welder. The laser has opened up opportunities to create pieces that might not have been possible to create pre-laser. This is due to the fact that I can laser weld metal without heating the entire piece which would be harmful to most gems (including the Ammolite in this piece).
It is very critical that the correct spacing and angle of the two side elements allow the center design section to fit properly. Also this negative space must remain the same during the next several stages.
Lasering Ammolite Brooch Rather than heating it with a torch (which of course would burn away the tape) I use the laser to weld these pieces together. That way I can leave it attached to the silver tape and maintain the alignment. I can then hold it into the “magical laser beam of light ” and it welds the pieces together. I am still amazed that a light beam can reach the 1700° F melting temperature of gold and I can hold it with my hands as I work.
I lay the two design elements on the glue side of wide silver tape. This allows me to adjust and fit the large round fire opal to the proper size opening. Once the correct spacing is achieved two scrap pieces of gold are laid over the excess ends I left of the boarder.
These bars or braces are only temporary until the center section is completed and soldered into place. Then they will be cut away.