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High karat bezel work?



I am getting into high karat gold work and was wondering what the
pros and cons are of using 22k or 24k for bezels on the 18k pieces I
am making.

I have prong & bezel set stones in 14k and know I can do it but the
question came up as to why not softer as in fine silver bezel.

And I love the color of 24k yellow.

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Thanks for your assistance,

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We do all our bezels in 22k. It always sets the stones off much

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140


Working with a 22k gold bezel is a dream. The stuff is just like
butter. The most difficult part is that the butt joint must be fused.
When one is working on a 30ga bezel strip it is very easy to melt.
Here is how I make fusing it a little easier. Take a little of the 22k
gold and mill it down until it is very much like foil. Clip some of
the 22k foil and use it like you would solder. Flux the butt joint and
place the clipped 22k foil at the butt joint with the flux brush. Heat
and the thinner foil will melt just a short time before the bezel
strip. You must take your torch flame off of the bezel as soon as the
foil flows. I hope this works for you.

Cathy Wheless


I’m curious as to why 22K gold bezel has to be fused? Isn’t it
possible to get 22K solder? If it is possible, what are the
advantages of fusing? I’m just starting to work with gold and
appreciate all the help I can get.
Thanks- Alma

The most difficult part is that the butt joint must be fused. 

Great tip for fusing–thanks! But–why must it be fused? I recently
bought some 24k to use for bezels–would this also have to be fused?
Is there a reasom NOT to use 24k?

Thanks again! --Noel


Dear Alma, You can also purchase a 21kt solder from Hoover & Strong
for fabrication work in 22kt, or you can mill out some 22kt sheet into
an ultra thin foil and use in place of solder for fusing. You can reach
them @ Best of luck to you.

   Isn't it possible to get 22K solder? 

You can get it at Hover & Strong but fusing would be a better match
but more difficult

Made By Hand

  Great tip for fusing--thanks! But--why must it be fused? I
recently bought some 24k to use for bezels--would this also have to
be fused? Is there a reasom NOT to use 24k? 

With both 22 and 24 K golds, while you could make, and maybe even buy
(though high karat solders like that are not common) a solder for
these karats, which are virtually the color of pure gold, the solder
won’t match the bezel in either color or importantly, the hardness.
it will be a noticably harder spot. Thus fusing is quite superior.
Besides, it’s easy to do, and costs you less that solders. You don’t
HAVE to fuse anything ever, of course. But when you DO fuse, be it
platinum, or high karat golds, the color and hardness then match the
parent metal, which they don’t always do otherwise. And with high
karat golds, since oxidation isn’t a problem, neither is porosity once
you get the hang of doing it. So there’s little down side. However,
there are at least two reasons not to use a 24 K bezel, in some
instance. First, although the color is wonderfully yellow, 24K gold
is soft as butter. This makes it very easy to set the bezel, but it
also may, in some designs, mean that the bezel may not be as secure,
since leverage or pressure applied to the stone can then push the
bezel away. Not commonly a problem, but with high cabs, for
example… And though it will wear better than it’s softness may seem
to imply, it will still wear away faster than might some of the harder
alloys which are still quite gold rich. A 20K or 22K gold bezel will
last a lot longer than a 24 K bezel will, with almost the same color.
And aside from simply noting that 24K gold is more costly to use than
lower karats, the other argument against it is again based on the
softness. In wear, it will get more deeply scratched, more deeply
dented and dinged, and will generally look a lot more beat up, a lot
faster. With some designs, this end look to the bezel may be desired.
But not always. Keep it in mind.

Peter Rowe


You’d have to double check with Hoover on this, but I believe the
highest karat solder they sell is 21k. I have used it and it works
beautifully. For bezels, however, you are much better off fusing the
seams. It’s not hard to do, just takes a little practice. I’ve
never tried the trick mentioned earlier Re: snipping a piece of very
thin 22k gold and using it like solder, though it sounds interesting.
If your seam is good, however, it will fuse wonderfully without any
added metal. Just watch the seam very closely – 22k doesn’t "flow"
like fine silver, it just seems to fill in the empty space without
melting everywhere else on the bezel.

Neda Nassiri


One advantage to fusing a bezel: You never have to worry about the
solder joint coming apart and you never have to worry about the seam
showing. …Dee.


You all out there should note that Hoover and Strong’s 22k gold does
not always fuse. Please don’t get me wrong. I buy ALL my gold from
Hoover and Strong. They are actually using Jean Stark’s 22k formula
(which we provided them with a long time ago because we were using so
much of it is was cheaper to have them make it up for us) but their
bezel wire in particular does not always fuse properly. Please note
the word always. Sometimes it is perfect. Sometimes it isn’t. My
understanding is that they have been talking with Jean Stark about it,
but have not been able to resolve it. Their 22k wire is very rarely a
problem however and we have no problem fusing that.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140


Daniel has raised a very good point. There are significant problems
with Hoover & Strong’s 22k gold. I’m actually surprised to hear him
say that he has no problem with the 22k wire. I am unable to use
their wire to make loop-in-loop chains, as the fused seam just cannot
stand up to the repeated manipulation required to shape the links and
fit them together. Although the links appear to be fused, they pop
right open once you stretch them a little bit.

Cecilia has spoken with Hoover & Strong about this repeatedly, and
they cannot figure out what the problem is. Although it used to work
well, in recent years there are just too many problems with it.

I have been alloying and milling all of my own gold for making
chains. With respect to granulating and fusing pieces of wire or
sheet to a backsheet, however, their 22k usually works. Recently,
however, the proprietor of Allcraft here in NYC located someone who
is willing to alloy and mill 22k gold (wire, sheet, and tubing) using
Cecilia Bauer’s formula (which is probably the same as Jean Stark’s).
I have not used it yet myself, but Cecilia informs me that it works
beautifully for all purposes. If anyone is interested in this
service, please contact me off-list and I will get the information
for you.

Neda Nassiri