Backed Turquoise


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Bisbee turquoise slabs with Devcon backing
Bisbee turquoise slabs with Devcon backing

Backing is necessary for both stabilizing the stone and providing a flat surface for mounting the stone in a setting.  Above is a block of mostly Bisbee Turquoise, which has been freshly backed in epoxy. I use Devcon Steel Putty to back my turquoise.

The process is as follows:

  • A sheet of plate glass is covered with wax paper and taped down to provide a smooth surface.
  • Devcon steel putty is mixed, using the 2 part epoxy and hardener.
  • Devcon is spread on the wax paper as a thin film.
  • The slabbed turquoise is “buttered on the back” and then placed on the thin film
  • If possible, thin lines are drawn between the stones to aid in separating the stones after the Devcon cures for 24 hours.
  • The stones are then cleaned up and shaped on the cabbing machine.  A respirator mask is worn when grinding and shaping the stones, as the Devcon dust is dangerous if inhaled.

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