Making metal end balls

Hello Orchidians!

Can somebody tell me how can I make balls in a wire with a stone bead
in there. Do I have to use and Oxygen-Propane torch to make it fast
without breaking the stone? By the way, I always make end balls for
many things, ear wires, pins, etc but I always wanted to know hoy can
I make them with a stone alreadu set in the wire. I’m adding a
picture that I found in the archives.


Rosy Arrasco
Goblina Arte Infinito

Judging from the photo, the balls were applied to the braided wire
first and the gemstone bead threaded onto the wire after it.
Finally, a loose metal bead was added afterward.

Unless you are working with diamond or corundum, it’s usually
nigh-impossible to melt wire or solder a ball right up against a
gemstone. It is most practically done by melting/soldering the ball,
then threading the bead onto the wire.

James in SoFl

    Unless you are working with diamond or corundum, it's usually
nigh-impossible to melt wire or solder a ball right up against a

Excuse me. What I meant to write is that it’s very difficult to melt
wire or solder a ball right up against a gemstone without damaging
the gemstone. I really must stop posting while under the influence of
prescription medicine.

James in SoFl

Continue from:

 I'm adding a picture that I found in the archives. 

The picture is mine, posted for opinions about whether the “blue
quartz” is dyed.

In this case, I string the beads on the 1mm snake chain-- then slide
them up out of the way while I melt the ends. No problem.

I have experimented a bit with melting balls on wires close to
stones-- I remember a workshop, early in my career as a jeweler,
from a woman who claimed to do this with pearls! In all my attempts,
I got one success, and many burned pearls. This was using a Little
Torch, which has a very tiny, very hot flame.

I have succeeded with a few stone beads such as hematite which are
not sensitive to heat. Others, like ocean jasper, stayed intact but
changed dramatically in color (to pink and orange). By the way,
hemetite stays very hot for a very long time (sad voice of
experience, scars to proove it).

I think this is a very difficult-to-impossible thing to do, most of
the time. I was hoping someone would post a different response… If
you can set up your piece so that the stone is in water, and you use
a tiny, very hot flame, you might be able to pull it off.

Let us know how it goes!


Couldn’t you use something like Cool Jool? (No, I don’t know where
to purchase it; I just remember it from a previous similar thread.)
The set-up would probably be quite a challenge, but if you really,
really want to do this, it might be worth trying.

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s ornaments

I have never tried this, but using a sheet of mica, with a jewelers
saw blade cut a line as thick as the wire to be balled. Put the mica
on the wire between the bead/pearl, heat the wire with the torch
aiming in the opposite direction from the saw blade cut might work.
Mica can be bought from an enameling supplier.

I don’t do that, so please let me know if it works.

Richard Hart

i have been wondering about fiberfrax, a refractory ceramic fiber.
it comes in many forms, including “paper” sheets, and is used in
ceramics and warm glass. you could cut into a piece of it and then
slide the wire into the slit and then ball up the wire.

fiberfrax can withstand 1430 degrees c and 2600 degrees f. i know
that this is less than the temperatures of the flame of fuel gasses
used for soldering, but i don’t know what the temperature would be
just beyond the ball you were beading up. it is certainly higher
than the temperature of melting silver (920 degrees c for sterling
and 961 c for fine, according to harold o’connor’s the jeweler’s
bench reference.)

you can buy fiberfrax from ceramic and glass suppliers. i have some
but have no idea where i put it. if/when i find it, i’ll experiment.
but it would probably be quicker for you to buy some and try it

here’s the fiberfrax website: if you
would like to look at specs.

jean adkins

For earrings I have emulated this appearance by using two pieces of
threaded wire both of which have beads on them, One beaded wire is
glued in from each side. Most of the truly fused end wires are
rather loose so I suspect that the second end is fused some distance
away from the stone bead.


Thanks for the idea Wayne. Because I was about to take a class on
designing with briolettes, I recently reviewed all the info on Steve
Green’s site and noted that, rather than the usually bead-style
horizontal drilling, which he says weakens the stone, he recommends
drilling straight into the top of a briolette and using a “pearl
post” (or better, a cap-post) with Devon 2-Ton Epoxy.) I never
thought of using the same technique for end balls, but why not?

By the way, the briolette class covered various methods of wire-
wrapping, and I don’t think the instructor would have smiled on the
use of adhesive. (Unfortunately, I can barely afford the “weak”
briolettes, never mind Steve’s gorgeous stones.) Then, Friday, when
I went to the opening for the MAG show, I saw a necklace made by
someone who may have devised her own briolette technique. The
necklace was a joke (literally–after all, this was a “metal arts”
show), but she’d made triangular wire elements, with the middle of
the base missing, and glued the ends into the horizontal drill
holes. The technique doesn’t allow the briolette itself to
move–which was something my teacher’s techniques emphasized–but
it might strengthen them. And it looked good, too.

Lisa Orlando Aphrodite’s Ornaments

PS: If you can see this show, do–a Beth Rosengard brooch and John
Jenkin’s exquisite and terrifying Icarus knife make it worth the
trip. (Well, there’s also a Kent Raible ring, but he doesn’t post
here… )