I’ve made these on and off over the years and thought I’d share with you how I make them if you’d like to give one a try.
Same disclaimer as always.
I’m not a professional.
I don’t endorse any tools or materials, but just let you know what I use.
And last but not least.
I will deny any responsibility for your getting annoyed at the video in a court of law.
I am definitely a make it and figure it out as I go along sort of person. I also forget from one minute to the next what I’m doing. Usually I’m not showing anyone else so I can generally get away with it 😉
I like to put a design on the back of the pieces I make because I think it looks nicer if the necklace turns while someone is wearing it. It also serves the purpose of being able to work the stone out of the bezel setting when I’m making it and for releasing hot air when soldering.
NOTE: I soldered the box edges (the bezel wire) onto a piece of silver. I’m showing you on this larger piece of silver, but I had cut a smaller piece before I soldered the box sides on.
NOTE: Making sure that the flow of silver is continuous on the outside of the bezel wall is relevant to any bezel making. When I first started to make jewelry I used to be disappointed when I could see little pits along the outside of the setting. It took me a while to realize that if I took a little time to make sure I could see a continuous line when the solder flowed to the outside edge my finished pieces would look far better. You can help the solder flow by using your pick to spread it evenly or, if this doesn’t work, it might be that you haven’t enough solder and need to add just a little more. Even if it looks great on the inside it can still be pitted on the outside.
If you find that you need to cut down a piece of bezel wire that is too high for the stone and you have already soldered it onto the silver backing you can mark the sides with a sharpie, adjust a pair of dividers to the amount you want to cut away, and then run the point of the dividers around the bottom of the bezel wire. This leaves a fine line that you can use as a guide to file, or sand, the excess away. To make sure that you have the edge completely flat you can finish it up by then marking the bottom with a sharpie and sanding it in a figure of eight motion on a flat piece of sand paper until all of the sharpie has gone.
I was trying to focus the camera closer to the work and so it doesn’t show that I’m just picking up small pieces of solder with my pick and bringing them back to the small cutouts.
Solder will stick to the end of the pick If you heat up the pick and ball up small pieces of solder at the same time. They have to both be hot. Then you can bring your pick back to whatever you’re working on.
I do the same thing when I’m soldering a ball into place except I replace the pick with the ball. I pick the ball up with a pair of long tweezers and take it over to the solder. The ball is thicker and more solid than the small pieces of solder so the ball has to be heated more before the solder will stick to its bottom. Then you can take the ball back over to the piece you’re working on. If the back plate is as hot as the ball, the ball should solder onto the plate with no trouble. If the plate is not hot enough the solder may come up over the ball. The temperatures have to be the same with anything you’re soldering and you have to bear in mind that each piece, due to its size and thickness, will take different amounts of heat to attain this. Only when both pieces are the same temperature can the solder join them.
I often shield a piece I’m working on with my hands to double check that I’ve got the pieces in the right position for soldering. If the light source is coming from one direction it can be deceptive.
If you’re looking for a shiny surface in the finished piece, obviously you wouldn’t sand the silver as I do. I like a more matt, buffed, look and so this doesn’t affect the finished piece.
You won’t always need to put a stopper inside the box. It just depends on the fit of the stone.
You have to look around the web for the Wolverine Ultra Silver Brazing Flux as it seems to vary in price and availability. I use mine by putting a small amount of it in a smaller jar and mixing it with distilled water until it’s fairly runny. Even though I keep a lid on it the water evaporates out of this very quickly so each time I open it I have to add more water. This seems to work well for me though.
Cross locking tweezers – riogrande.com – #115206
Honeycomb soldering block – riogrande.com – #502005
Soldering pegs – I can’t find where the pegs are sold separately, but you can find some here – riogrande.com – #111039
TIP: Unless you like living on the edge as I do you might want to measure the height of your prongs first 😉
It would have been easier for me in the long run if I’d made up my mind about the small pieces of balled wire that I added at the end before I soldered the box onto the back plate. It’s not a problem to add things afterward, but whenever you solder anything onto a piece after you have added the prongs you have to be very careful not to re-melt the prong solder. I just kept the flame away from that area and kept a good eye on it, but you can coat the areas that you don’t want to be affected with that yellow oxide powder that I used in a previous show and tell. I just forgot about it – again… (riogrande.com – #504080)
As it was I cut the wire to the correct height and held them in place with tweezers using the same technique as with the prongs.
And some older work using the box.
Next up I’m thinking of making some more of these if you’re interested in another show and tell.