Friday, February 6, 2015

My Trials of Setting a Stone in a Bezel or Success is Sweet

Front of Pendant or Back of  Failed Pendant Described Below

This is a story about my trials, frustrations and successes of making a pendant from Goldie Bronze metal clay and setting a stone in bronze bezel wire. Many of you won’t be interested in the details here but I’m hoping it gives you an idea of all the stages and work that goes into making a piece. 

Last weekend I decided to make a pendant, finish it and then solder a bezel for the stone.  I practiced wrapping the bezel wire around the stone, cutting the edge straight and soldering the edges together.  Then I practiced soldering a bezel on a piece of sheet metal with my acetylene torch.  It melted the bezel.  I changed to a butane torch and that worked. 

I tried to solder the bezel to the finished bronze pendant with bronze solder and melted the bezel.  

Next I moved to silver solder and that did not work either.  It was time to go to FaceBook and ask my jewelry buddies for help!  I finally decided (right or wrong) that the bronze from the clay was too porous and I just needed to embed the bezel wire into the clay and fire it in place. 

The picture above is the finished pendant with no bezel and no stone!  I’ve learned that sometimes I can salvage one of my experiments by thinking ahead!  This time I textured one side (originally to be the back) and was able to use it as the front of this necklace. 

Back of the new pendant (or front of the failed pendant - no bezel and no stone)
Monday night I started on a new pendant.  This time I placed the bronze bezel in the clay being careful not to push it all the way through the clay. I detailed with flowers and vines, made a plaster place holder for the stone so the clay did not shrink too much. 


Bronze bezel wire, place holder, stone
 Everything was dry and I placed the piece on carbon to fire for 30 minutes.  When it cooled I covered it with another layer of carbon and fired it again for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Tuesday morning I took the piece out of the kiln and the clay shrank pulling the bezel away from the clay.  I removed the center and the bezel and am wondering how I will use what is left! 

No Bezel and No Backing for Stone
How to use this?
Not one to give up easily, I started on another pendant Tuesday night.  This time I set the bezel wire, detailed the piece and placed the dry pendant on another layer of clay.  Put the place holder in and repeated the Monday night process.  This time it worked! 

Bronze Pendant with Mojave Stone

Success is sweet!

Friday, February 6, 2015

My Trials of Setting a Stone in a Bezel or Success is Sweet

Front of Pendant or Back of  Failed Pendant Described Below

This is a story about my trials, frustrations and successes of making a pendant from Goldie Bronze metal clay and setting a stone in bronze bezel wire. Many of you won’t be interested in the details here but I’m hoping it gives you an idea of all the stages and work that goes into making a piece. 

Last weekend I decided to make a pendant, finish it and then solder a bezel for the stone.  I practiced wrapping the bezel wire around the stone, cutting the edge straight and soldering the edges together.  Then I practiced soldering a bezel on a piece of sheet metal with my acetylene torch.  It melted the bezel.  I changed to a butane torch and that worked. 

I tried to solder the bezel to the finished bronze pendant with bronze solder and melted the bezel.  

Next I moved to silver solder and that did not work either.  It was time to go to FaceBook and ask my jewelry buddies for help!  I finally decided (right or wrong) that the bronze from the clay was too porous and I just needed to embed the bezel wire into the clay and fire it in place. 

The picture above is the finished pendant with no bezel and no stone!  I’ve learned that sometimes I can salvage one of my experiments by thinking ahead!  This time I textured one side (originally to be the back) and was able to use it as the front of this necklace. 

Back of the new pendant (or front of the failed pendant - no bezel and no stone)
Monday night I started on a new pendant.  This time I placed the bronze bezel in the clay being careful not to push it all the way through the clay. I detailed with flowers and vines, made a plaster place holder for the stone so the clay did not shrink too much. 


Bronze bezel wire, place holder, stone
 Everything was dry and I placed the piece on carbon to fire for 30 minutes.  When it cooled I covered it with another layer of carbon and fired it again for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Tuesday morning I took the piece out of the kiln and the clay shrank pulling the bezel away from the clay.  I removed the center and the bezel and am wondering how I will use what is left! 

No Bezel and No Backing for Stone
How to use this?
Not one to give up easily, I started on another pendant Tuesday night.  This time I set the bezel wire, detailed the piece and placed the dry pendant on another layer of clay.  Put the place holder in and repeated the Monday night process.  This time it worked! 

Bronze Pendant with Mojave Stone

Success is sweet!