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Open back or not


#1

I have a question that those of you that have been doing fabricating
hopefully will be able to answer. In a bezel setting I have been
taught to leave the backsheet intact (I work fine silver or high
carat gold). I also use a shiney fine silver foil inside the bezel. I
was wondering whether it makes a difference when the backsheet is
opened or if this is just personal preference. If the item is sitting
against the skin it should reflect as if the back was closed. I would
appreciate any feedback on this. Thank you all and Happy 4th of july.
Linda K.


#2

Being very new to this, I am not the best to respond. However, I do
have athought on this.

If it enhances the piece as a whole, go for it. But I would not do
it for the sake of just saving material.

You should make the back pretty too even if isn’t the focus, as the
buyer will be aware of the quality, and may be a distraction from
the sale.

I actually think, if done right, it would look better than just a
plain slabof metal. Albeit will probably be faster and easier.

My grain of salt.

Christopher Lund.
Neurascenic.


#3

Linda,

I was taught to make bezels with the back open, which can add an
interestingdetail especially if you cut in a design (say a heart or
what have you). But as the years went on and many bezels later I
found that I prefer the closed back, that way no other colors such
as clothing can mess with the color ofthe stone. I had a rose quartz
set in a pendant at a show years ago and a woman loved it, until she
put it on her black sweater, which just made the stone dark.
Needless to say I held on to that darn piece until I took it
apartlater. My only exception to the closed backs is opaque stones
or cameos IF they have pretty backs and I want to show them off.


#4

The backs of cabs aren’t normally polished so with an open back it
would show if the pendant turned over.


#5

The skin does absorbed o Some light and is not good at reflecting
light. that is why cheap glass stones have foil backing. At least one
of the reasons. Depending on what effect you want for the piece as to
how you chose to set it. Beaver a esther or. purely a Art thing…


#6
In a bezel setting I have been taught to leave the backsheet intact
(I work fine silver or high carat gold). I also use a shiney fine
silver foil inside the bezel. I was wondering whether it makes a
difference when the backsheet is opened or if this is just personal
preference. 

There are certain rules of constructing jewellery. Jewellery must be
as open as possible; as light as possible; as strong as possible;
and there are must not be even a smidgeon of metal without a purpose.

If these rules are violated, there must be a good reason for it.

I have never in my life constructed a bezel with closed bottom.

I simply see no justification for it.

Leonid Surpin
Studioarete.com


#7

Linda- It depends. What kind of stones are you setting? We leave our
backs open in most cases. Saves metal and makes it easier to clean
the stone later. We set a really big rose quartz in an 18 kt white
gold ring recently and high polished the back behind the stone to
give it a nice glow. You can see it on our web site.

However we mostly work with either faceted stones that get their
light from the cut and natural refraction of the stone. For cabs we
use mostly corundum with heavy color saturation that doesn’t need any
help to look great.

Don’t forget that even fine silver will eventually tarnish and may
leave your stones looking darker.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#8

I am a lapidary as well as silver and goldsmith. When I decide to cut
and set a stone, the stone becomes the primary focus of the piece. If
the stone is transparent or translucent in all or part, I may leave
the back open to allow this to be viewed. In the end, for me, it is a
matter of design and taste. You also save the weight and cost of the
back. If you do decide to leave the back on, remember that what is
inside the bezel will show through any transparent areas. You seem to
address this in the inclusion of silver foil. Since you can model
what it will look like before you role the bezel edge, try other
backings. Just some thoughts. I am self taught and don’t have the
benefit and occasional burden of the experience of others. I guess
that this is why I enjoy reading Orchid every day. Rob

Rob Meixner


#9

personal preference…


#10

Linda, If I were setting an attractive solid natural gemstone or
buying a jewelry piece with one, I would prefer an open back. Closed
back settings suggest that something is being hidden such as a
colored backing, afoil backing or a bottom half of a doublet that is
a different material than the top portion. In other words, a closed
back setting suggests the stone may be a fake, even if it isn’t,
while increasing the metal cost of the piece.


