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Bezel Setting for Ivory Carved Pendant


#1

I have been asked to set an ivory carved pendant for lady from whom I
buy It is a very detailed carving of an Indian elephant.
It has a flat back and was previously set in what looks like a coin
mounting, and was chemically bonded. The piece is circular, about 1
1/2" across and carved virtually to the very edge of the pendant so I
have only abut 1/16" of uncarved ivory for any kind of bezel to rest
against (does that make any sense ) This pendant is almost like this
lady’s good luck charm and while I am honored that she has asked me
to do something with it for her I’m also fearful that I will mess
it up.

Now for my problem: I am very new to metal smithing working in
coppre, brass and sterling. I have about 2 years experience and have
bezel set many stones using bezel wire. I think my design idea
exceeds my capability, so I need some advice from your vast
experience. My idea is to set this in such a way that it is
reminiscent of the Taj Mahal: the back plate would be dome shaped at
the top, textured, etc. I would like to use beaded wire rather than
purchased bezel wire to set the elephant, but I’m not comfortable
that I know how to make sure the wire is snug enough against the
elephant to ensure that it won’t fall out. I plan to cut out the
area behind the elephant and leave only a very small “ledge” for the
elephant to lay on and had thought that I might need to chemically
bond (glue) the elephant to the plate just for extra security.

I’m open to other suggestions but really really need your help. Is
the beaded wire a good idea? Should I use something else, and if so
what Do anyone need a picture of the pendant to give me some
advice?

Oh, did I tell you she gave me this last night and would like it
completed so that someone else can make it into a necklace before
she goes to Tucson on Jan 22? I don’t want to discuss the part about
her having someone else make the necklace because then it will
become a rant and I really do want to make this pendant.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you, thank you.
Carolyn


#2
The piece is circular, about 1 1/2" across and carved virtually to
the very edge of the pendant so I have only abut 1/16" of uncarved
ivory for any kind of bezel to rest against.

You might approach this by making a wider heavy bezel, cutting it
down to 1/16" except for some longer prongs that are placed and
shaped to fit in with the carving, and setting it with the short
bezel and prongs holding it securely. This could also be done by
soldering prongs to the outside of the bezel, but the one piece
approach is easier in terms of soldering.

M’lou


#3

M’lou

You may want to consider doing it old school. In the old days when
we made a bezel for something like your Ivory carving or most
specificly shell cameos we’d set it from the back.

I’d make the bezel finished in the front with the thinest rim over
the top edge of the stone. Then take a thin piece of flat or
rectagular wire of 999 silver or 24 kt gold and make an underwire
that would be really soft to the size of the stone and push it in
from the back to fit snug up against the stone. I’d use soft metal
so that I could make it shape to the often uneven back edge. Then I’d
raise a few beads from the back on the inside side walls to hold the
under wire in place.

Jo