Making The Philosopher’s Stone (Jewelry Tutorial)

11 Dec

The Philosopher’s Stone wasn’t invented just for Harry Potter, you know! It has existed since the ancient Hindu people told of a magical element that could turn all metals it touched into gold, as well as grant immortality and raise the dead! It could probably also change your tires and give you an oil change while it served you pina coladas on a beach!

At the end of his life, Mozart collaborated on a fantastical opera called “Der Stein der Weisen” (The Philosopher’s Stone). Not all of his contribution to this piece is known, but they have identified at least 30 mins of music (much of it is duets with cats). This history, however, can be discussed in another post. Right now, let’s talk about the opera.

When a dispute arose between the two sons of the Wise Philosopher over possession of The Philosopher’s Stone, the Wise Man threw the stone into the sky where it was carried away by an eagle. The eagle would only return  when the Wise Man’s sons, either Eutifronte, the evil god of the Underworld, or Astromonte, the benevolent god of the Sky, had a child, and that child had a need for the stone.

Needless to say, there arises all sorts of trouble when many years later, Eutifronte, evil god of the Underworld, arms a teenage boy to the hilt (with an evil sword of dooooom!) and sends him on a quest to murder the sky god, Astromonte, who has mysteriously carried off the boy’s girlfriend. This opera is essentially anime or manga set to music.

Well, I am currently planning and constructing the “Der Stein der Weisen” props and costumes for my future photoshoot, and today I decided to Build a philosopher’s Stone.

My basic ideas were inspired by Twisted Sister Arts on Etsy an Illinois based wire-weaving jewelry maker. I wrote to her about my project, and though she was very busy with commissions she recommended her tutorial article in the current issue of “Step by Step Wire Jewelry Magazine” (Dec/Jan. Page 34).

A Twisted Sister Necklace:

A Necklace Designed by Twisted Sister Arts on Etsy

So I gathered together some supplies, and dumbed-down what I learned from her tutorial to my skill level! I very seldom make jewelry. I find that I never am able to create what I imagine, and it’s always easier for me to purchase finished items. The Philosopher’s Stone needs to be unique in a number of different ways, however, and it I knew from the beginning it would need to be custom made.

Here is the process I went through to make my Philosopher’s Stone!

Blue Moon beads, Large Crystal, Small Fiberoptic Gem, Two different gauges of Wire

Step 1. – Gathering Supplies

  • Blue Moon Beads – Package of two sizes of silver metal beads
  • Large Crystal
  • Blue Fiber Optic Gem
  • 22-Gauge Silver Copper Wire
  • 16-Gauge Silver Copper Wire

Last Spring,  I found a Large Crystal at the Museum of the Rockies, and I thought it would make a nice Philosopher’s Stone. It has a basic “I’m just a rock” quality, while still remaining unique and interesting, unlike a rock you’d find in the garden — which would probably be boring, and just make fun of your fat mother all the time.

Today, I gathered together some of my wires, and bought some beads and a very interesting Fiber Optic Gemstone that looks like light is shining through it no matter where it’s placed. (It even has a very faint glow in the dark!)

I wanted a double gem quality, as if the stone is some sort of sci-fi/fantasy machine that joins Earth and Sky.

The first step is Basic Weaving.

Step 2. Weaving

  • My first step was to take a 28″ length of 16-Gauge Silver Copper Wire and fold it in half.
  • I then cut a 14″ length of the same wire, and placed it in the center of the folded wire. I left a few inches of a tail hanging over the bottom.
  • Next, I cut an unmeasured  length of 22-Gauge Silver Copper Wire (I pulled it to the length I would when threading a needle, around a yard)
  • I wrapped the smaller wire around the base of the thicker wire, and then began a basic weave (over/under) around the three 16-Gauge strands.

Every ten coils, I placed some tiny metal beads on the line.

Step 3 – Beading, and Weaving

  • Every ten coils (I think one made it to eleven) I placed the small sized beads on the 16-gauge lengths of wire.
  • I then continued weaving. (If the 22-gauge wire ran out, I just curved it discreetly into place on the line, and started again with a new length.)

After the eighth line of beads, I split the wire, and started weaving only to lines.

Step 4. – Splitting the Weave

  • After the eighth line of beads, I split the wire (2 strands to one side).
  • I started weaving the smaller wire around only two strands of the thicker wire.
  • I continued adding beads every ten coils.

After the 4th line of beads, I split the wire again, and continued wrapping only one strand.

Step 5. – Finishing the weave

  • After 4 more rows of beads, I split the wire again.
  • I continued wrapping the single 16-gauge wire until I ran out of 22-gauge wire.
  • I left the other two strands hanging.

Moulding the Wire to the stone and gem.

Step 6. – Moulding the Wire to the Stone and Gem

  • I then took the woven wire and played around with it until I found a mould around the stone and gem that I liked.
  • I left the long ends hanging, roughly coiled into spirals.

A rough arrangement of wires and stones, beads added to coil tips.

Step 7. – Arranging the stones and wire, capping the coils.

  • I finalized my arrangement choices. (Some of the tail ends coiled over and under the woven strands.)
  • I  tightened the coil ends, capping them with small beads. (I don’t solder, so I used a hot glue gun. Lame, I know.)
  • I put the stones in place and (again) hot glued the metal to the crystal.

The Crystal proved to be so heavy, and my Jewelry experience so limited, that I just hot glued the metal weaving to the rock as an easy fix to the setting.

The Philosopher's Stone Front View

Step 8. – Finalization

  • I added another “s” coil of capped wire to finish it up.
  • Finished!

While I’m done with the wire work, I may decide to add a charm or two at some point in the future. If that happens I’ll update this post!

Philosopher's Stone Side View

So, that’s what I came up with! It has none of the elegance or craft of the designer that inspired it, but as a prop I think it looks sufficiently fantastical.

When it makes it to the photo shoot, it may be attached on a chain, or something. I’ll decide that when the time comes. For now, I’m going to put this Philosopher’s Stone in a box, throw it into the sky for the eagle (He’ll bring it back when I need it!), and start planning the costumes!

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