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Leather in place of stone


Hello everyone,

I was wondering how I would bezel set a piece of leather
(specifically hair on hide) instead of a cabochon onto a ring.

Would I need to place an extra piece of metal underneath the leather
to give it some height then try and set it that way?

I’ve also seen someone set horsehair next to a stone and thought it
was super clever. Does anyone have experience with something such as

Any advice would be much appreciated.



to use hide with fur or hide with beading it is backed with
cardboard(from cereal boxes)then either sewn in place or to set as a
cabochon glued in with rubber cement given height with cork (you can
buy cork sheeting pretty cheap i got my last roll for 4 dollars and
it will last years) it can be open backed(glue around the bottom
bezel then set upper part of bezel like it is a stone. tricky to not
pinch it in on top but careful work can make it so a very common
Hopi technique in silver is a backing piecc of 18-20g sheet then a
raised bezel hard to explain picture an oval with cut out leaving a
straight bar acrossed it hammered into dome then attached to a bezel
cup making a hollow where fur or herbs can be placed and stones set
cross the top crossbar if wanted

If you want to chat off list is ok too I have some rare books on
Hopi Silversmithing and am integrating techniques and learning



I can only help you with treating leather, I’ve never set leather in

If you want to learn how to make leather hard as a rock, then you
could set that I suppose.

Regards Charles A.


Hi Paula, Many years ago, I used to make (put together?) some very
inexpensive leather earrings from lizard skin. I had an acquaintance
that worked at a leather supply house, that sold me very cheaply,
the skins after they had punched boot toes from them. This was
ultimately most of the skin. He also sold me several punches of
different diameters (all circles). Some of them had corresponding
commercial bezel caps that I was able to buy from Indian Jewelry
Supply. All I had to do was solder a post on the back, and I had some
sterling/leather earrings. From that beginning, I did a variety of
leather products along those very simple lines, to take to the shows
for bread and butter items. Each year, about the end of Feb, when I
had finished my holiday orders, I began thinking of production items
for the shows. Once I had a few that I could teach to the people
working for me, I could go on to the pieces I personally made that
were one of a kind items. Leather, like all those ideas, morphed into
more complicated designs. In the end, I purchased several types of
skins that were not on the endangered species list, but still to the
US, exotic. I made a whole series of leather combo products, some
quite nice. I digress as usual, the actual answer to the question is
yes I almost always used a closed back bezel, whether commercial or
handmade. Hope you made it to the answer, I’ll try to shorten the
next posting to pertinent info. Thomas III


Leather cannot be made as “Hard as stone” but it can be made very
much harder by boiling it, or by immersing it in hot oil or wax at
about the same temperature as boiling water or a bit hotter. This
technique is useful in making leather items which are wanted to be
stiff or rigid, such as a sheath or case for tools. In any case, it
would take very little leather and very little time for you to
experiment in that direction and to discover what you can and cannot
do with this info. I’ve done it in the long-ago past so I hesitate to
rely upon my memory to offer further instruction. But i recall that
there is quite a marked increase in hardness - to a point that i
think you could set small shapes in bezels as if they were cabochon
stones. Boiling in wax would give you a relatively waterproof and
polishable surface. Look up “cuir bouillee” or “boiled leather” and
see what you get. I think it is quite easy to do.

Good luck