Sterling Silver Chai Inlaid with Lapis Lazuli
Sterling silver channel inlay starts with a picture or pattern, onto which strips of sterling silver are pinned in place and then soldered together to for the skeletan of the piece. This is then used as a template for cutting stones to fit in the channels thus formed. The framework is then soldered to a backplate and the shape is cut out with a jeweler's saw. A bale and/or other hardware is fabricated and soldered to the top or back of the piece. Stones are carefully cut by hand to fit in the channels and then are epoxied in place. The stones are ground down to expose the sterling framework and after touch-up filing the whole thing is polished. Chai is the Hebrew word for life, and also for the number 18. It is formed of 2 Hebrew letters, "Hay" and "Yod" and the Chai is often worn for good luck.