Professional Jeweler Archive: Cuff Links that Won a Spectrum Award

October 2004

Professional Bench/Manufacturing Up Close


Cuff Links that Won a Spectrum Award

How Foredom's tools and accessories made the difference


1. These cuff links by Bill Holman won an American Gem Trade Association 2004 Spectrum Award. The 18k yellow gold links feature drusy agates with a 24k deposition layer over the exposed crystal. The accents are 1.50mm diamond-cut round sapphires.

In this article, Holman shares the details of his approach to making these cuff links and how Foredom’s tools, equipment and accessories influenced the result.
2. Holman first fashioned a slab of wax to the required thickness and scribed a guideline of the shape. Using the Foredom AllSet™ Model-Maker’s Milling Assembly, he cut and shaped the wax.

Holman’s Milling Assembly is driven by the Foredom TX flexible shaft, and he uses a standard #30 handpiece. The versatile milling assembly can be set up in many ways to accomplish a variety of tasks, from wax carving and drilling to grinding, precision cutting and more.
3. Using the Model-Maker’s Milling Assembly, Holman removed the central part of the wax to accommodate the center stone. He also shaped the outside dimensions to his guideline.

In this photo, he used a modified setting bur and the milling table to create the channel for the sapphires around the perimeter of the wax.
4. After prefinishing the castings, Holman created bearings for the sapphires in the cuff link channels using the Foredom AllSet Adapter Kit with his #52 Quick-Change handpiece. Shown is the #52 handpiece (A) with the mounted adapter nosecone (B), the channel guide (C) and the bearing bur (D).
5. Holman used a small 70&Mac251; bearing bur and the channel guide with the AllSet attachment. He adjusted the AllSet for the height of the bearing on the channel wall; the diameter of the bur controlled the depth of the cut into the wall. This gave him a symmetrical and ideal bearing for his diamond-cut sapphires. He placed the channel guide on the top of the cuff link and burred the bearing around each side of both pieces.
6. Next Holman fit the sapphires into the bearings and hammered the walls using the Foredom Micro Motor Stone Setting/Engraving Micro Motor. Notice the channel walls are angled. He positioned the modified setting anvil on top of the angled wall, adjusted the handpiece for light impact, then hammered the metal downward to further secure the sapphires.
7. Because the impact surfaces of the channel walls are narrow, Holman modified one of the Foredom setting anvils by reducing its face. To do this, he secured the anvil (E) with the holding device that comes in the Micro Motor kit and ground it to meet his specifications using the variable speed Foredom Bench Lathe (F).
8. Holman fit the center gems to the bezels and made necessary adjustments. He used the Foredom Micromotor Stone Setting Hammer handpiece to hammer the bezel walls to secure the gems.
9. To remove tool marks, Holman used Foredom Ceramic Polishing wheels. They come in six color-coded grits ranging from coarse (120 grit) to super fine (1500) grit.
10. After removing tool marks and smoothing them with the super fine (1500) ceramic wheel, Holman polished the cuff links with a stitched buff and Foredom Blue Polishing compound. After cleaning, he finished with a loose cotton buff and Foredom Platinum White compound, which produces a deep luster and is 8000 grit.

By Mark B. Mann
Technical Contributions by Bill Holman, Holman Design Group, Dallas, TX

Bill Holman of Holman Design Group is a 30-year bench veteran and a JA Certified Master Jeweler. He specializes in repair, design and custom orders and produces a line of one-of-a-kind originals for resale. Holman can be reached at (972) 702-0606.

This article is sponsored by Foredom, Bethel, CT. For information on Foredom tools, equipment and accessories, contact Michael Zagielski at (203) 792-8622 or sales@foredom.com.

Illustrations by Lainie Mann
Photographs by Mark B. Mann
Visual Communications, Inc. © 2004

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications