The Zun Cluster

First the round silver wire bracelet shank is constructed. A plate of 24 gauge silver is used to form the base for the rosette or cluster o1 smalt bezels.

To make all the bezels in a row uniform, a nail or bolt is ground or filed to a particular shape -- oval, round or drop - and the bezels shaped around this form or jig. The bezels are of 28 or 30 gauge silver strip about I/8 inch wide. One edge is filed with a checkering file. After all the bezels are soldered onto the plate, the cluster is sawed out around the edges and then soldered onto the - bracelet.

The small stones are dopped onto small birch wood meat skewers and cut to fit the bezels. Frequently a copper template is cut by sawing and filing holes the same size as the jig tools and the bezels. The stones are then uniformly cut to fit the template holes. After the stones are cut and polished, they are removed from the sticks and the wax cleaned off with cheap rubbing alcohol {isopropyl}. The stones are then carefully set. A small thickness of paper is put under the thin ones to make them all the same height. The bracelet is then polished.

Usually a bracelet it made up of one large and two small dusters.

The simplest type of cluster

A long cluster ring

The popular Zuni cluster squash blossom necklace

Cluster watch band

Petit point , or needlepoint , is the term given To a very popular type of Zuni jewel ry made up of groups or clusters of small stones. Zuni clusters are used in all kinds of jewelry - rings, bracelets, necklaces, pins, etc. The smaller the stones, the more valuable the jewelry is considered.

The technique used in the construction of this jewelry is the opposite from most, in which the metal is designed and constructed around the stone. With this type, al) the silver work is done first and then the stones are cut to fit the bezels. Usually the stones are so small the setting is made easier by the use of serrated bezels.

A needlepoint bracelet

Earrings and pins of very long stones

Two petit point pins with stones so small they were cut on the ends of round tooth-

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