#11

Hi Linda,

For me it depends upon the stone I am using. For an opaque stone i
will use a ful back, but for a translucent stone I many times like to
use an open back.

I once cut a piece of Rutilated Quartz and placed in an open back
pendant.

The optical effect was that the back did not show and the beauty of
stone shown through the pendant.

So, I base my decision upon the stone and design around it.

Ken Moore


#12
The backs of cabs aren't normally polished so with an open back it
would show if the pendant turned over. 

The backs of opaque cabs are not normally polished. The backs of
translucent and transparent material should always be polished.

Elliot Nesterman


#13
Closed back settings suggest that something is being hidden such as
a colored backing, a foil backing or a bottom half of a doublet
that is a different material than the top portion. In other words,
a closed back setting suggests the stone may be a fake, even if it
isn't, while increasing the metal cost of the piece. 

“A closed back setting suggests the stone may be a fake” To whom
might this suggest that a stone might be a fake"?

Being a G. I.A. trained Gemologist in 1973 and a goldsmith for about
30 years and having a retail store for most of that time, if the
proper disclosure is always made according to FTC guidelines, there
never has to be an issue about what may be implied by a closed back.
If I buy a closed back piece of jewelry with an opal in it, I assume
it is a doublet and tell the customer. If it an inexpensive piece,
the customer does not usually care. Crystal based opal with a closed
back will usually have a reflection if yellow gold is chosen, color
which can actually alter the base color of the opal, and I would
consider that as something that unintentionally distorts the true
nature of the opal the way it looked before setting it.

If I make something, it is up to me to educate a public that does
not usually have a clue about solid or doublet opals or how their
choice of color of metal changes the attractiveness the gem in an
unattractive way. If I do my job right, my customer can go to any
knowledgeable person,(I would use the word jeweler but my definition
of a jeweler is someone that can read a price tag) that understands
the relationship of how the metal the gem is set in affects the
appearance of the gem.

The true test for me over the years, show the customer what the gem
looks like in the metal they prefer, and alternative colors to see
what creates the optimum visual beauty of the gem. With opals,
sometimes the choice is their preference of color of metal, and for
maximum beauty, a black backround has always been the choice of my
customer. Someone mentioned that sometimes an open back presents a
problem when the piece is worn on the skin, or on a color that alters
the gem as to make it unattractive.

As far as the difference in price of an open back or closed back,
that is so negligible in relation to what accomplishes the goal of
beauty and durability of the mounting, that this is insignificant to
me. Sometimes the labor of sawing and clean up negates part of the
increase in price of a solid back if you are working in gold or
platinum. If it took 15 minutes to saw and clean up, and I charge $60
an hour, that $15, and in sterling there certainly is no saving.

Richard Hart G. G.
Denver, Co.


#14
The backs of cabs aren't normally polished so with an open back it
would show if the pendant turned over. 

If back of a cabochon is not polished or neglected in any other way,
it should not be purchased. Very often quality of gemstone can be
discerned from how it was treated by a gem-cutter. If stone is not
worth few extra minutes of polishing, that is all one needs to know
about the gemstone.

Leonid Surpin
Studioarete.com


#15

Hi Linda depends on the design parameters.

If you followed the posts a while ago you would have noted stones in
closed back settings supported by all manner of materials from CDs
to old credit cards. This makes the stone look bigger than it
actually is.

Aka fraud IMHO and the law.

If you state the weight of the stone then a closed back is not a
problem.

It sounds like you are setting cabs, some look better with a shiny
full back or even in rare cases, like blue moonstones a black
backing, e. g. black nail polish or resin. If the client knows this
it is not a problem.

I have seen closed back bezels gold plated for tortoise shell,
recycled that is.

I usually use open back settings to save on metal and to fit ring
designs.

I have attached a basic PDF on open back bezel setting, it may be of
use.

If you have any questions please email me.

Richard
Xtines Jewels


#16

Personally, I would only use a closed back setting to set a non
transparent, or non translucent gemstone. Turquoise or Lapis, for
example.

In designing a piece of jewelry I want to think about what that
jewelry will look like 10-20 years later. Over time moisture, dirt,
etc can migrate under the gemstone, and if the stone is translucent
or transparent thisaccumulation of dirt or discoloration or simply
tarnish will show through the gemstone, and Darken the gem. The back
being closed, the owner or the jeweler can not clean it.

It is for this same reason I am also disappointed that current
trends in “fashion” Diamond jewelry, where often the diamonds have
been set in closedbottom settings where they may also darken over
time.


#17

Hi Linda

It’s more of an economical reason for me to go open back. Also, with
somany stones that have uneven bottoms, it’s easier for me to make an
open bottom bezel and that way the stone sits properly in it’s bezel.
I work with very large cabs, and the cost of silver sheet can be
easily $30, so I do as much open backs as possible. If it is a
fragile, delicate, or has inclusions running through stone, I would
set stone in closed back bezels. If the cab has a really lousy
backside, it gets covered in a closed back bezel.

Once the closed back bezel is finished and tumbled in steel shot,
the inside of bezel will be nice and shiny, so a translucent to
transparent stone will look great once set, for the shiny silver is
reflecting throughthe stone. I do get clients that want skin contact
with stone, and I do open backs for them.

One little thing that really ticks me off if that most people don’t
takethe price sticker off stone, and clean the back of stone as
well. I make sure my cabs are clean and no stickers left on them
before I set them. One last tip, if you have concerns about water
and soap getting under the cabs, waterproof the bezel with clear
caulking, clear silicone glue or expoy in a pinch (I know some of
you Ganoksin jewelers will screambloody murder but it does help the
stone stay cleaner much longer) and that will keep the stone looking
great for many years.

Also, texture the sheet metal before you solder on the bezel, and
you’ll have a visually more interesting back, and it cuts down on
the cleanup as well.

Hope they all help.
Joy


#18

Hi

Closed back settings suggest that something is being hidden such as a
colored backing, afoil backing or a bottom half of a doublet that is a
different material than the top portion.

One exception I would make to the above is if the customer has seen
the stone unset and asks for a closed back setting. Another exception
is the Japanese tradition of piercing a design in the solid back that
relates to the nature of the stone. The stone sits flat on the
backing. I remember a Japanese lady in my class at The School for
Silversmiths piercing a beautiful bird into the back of a lapis
pendant. Lapis looks like the sky. Exquisite!

A while back there were all many of excuses/justifications posted for
putting a variety of materials into closed backed settings to raise
the stone and make it look bigger. Those of us who found it less than
honest were chastised for our views. Yet NONE of those who backed
stones with everything from cardboard to CDs posted that they told
their customers what was raising the stone. How would a customer
react.

“Yes madam, the stone looks like an X sized stone but I have backed
it with a piece of CD and it is actually only half X in size.” They
would come flocking for that crap, wouldn’t they, LOL. It would look
great with their made in China Tiffany jewellery and match well with
the fake Louis Vuitton hand bag and fake Raybans. Not to mention the
Rolex.

And the poor fools would think no one could tell the difference.

I set my “black opal” resin pieces in solid backed settings, and
sell it as GENUINE PLASTIC in sterling silver.

And IMHO it looks great and is unique. Vogue, Mode, Cleo and Cosmo
agreed back in the 80’s.

Recently I was told that some Indian (Asian) cabs are backed with
leather, apparently in an ultra sonic they explode.

Richard
Xtines Jewels


#19

Hi

The backs of cabs aren't normally polished so with an open back it
would show if the pendant turned over. 

Don’t know where you get your cabs, but where I buy mine O’Neils
Affiliated in OZ, they are ALL polished on the back.

The ones I especially like have a convex back that bounces the light
around the stone as it moves.

I have used these in Aquamarine, Honey citrine, Rhodolite garnet,
Amethyst and Lemon quartz.

If the pendant regularly turned over it is of poor design.

Richard
Xtines Jewels


#20

I like polished backs of cabs. I think it looks good and I think it
looks professional. I think it looks like someone cared enough to do
a full and professional job. Those are the kind of people who get my
little bit of business I have to throw around.

Barbara on a day on the Island feeding the fox. She now comes to my
feet.