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Bezel - Fine silver or Sterling?



I am making a pendant and have a freeform stone which presents a
problem. The sides of the triangular-ish stone (sugilite) have some
beautiful color that I would like to expose. I have cut from 30 gauge
fine silver a bezel in which I have made a deep scallop on three
sides, leaving a small(3mm) wedge in three places to act as prongs.
The stone is about 3/4" on two sides and about an inch or so on the
third side, and at least 1/4" deep, with straight sides.

The advice I need to have is: do you think those three “prongs” will
hold this stone? I am wondering if it would be better to cut a
similar bezel from sterling silver rather than fine silver, and if
so, what gauge should I use? I have not used sterling for bezels
because the fine is so much easier to push over the stone, but this
is a special piece with gold and a couple amethysts so I want it to
be right and not fall apart, but I also don’t want to damage the
stone by having to tap it too hard if I use SS.

Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.

Thanks -
Sue Danehy

I have cut from 30 gauge fine silver a bezel in which I have made a
deep scallop on three sides 

I would urge you to re-make the bezel with thicker fine silver, 22g
or at least 24g. 30 gauge is awfully thin, and is pushing it under
any circumstances, but it is definately not thick enough to hold up
as “prongs”.

I used to always buy thin bezel strip-- 28g-- but I cannot now even
remember why I thought it was a good idea. It shows every lump and
bump, conforming like shrink wrap, and it is too thin to file smooth
or even do much polishing on. Thicker material just ends up looking
better-- and holding better, as well.



Hello Sue

When making a regular bezel I prefer fine Silver bezel. When making
a fancy bezel such as you are describing I find that Sterling bezel
made from annealing Sterling sheet just for the job is much
preferred. Especially with a little deeper stone as you describe. I
also will go to a little thicker sheet such as 26 or even 24 gage as
I find it stronger and it gives a better overall look to the stone
being set. It is a little harder to set as it is stiffer, but if you
take a little extra time and go over it a little slower and longer it
creates a beautiful look. I have a picture of one of my bezels if you
wish to see it you can email me direct. @Karen_Bahr

Karen Bahr
Karen’s Artworx
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


Do you do any casting? What about a wax swirly sort of thing where
the swirls or other small decoration lands on the pertinent points
while leaving the edges open, and possibly setting from the back?