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Gluing dichroic glass to silvers

I have noticed that when I glue a glass cab to a fine silver base
with E6000 glue, NOTHING will remove it. I can soak it and it still
won’t come off. Which is what I want. However, when I use the same
glue and glue it to a sterling silver base, the glass can be pulled

Does anyone know why?

I made the fine silver base with Silver Art Clay. I thought that
maybe the surface was rougher, so I tried scraping the sterling base
before gluing. It still pulled off. I’d love to know why I would
also like to know how to keep the glass “permanently” on a sterling
silver base.

Many thanks to anyone who can help!!

Linda in Virginia

Could this be that the surface of the PMC is rougher, more porous at
the microscopic level than the Sterling (I am assuming a sheet
material) which has had the surface compacted and smoothed through
rolling or other manipulation. It would tend to be far smoother than
the PMC material. The rougher surface of the PMC would give far more
texture for the glue to adhere to at the microscopic level. Just a
though. I am curious to see what others say too.



To remove the glue from the glass or any stone, you can use rubbing
alcohol, denatured alcohol, or if that does not work a product called
Attack which is made from the Hughs Company. You can purchase it from
Rio Grande or other supply companies. As to why the glass is not
sticking to the two different metals, I’m not sure. Maybe your not
letting it set for 24 hrs, or the surface is dirty. Try sanding the
surface of the metal first, then clean with alcohol to make sure
there is no oil residue on both the silver and the glass. Make sure
you have a clean piece of glass, you don’t want any shelf primer
stuck to it. This can be removed by soaking the glass in vinegar and
warm water, then scrubbing with brass or steel brush until the
primer comes off. With PMC, make your glass first then imbed the
piece into the clay and form a slight bezel, the clay will shrink
around it and give it a good hold, you can refire glass quite a few
times. If you find these procedures don’t work, you will want to
fully bezel or prong your pieces for a good hold. I hope this helps
you. Please let me know if this helps you.

Good Luck
Carol Whitelaw

Linda, You can depletion gild the sterling base before gluing the cab
to raise the fine silver to the surface to be glued. It works the
same way as with depletion gilding gold (if you’re familiar with
that). Basically, you repeatedly heat the piece with the torch, then
pickle and lightly scrub with brass brush to remove the copper oxides
until the process yields no further copper oxides when heated.
That’s how you know you’re done. The resulting surface will look
bright white and “powdery” while retaining its sheen.

Lightly scuffing that surface is highly recommended to provide tooth
for the glue.

Hope this helps,
Karen Goeller
Hand-crafted artisan jewelry


There is a product (I get it from TruValue) called Welder, it comes
in a silver looking tube. It can be used to glue a car bumper on.
It is clear and has some flexibility I use it to adhere enamels and
plexiglas. Even when I used to do outdoor shows, the sun shining
hard on both parts causing extensive expansion, they have never come
apart or move. Pat DIACCA Topp

Hi Linda,

There are two things that you can try to make your dichroic glass
cabochons stick to sterling silver. It’s most likely that between
the texture of the PMC setting and the texture on the back of the
cabochon, if there was any, that there was sufficient texture to make
the E6000 glue stick well. On the sterling setting, if it was smooth
and the back of the cabochon was also smooth, it wouldn’t have much
to grip on to. You say that you texturized the silver but did you
texturize the cabochon as well? Both surfaces need to be roughed up
a bit in order for it to adhere properly.

The other thing you could do is use a 2-part epoxy. I really don’t
care for the E6000 glue and we tend use only 2-part epoxy. We use it
on some bracelets that we make and we have great success with it. I
think we’ve only had two cabs ever come off and that was because the
bracelets were dropped on to hard floors a few times. We don’t rough
up the bases or the cabs when we use the epoxy although it would
certainly make the adhesion even better.

I hope this helps. Since you are using dichroic glass, you should
stop by our website and take a look at our cabochons. (Shameless
plug, I know!)

Nancy Stinnett, Owner
Geosoul Arts
(702) 436-7685

PMC/Silver Art Clay is very porous on a microscopic basis. Scraping
rolled silver sheet will not give you the rough surface anything
like you have on the sintered silver. You may want to try
sandblasting the sterling where you are going to bond it with a very
fine grit (240 or so). That will give you a roughened toothed surface
that glue can get a hold of. This technique is used in the dental
field for various dental appliances.

A2Z Metalsmith Supply Inc
5151 S Federal Blvd Unit I-9
Littleton CO 80123
720 283-7200

Replying to Linda Greene’s question,

I think the Silver Art clay (and PMC) produce a very grainy surface
with a lot of “tooth” for the E6000 to hold on to. When you make a
piece with sterling sheet you have a much smoother surface.

