I'm using a small butane torch. It works really great to do one end
of the fine silver, but once the gemstone is on and it's put
through a sterling link bracelet it doesn't ball up on the other
That's because the heat is being drawn away by all that mass. The
only way I've found to make this work (with silver) is to do the
second ball with a tiny, super-hot flame such as you get from a
Little torch or a Meco Midget, which both use fuel/oxy. You still
need to protect your stone by wrapping in wet paper, submerging, or
using a product like Kool Jewel.
One other type of approach that has been mentioned on this forum is
to drill a tiny hole, just big enough for your wire, through mica
and string that on to protect the stone and metal, or try the same
with wet cardboard. I haven't tried these. But I suspect that
without the really hot, small flame, nothing will work.