Backing thickness

Good Morning,

I have been having trouble with pendants lately. I am using 26ga
material for the backs as well as 26ga fine silver for the bezels. By
the time I have finished the pieces they seem to have too sharp an
edge to them. What are the most common thickness for these types of

Thanks in advance


Personally I use 22ga for the backing plate for nearly everything.
And 24gs for the fine silver bezel walls. This give plenty of room
(thickness) for finishing as well as providing a much sturdier piece.

It is also much easier to inlay the backing plate into the bezel
when using the thicker metal. While you cant really inlay the back
plate if you are going to be adding design elements outside of the
bezel, I think it looks much better over time if you are planning on
just using the bezel alone as there will be no tarnishing on the fine
silver. If you solder the bezel to the plate by placing it on top,
over time you will show a visible tarnish line where the sterling
silver back plate meets bezel wall.

See images for what the 24ga walls look like

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Just saying “pendants” doesn’t really give much of an idea of what
you’re talking about. A sketch of the design or a photo of a piece
would help folks figure out what’s going on.

Elliot Nesterman

Hi Gerry-

When I use sterling sheet I use 20ga. BUT, my material of choice is
the flattened bowl of a sterling spoon. I also choose the thickest
bezel sold by Rio in fine silver. In my opinion for thick cabochons
a heavy setting is lovely. It does however cost considerably more.

Jean Menden

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Gerry- 18-20 gauge.

Hello Gerry,

Weeeellllll, that depends. In general, the larger the piece, the
heavier the gauge.

Earrings where weight is of concern and the piece is usually small,
thinner gauges (like your 26 ga) are probably good. Belt buckle? Use
16 - 18 gauge and maybe plan to add strength with added rim work. I
have good stability for pendants using at least 22 gauge sheet.

Also, I’m talking about sterling work. When working in gold, the
sheet could be thinner gauge because its strength is better; however,
appearance might still dictate something heavier.

Now to see what Orchidians have to say! Judy in Kansas, who failed to
get the Christmas lights up two days ago when the weather was nice.
Too cold and rainy now and for the rest of the week. Maybe later?

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FWIW, I have gradually moved to thicker and thicker silver over the

I now use generally 20ga for backs, 22ga if the piece is small, and
22ga fine silver bezel for anything except the smallest pieces. I
order the bezel from Hoover & Strong.

The economy of using thinner material is not worth it to me, as I
find the thinner sheet harder to work with, and the look and feel of
it is flimsy.

Of course, earrings need to be light, but I prefer to use thicker
backing and cut part out if it seems called for.


–Be a good craftsman; it won’t stop you being a genius.
(Pierre-Auguste Renoir)


Good morning,

Many thanks to those of you that responded to my question about
thickness of backing for pendants etc. It seems the majority
recommend 20ga to 24ga for backing and at least 24ga for bezel. I
will be increasing mine to at least 22ga to 24 ga.

Thanks again. Orchid Rocks!!

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I recently experimented with 4 mm magnetic end caps, made with
sterling tubing & sheet. I found that the thin (24 gauge) sheet
formed a slight indentation during soldering - in essence, it was
sucked into the tube - which complicated finishing to my
satisfaction. Will be using thicker sheet for the nexttrial.

Linda in central FL