|The difference in gauge between the bezel and the backplate is an important factor when soldering. Don't fry your bezel! Keep the torch on the thicker backplate until you are teetering on the brink of solder flow. Only then play the flame over those thinner bezel walls, and keep that torch flame moving.|
|Tammy Jones is the
editor of Jewelry Making Daily.
I remember being shocked when my wonderful metalsmithing teacher told me that we were going to make a bezel next. Bezels are hard, right?
Not that hard, actually. Intimidating, but not impossible. There are many steps involved in making bezels, but like any other new skill, when you break it down into manageable pieces and learn step by step, it's doable. Having a good teacher there to guide you makes all the difference, but that's not practical for everyone. I think the next best thing is being able to watch an expert jewelry maker walk you through the steps in a format that you can control, stop when you want, watch again when you need to, refer back to it for a refresher.
So I fished through our Jewelry Making Daily archives to find a blog of wonderful bezel-making tips by Helen Driggs, goldsmith extraordinaire. In it Helen outlines the steps involved in making a bezel to set a stone in your jewelry design, from fitting the bezel wire around the stone all the way through to setting the stone in the soldered bezel and polishing it to perfection. But once you've learned to make your own bezels, there'll be no stopping you! You can turn just about anything into jewelry, and the limitations of using manufactured bezel mountings will be a thing of the past.
Check out Helen's bezel-making tips to learn what to look for when choosing a stone to set and how to accommodate special stone features. She also shares how to make your own bezel wire (or bezel strip) out of fine silver wire and great torch-control tips.
Helen's bezel-making tips will whet your appetite for making your own custom bezels and expanding your jewelry-making horizons. Don't stop now; order the Metalwork: Making Bezels for Stones and Found Objects DVD by Denise Peck, editor in chief of Step by Step Wire Jewelry, for step-by-step instructions for making bezels in five easy-to-follow lessons. You'll also learn soldering basics and finishing techniques as well as tips for making bezels and jewelry using just about any object. It's a valuable jewelry-making resource that you'll watch and return to watch again and again.
Have you made your own bezels for your jewelry designs? Share your story below and photos of your work in our Gallery!