Day 17 V-Bezel Pendant

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Ok, ok, After yesterdays V-Bezel illustration, I had quite a few questions and comments about how I would use the bezels and a good application for V-Bezels. Well, you ask, you get.

Over the next 2-3 days I will make a pendant and set a stone using the now “semi-famous” V-Bezel. I found a stone that I have had in my drawer for a while looking for a use for it, well now I have found a purpose for it, so let’s get going.

First, I find a piece of flat silver for the pendant base. In this instance, I use a piece that is 1.25mm thick. I place the stone I am using top down on the silver, (I slightly dull the surface of the silver with a piece of used 1200 grit sandpaper so it will show the tracing better) and hold it in place with a small piece of sticky wax, something that will hold it firm. Once the stone is held down, I use a scribe to trace a light line around the stone. I pull the stone off of the silver and use my Saw Frame with a Saw Blade to cut along the outside of the line. I hold the silver with a pair of Smooth Jawed Parallel Pliers. I file the outside up to the scribed line.

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Once I have the base cut out, I scribe a line inside approx 1.5 mm thick, I drill a hole in the center of the base and load it on my Saw Frame. I cut along the inside up to the line, as close as possible. I use a Barrette Needle File and a Half-Round Escapement File to clean the inside and make it smooth and crisp.

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Now I have the base cleaned up, I roll a piece of silver approx 4mm wide and 0.8mm thick with my Rolling Mill to use as a bezel for the back of the stone. After I roll it to the desired thickness, I anneal it and form it to match the shape of the back of the setting. (If you are unfamiliar with the annealing process, see Day 9’s blog entry) I now solder the bezel to the back of the base that I made. You can see I place the solder in between the bezel and the frame on my Soldering Block. I solder using my Smith Mini Torch with a fairly small flame from the #5 torch tip. (I have drilled out my tip, so it is a little larger than a #5, but a #5 is a good tip) I am using Oxygen (approx 30 psi) and Propane (approx 10 psi) as gas for my torch. (to see how I set up my torch and to safely check for leaks, See Blog Post Day 5)

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Next, I take the V-Bezel that I made in Day 16’s Blog entry and saw off about 4.5mm of it to use as a bezel setting for the point of the stone. I solder it to the point of the setting base while holding it with my Soldering Spring Tweezers with heat protective handles.

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Can you see it starting to take shape yet? A little more massaging and it will come alive….. I found a bail that I have been itchin’ to use as well, seems like the perfect project for it.

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Stay Tuned and I will finish cleaning it up and set the stone in the next days.

Now go make Something Beautiful!


Day 16 V-Bezel Making

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If you are making jewelry long enough, eventually you are going to come across a project with a stone with a sharp corner, either a marquise, pear, or square shaped stone. Today I will demonstrate how I go about making a v-bezel for setting stones.
First, I find either a scrap piece of sheet silver or cut a piece off of some stock. I roll it down in my Rolling Mill to about 0.5mm and then anneal it. If you are unfamiliar with annealing, see Day 9 of this blog.

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I then file a flat edge on one side of the silver and scribe a line approx 2.5mm away from the edge. (longer or shorter if you want longer or shorter bezels.) Once you have a line scribed, use a Square Graver or a Flat Graver at a 45 degree angle to cut a grove into the silver about 2/3 the way through the sheet. After the groove is cut, I run a Square Escapement File along the groove to make it uniform and straight.

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Hold the silver sheet with a pair of Smooth Jaw Parallel Pliers with the grove even with the edge of the pliers and use a Square Prong Pusher to fold the sheet to a 45 degree (or square) angle. I also tap the silver with my Rawhide Mallet or a Plastic Head Jewelers Hammer to make sure it is seated against the other side.

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Next I fluxed the solder joint with Handy Flux and add 3 pieces of small solder, spaced evenly, to the inside of the bezel. Do not use too much solder, you can always add more, but it is a pain if there is too much. I solder from the back side of the bezel with my Smith Mini Torch, to make sure the solder penetrates the solder joint.

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Now measure the finished side and scribe a line along the other side the same width, and cut with your Jeweler Saw Frame. (I use a 3/0 Saw Blade) Again, you can trim the sides either longer or shorter, and use thicker or thinner silver, depending on the application you are using.

