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Karat Gold bezel wire for cabachons

I am a silver worker who is just getting into gold. I am trying to
bezel set a heart cabachon onto a 14KYG base but found the 14KYG
strip to be too brittle. This also tells me that it’s probably too
stiff to be safely pushed down around my cab without a lot of force.
Do I use 18KYG bezel wire because it’s closer in color to the 14K?
Or do I use 22K for its malleability?


Hello Penny,

You should be right with the 14k. It should not be too brittle.
Anneal it if you haven’t already.

You can possibly have this problem with certain casting alloys but
not a metal that was malleable enough to roll down into a strip. You
should be careful about the shape the stone is seated into making
sure it is close to perfect. The walls you push across the stone can
be quite thin, but they need to be a uniformed thickness (you thin
them as you go). If you have seated the stone well you should not
have far to push these walls, making sure you have allowed extra
metal over the stone for leverage. The only problems (outside of
very problematical metal) you will have is where the bezel wall is
not even and not annealed. You don’t have to do too much to the
metal for it to matter if it is brittle. You push from the outside,
then out from the stone (after you have filed the excess) to make
the frame look uniformed and clean, then a quick rub from the
outside helps. If you burnish the edges nicely then you only need a
fine emery and polish to finish.

You shouldn’t need 18k, or 22k.


I bezel set with 14k all the time. What gauge is the bezel? I
usually use 28g. but sometimes 26 and for really fragile stones will
use 30. Make sure to anneal and then you can also use a ball bur
inside to thin the bezel where you want it to bend over the stone.
Gold can be so much more fun to work with, it doesn’t transfer heat
as readily as silver and you can concentrate you flame on the area
working this helps in multi element pieces, you don’t have to worry
so much about them falling apart.

good luck and have fun,

go with the 18gauge… its quite forgiving yet not as easily damaged
(if you buy a thin gauge) around the top of the bezel with a
polishing wheel, or any type of attachment for working out scratches,
pre-finishing, etc.& the extra bit of copper in the 18kt gives it
both malleability and strength the 22kt lacks, though the colour is
similar depending on which supplier you get your material from (as
that’s often where the colour differences come into play.).making
your own is an excellent way to keep things consistant, barring that,
you can always get 18kt round or shaped wire in 18-22g.and run it
through your rolling mill to produce bezel strip, sizing strip, the
original gauge wire and potentially a few more gauges without having
to draw anything down- if you have a combination mill -from the same
purchase in matching colours.Alternatively some ring stretchers work
as mini-rolling mills.One just has to pay attention to keeping the
wire taught when rolling it out more so than in a traditional/full
size rolling mill…anyway, 18 karat doesn’t require the heat 22 does
to get a flow of solder so there is less chance of melt down as an
added feature of going with the 18 karat stock. hope that helps…

Thanks everyone for their great suggestions. It’s obvious I need to
learn more about the differences between working with silver and
gold. I was using 26 ga. without annealing, never having had to
anneal silver bezel because I mostly use fine silver, except for
large stones, where the sterling holds its shape better for
soldering. I’m looking forward to not having burned fingertips from
working with silver any more.


where the sterling holds its shape better for soldering. I'm
looking forward to not having burned fingertips from working with
silver any more. 

hello Penny, just wondering why you would have burned fingertips
from working with silver? You shouldn’t have any burnt bits of your
body- doesn’t sound like fun to me… work safely and have fun,


Christine - When polishing silver, it conducts heat very quickly and
gets so hot it burns your fingers. I use leather fingers and have
tried tape, but it all comes off, so I just go without it and you
get used to stopping and starting when it gets too hot to handle.
You get calluses after a while, which helps.


When polishing silver, it conducts heat very quickly and gets so
hot it burns your fingers 

thanks for your response Penny, I see what you are referring to now,
but I find this happens with polishing gold, too. I use the tape or
sometimes a bit of leather, or sometimes even water dip the pieces.

cheers, Christine