I can't tell you what happened. It's a mystery even to me. Yes, I have my suspicions but until I am a more experienced jewelry maker I will have to wait to confirm them.
I'll tell you this for nothing ... I wont be buying any more amethyst for a while.
I didn't like the stone to begin with. It was too big, too uneven, and it had a scratch on the front, (yes, a scratch), a clue to the outcome right there ... but, I had promised it to a friend for her birthday. (Another clue, never promise anything ...).
I suppose really this should be a story about going with your gut and stop being so stubborn, but I'm still too annoyed with the whole thing to admit it.
Long story short. I soldered that @^&@$* piece probably eleven times. I knew it wasn't going to fuse, each and every time I did it. So, why, for the love of God people, did I continue, time and time and time again! We might never know.
I finally abandoned the piece, but not the stone. No, I took out some more silver and started again, determined to make this pendant work, because now it was a fight to the end.
This is when I fell into despair.
Remarkably, however, even then I continued. I even took it to an international level, calling my dad in England for advice and to vent my theories. Dad's not a jeweler but even that didn't deter me from my crazed path for answers.
The madness continued. I went to my daughter's graduation thinking the break would be the answer. I would come back refreshed and with new skills that would enable me to finish the task.
I did finally finish the piece, by which time I hated it. It's big. It's ugly, I had to put prongs over the scratches. It's used up more silver than I care to admit. But! I won! (I think.)
My friend wont be getting it for her birthday.
In fact, I am going to take it to pieces and reclaim the silver the first chance I get - that will teach it to mess with me ...
As for my friend, I bought another stone. Purple because that's her favourite colour. Sugilite - because amethyst is now banned from my studio.
I read on a jeweler's blog once (wish I could find it) that when she had fought with a piece and finally ruined it, her husband told her that she should then, not only make it again, but make it twice. I kind of like that, it fits right in with my stubborn streak. I'm not quite fully recovered to fight with the amethyst again, just yet, but, here are a few other pieces that I managed after got back on the bike, so to speak.