Topics: Metal Clay, Metalsmithing, Bezels

Q.
I want to create a thin metal setting to go around a variety of different stones and crystals ... to make them shape specific in a gold plate or copper color. Do I need to use bronze/copper clay for that or buy a thin sheet of metal and cut it to the stone? If I go with the second idea, will I need a kiln to fire it or can it be glued to seal? Thank you!
- Hillary
A.
Metal clay is very versatile; its easy to shape around components such as stones and crystals. Some metal clay works with fine silver or sterling silver and some stones can be fired in place making it easy to work with the shrinkage factor that is present in all metal clays. There are limitations depending on the type of metal clay you decide to work with. Most crystals and stones do not survive being fired in a kiln so would need to be set into place after the metal clay design is complete. Articles and projects are listed below in the resource section to help you with making choices on which way to approach your design idea.

You can apply copper foil around the stones and crystals and solder the foil. This is called tinning. Then you can patina the solder a copper color. This is a quick and simple way to work with any shape as the foil wraps around the component easily. No kiln or firing is necessary.

You can also make a bezel strip out of fine silver bezel wire cut specifically to the stone or crystal shape, solder the bezel strip closed then finish it off with a bail or ring shank.

View the tutorials below for great instructions on each method to help you make your decision. All methods will look fabulous.

- Kristal Wick, Designer, Author, Jewelry Making Expert and Swarovski Ambassador

Materials

Metal clay method Copper Foil method Silver bezel method ResourcesMetal clay method Copper Foil method Silver bezel method

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