Starting with my Sparkling Snow jewelry collection I have begun to create my own bezel jewelry. This means for the last several months I’ve been creating handmade bezels for several stones I’ve been acquiring for years.
But do you want to know a secret? It’s been a few years since I’ve created bezel jewelry by hand, so I’ve had to re-learn some of the steps from high school. Here are a few different lessons I’ve re-learned from the past few months and some tips I’ve picked up for you to use in your custom creations.
Make sure to measure your stones correctly for bezel wire
Getting the right amount of bezel wire is key to creating a properly set stone. Too little, and you’ll need to cut again and you could potentially waste material. Too much and you will have a bezel that’s too big.
Make sure that you properly measure your wire. While I’m not the end-all for this process, I can say that I learned a great process from my friend Courtney at Stone Stop Jewelry Supply. Essentially, you put the wire around the stone and cut a bit extra. Then, anneal it to help get a snug fit to cut down further. Trust me, I’ve made the mistake of wasting bezel wire because I didn’t properly measure my stone more times than I care to admit. This process has helped me not waste any more precious bezel wire.
Make sure you correctly shape your bezel before soldering to the back plate
I can say that I’ve done this before, unfortunately. Even worse, it took trying to get the stone into the pendant for me to realize it. While this is fixable, avid this problem in your bezel jewelry by checking the fit more than once. One tip I learned to help with this is to use dental floss when you place your stone in the setting to help remove it.
So how did I fix the issue once I found it? It took grinding the stone to the correct shape to fix. But I could have also un-soldered or cut off the bezel wire and started all over again too.
Glue is a secret weapon for more unconventional bezels
Lexi Erickson is one artist whose style I admire. She is notorious for making unconventional bezels with prongs that seem to defy gravity. When I asked her what her trick was, she told me it is glue.
Some artists stay away from including glue, but the truth is that for these types of settings it helps ensure your stone stays put. While I wouldn’t recommend placing in every setting, especially if the stone is surrounded by bezel wire, it’s worth considering for more unconventional settings. I use what Lexxi recommends: 330 two-part epoxy. It doesn’t erode stones and it keeps them right where they should be.