Questions & answers

I often get emails from people asking for advice – I’m no master, not by any stretch of the imagination, maybe just approachable.  Anyway, I thought since I typed up the answers, I’d add the questions and my answers here.

Here’s a question/conversation I had this morning:

Question: “I have seen you alot around the forums and I was just wondering what gauge sheet/wire I should get to make my own bezels?”

Answer:  I like thick bezels – something that will frame the stone – I like to use 18g fine silver sheet for these bezels. here’s an example

If the stone is on the smaller size and a thick bezel would overwhelm the stone I will use 20 or 22g all cut from fine silver sheet to the height I need for the stone.

However, there are those pieces that I want the design and stone highlighted, so I’ll use thin commercial bezel like this

I don’t like commercial bezel – it’s just too thin. Recently, I was putting a final polish on a ring before setting the stone in which I used commercial bezel. The polished ‘grabbed’ the piece and sent it flying across the bench, it must have hit something and the bezel was ruined. A thicker bezel would have been scratched, but definitely not ruined.

I have my own rolling mine, so I just buy 18g fine silver sheet and mill it down when necessary. If you don’t have access – order your sheet in various gauges and have them cut it in various widths for you. For example, 20g fine silver – 12 inches long by 1/4 inch wide.

Hope that helps, karen

Question continuation: This is one bezel that I want to do and the other

I dont know if they are the same but they look different.

Thank you so much!

Answer continuation:  Addie (art jewelry) is using commercial bezel wire – no way to tell what gauge, but probably 26/28 gauge.

It’s hard to tell, but I’d guess the Etsy ring may using a bit thicker bezel.

The difference b/w the rings – the etsy ring bezel is too tall for the stone, and the maker folded the bezel over the stone to hold in place. This might be because the maker is inexperienced (bezel still has scratches – yikes) and/or the stone had vertical sides.

The cabochon (art jewelry) is cut to set in a bezel, the base is wider than the top of the stone. So you only have to use enough bezel to get to where the stone starts to curve in.

Question continuation: What would you do if the stone has vertical sides, add some glue? So kinda the right way to make a bezel is the way addie did it.. Is there any good dvds or something I can buy to learn everything, there are no classes around me so I can take.. ugh

What do think is the best way to start out, to use commercial bezel wire or cut your own?

Answer continuation: With vertical sides you just have to make do – no glue. The beach rock ring that I showed you earlier had vertical sides too – that’s why I brought the bezel up to the top of the stone. The Etsy seller’s bezel was probably done the best way it could have been done – but it was sloppy and not finished.

Finishing is at least half the job of making a piece of jewelry, all those scratches and nicks need to be fixed before the ring is done. If you don’t have a rotary tool with a flexshaft – I would highly recommend getting one, I really find them to be invaluable tools.

Get 0, 2 & 4 files [www_riogrande_com] – just an example of what I’m talking about, you really don’t need these expensive files. Get a set of needle files for small places (harbor freight has a perfectly adequate set for about $5), sandpaper in various grits 400, 600, 800, 1000 – if you have a rotary tool get some ‘split mandrels’ – you cut a strip of sandpaper, insert into the ‘split’ and use that to smooth and sand – easy, fast and makes your work look very professional. has quite a few jewelry making dvds you can rent – look for Revere, McCreight, Lansford. I don’t know if Gollberg has a DVD – on smartflix or not, but Joanna Gollberg (might be Joanne), has some great books for beginners, check your library.


~ by khmetalwork on August 14, 2010.

One Response to “Questions & answers”

  1. Great job Karen! You are the most helpful metal-smith I know!

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