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Now trim off the amount you want and solder to your stone seat or pad. Set stones and enjoy!
Have a wonderful day!

Day 15 Silver Tarnish Remover

Silver Tarnish Remover

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Happy Father’s Day!!

Today being Father’s Day and me being a father, I am going to not spend so much time in front of my computer or my bench today, So allow me to give a quick tip, to “Phone one in” so to say.

If you work in Sterling Silver, and have any pieces around that have been sitting for a while, you probably notice they get tarnished and dark, well here is a way to remove the tarnish without taking a polishing wheel or polishing cloth to them.

Take an Aluminum pie pan, add hot water, approximately 2 cups hot water or enough to fill pie the pan. Add 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon Water Softener Powder, You can use Baking Soda as well. (to use a larger aluminum pan, increase the salt, water softener/baking soda, and hot water accordingly) Place pieces (touching) in the water and watch the magic happen.
Be careful with antiqued pieces and pieces with stones! This should only be used with just metal pieces.
Dry off and enjoy!

Thanks again for following along on this journey of mine, I hope you are having as much fun as I



Day 14 Files (Metalsmithing)

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Day 14, let me “Geek-out” a little on tools today. I might have mentioned before, but I am a modelmaker by trade, hence, I pay particular attention to minute detail. I never touch a piece of jewelry without my Optivisor with a #7 lens, and am constantly aware that if I leave a flaw in a piece of jewelry, it will be duplicated over and over again due to the molding process. I will use a Foredom when I have to, but prefer to take a little more time and “massage” the piece by hand, it is my “happy place”. So today, let me show you my arsenal of files:

Large Files:

#2 and #4 Flat Hand File are a must

#2 and #4 Half Round Ring Files for inside ring shanks

Needle Files:

#2 & #4 Barrette File (my all time favorite)

#2 & #4 Crossing File (inside radius stuff)

#4 Equaling File (sizing)

#4 3 Square File

#4 Square File

#4 Round File

Escapement Files:  (smaller than needle files)

#6 Barrette File

#6 Half-Round File

#6 Equalling File

#6 Round File

#6 Three Square File

#6 Square File

There you have it, my Geeked-out list of Top 18 Files I can’t live without.

Now go do something Great!


Day 13 Small Bezels (Setting)


Today let’s look at a quick way to set small stones in a bezel.  For this example I will use a 2mm stone in a tube setting. To start with, I will take a piece of round silver wire approx 2.6mm in diameter. I drill a small pilot hole in the center with a 0.8mm drill, then follow it with a  1.5mm drill bit. Now cut the seat with a 2mm setting bur, not too deep, but deep enough so that the whole girdle of the stone is lower than the top of the bezel. I am holding the silver with a Pin Vise.

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After the seat is cut, what I like to do is take a very small bur that is used up or broken, and take the sharp edges off and polish it with Yellow Rouge rubbed on a piece of paper. rub it on the paper until it is polished to a good shine and has no scratches. Rub this “burnishing tool” on the inside of the setting (the inside of the bezel walls and the inside edge) and take off any sharp edges and polish it.

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Take another broken bit and grind and sand the end to a flat end, this will be your “Stone-picker-upper”. This trick works very nice on small stones, up to 3mm or so. What you will do is take this flat ended bur, MAKE SURE IT IS CLEAN, and touch it to your tongue…… YES, you read that right. Touch the flat end of the bur to your tongue and then take it and touch the table of the stone, the little bit of moisture on the bur acts like a suction, or magnet and will pick up the stone and allow you to place it into the setting. If you are uncomfortable with this, you can always use a piece of soft sticky wax to pick up and place the stone. I have been a stone setter for years, and the tongue is just natural to me, but I always rub the bur off before I touch it to my tongue.

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Now I will introduce you to another hand-made tool. If you have and brass rods around, somewhere around 3-4mm round, and cut a small piece off, about 1 to 1.5 inches long. Take a large ball bur and grind and polish a concave divot into the brass. Make it larger that the bezel setting, place it on top of the setting and gently tap with a small Chasing Hammer, checking it frequently until it is tight, make sure you are not putting too much pressure on the stone.

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Now, finish with a light buffing. Enjoy!