How to Make Oval Bezel Earrings Part 2
On my last blog post, I started making a bezel, actually 2 of them, for a pair of oval stone earrings. The stones I am using is fairly small, 6x4mm Red Coral Oval Cabochon. I went about this a little differently than I usually do, just to show another possibility and stir up some creativity. let me explain…..
The more common way of making a bezel is to bend the silver bezel sheet around the stone, solder the bezel closed, file the bottom of the bezel flat, then solder the bezel onto a flat sheet to make the base and clean it up. I have done it this way many times, and in fact it is a little easier, but I decided to show another technique which is a little more difficult, but I prefer to do it this way for the fact that after the piece is polished, there is less chance of seeing a solder line on the side of the bezel, and if there are any soldering pits that show up, they will show up on the back side of the piece instead of the side. So let’s get on with the process.
When I left off last, I had just got done cutting the oval shaped pads, or silver bases, and had just started to shape the sterling bezels. I am using silver sheet that is approx 26 gauge or 0.40mm in thickness. When I shaped the bezels, I left them a little long so I can slowly trim them to shape. Here is where I take a little time to trim the excess off with a pair of Flush Cutters, shape the bezel a little more with a pair of Half Round/Flat Pliers, and a Fine Snap-On Disc. I trim a little, check the fit, sand a little, check the fit, massage the bezel a bit until it fits closely. Once it is where I like it, I make sure the joint to be soldered is flush and flat with no gaps.
Next I solder the bezels together with Hard Silver Solder. I use Hard because once it is soldered together, I can use lower melting temperature solder later to and this solder joint won’t gets pits or open up.
Once the bezel is soldered together, I file the inside of the solder joint with a #4 Crossing Needle File, and then use a Small Split Mandrel with 600 Grit Sandpaper to clean up the scratches in my Foredom.
I next cleaned the pieces and fitted the oval bases inside the bezels. I want a fairly tight fit and can file the edges of the oval discs if needed, but in this case, the pieces fit perfectly. I set the bases inside the bezels and leave just a little excess bezel past the bases, for clean-up, so I can file the back flush. I solder with Easy Silver Solder so I don’t “un-solder” the bezel solder joint. I solder slowly and am careful not to overheat the piece. I make sure the solder penetrates the whole edge and solders completely.
After the pieces are soldered together, I file the excess off the back and make it flush. I also file the solder seam on the side of the bezel. I reduce the height of the bezel as well and get it prepped to set. I don’t want the bezel too high, because the higher the bezel, the more work it is to set the stone and the more of the stone it will cover.
I will stop here and on the next post, I will solder the posts onto the piece, set the stones and polish the earrings.
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