I can’t see any other reason based on the copper in the sterling or
any chemical reason.

Using any adhesive in jewelry is really an art, it’s not an exact
science. There are a lot of variables, many of which are not
obvious. There is a Silver Art Clay forum on my firm’s web site. You
might find some of the postings there useful. You can see it at


Have you tried depleting the sterling (“bringing up the fine
silver”) before gluing?


I think porosity is (literally) the key here…PMC is far more
porous on the microscopic level than rolled or forged silver,so the
glue will adhere to these irregularities… Steve Holden

Dear Nancy: I’ve been working in dichroic glass for 8 years now &
have had good success w/ the E6000 as long as it’s allowed to set
for 24 hrs undisturbed. I am, however, interested in knowing which
2 part Epoxy you use as I’d like to give it a try…

Regards, Audie’s Images-

Hi Linda! This is my first reply to the forum, therefore I have to
ask You to excuse:

  1. My english, which has gotten a little “rusty” over the years

  2. My very limited knowledge in the field of goldsmithing.

As an M.D. and (from the end of next week on - finals are almost
over! ;-)) dentist, thought, I can provide some knowledge in the
field of glueing, since dentists do that a whole lot! :wink: Glueing
itself has only very seldom to do with effective covalent binding,
but - in the vast majority of cases - is mere mechanical retention.
Like flies walking around on windowpanes, glueing uses the
microscopic irregularities in order to hold on to them. It’s quite
amazing, if one imagines what forces can be built up through mere
"undercuts" on the microscopic level, if You think of e.g. wings of
airplanes being glued to the body before being fixed a little more
reliably. :wink:

I don’t know the type of glue You’re using, but I suppose that it
works on an acrylate basis. Most fast-setting glues are. These reach
very fast setting times and extraordinary bonding strengths, but the
all are susceptible to solvents like acetone. If You’re aiming at a
"fool-proof" bond, I’d rather try with some clear epoxy resin - but
beware! - over time these might turn yellowish, therefore, as a
general rule in glueing: Use strictly as little glue as necessary. In
fact, the weakest link of the “glueing chain” is the glue itself! If
You apply too much glue, the object might come off - not, because the
glue let go of the objects to be bonded (…since it still has a dead
grip on it, even after your object has come off…), but because the
layer of glue has torn in itself. Try to keep that weak link the
thinnest and therefore strongest possible, ok? :wink:

The reason Your fine silver works bond better with the glue than
Your sterling parts most probably is the porosity derived from the
clay-process. When the clay sinters, the matrix around the silver
metal will evaporate, leaving microscopic gaps, which only partially
will be filled with the (almost) molten silver. It is exactly this
porosity, which the sterling sheet lacks, since forged or compressed,
which provides the “super-retention” You have described.

So how can You glue to Sterling, when not using the clay method? In
dentistry, we use various acids in order to create a retentive
surface. I would suggest doing that as well in Your case. You could
even slightly etch the glass with F-acid (I don’t know how it’s
called in English, it’s the acid formed of fluor) in a low, I repeat!

  • l-o-w, concentration. 2-4% will do. Apply it only gingerly, and
    leave it on for 60 sec., after which you spray it off with abundant
    water and dry it thoroughly. (obviously, drying is another very
    important step in glueing, since virtually every glue used in
    commerce is hydrophobic - therefore won’t bond with wet surfaces.
    it’s a question of surface-tension…)

For etching the sterling, You’ll have to ask the experts, which are
generously represented here at orchid. Most probably it’s enough if
You etch the copper in the sterling a little, e.g. with sulfuric
acid. You don’t have to achieve a visual etching effect, notabene,
You’re aiming at micro-retention, and for that just a little (couple
of minutes or so) is plenty.

In any case, etching will give You by far the better retentive
surface than any kind of grinding - an alternative, though, might be
to treat the area to be glued with a sandblaster. That’s quite
retentive too, but not as good as etching.

So long, I hope that my babble has been somewhat conclusive for You
and wish You lots and lots of inspiration and success,

Yours sincerely,
Emanuele Campagna

Hi Audie. I don’t have a particular brand that I stick with for
2-part epoxy. The important thing is to get the 2-part epoxy that
has both sides in one tube so that as you squeeze it both parts come
out equally. I have found that if you use separate tubes it is very
difficult to get the exact same measurements. This can lead to
problems with the epoxy such as not hardening the way it should or
simply not sticking at all. I use any brand of 2-part epoxy that has
the 2 sides in the same tube and I’ve had success every time. The
hardening time is purely personal preference. I use the kind that
sets in 5 minutes.

Nancy Stinnett, Owner
Geosoul Arts
(702) 436-7685