Real jewelers don't fuse.... !?

This is what I was told at a craft’s fair by a young lady that
created lovely pieces of jewery. She soldered - and did a fine job
of it. But, was adamant that jewelers do not fuse 999.

Joy Kiefner
Rhapsody Jewelry Design

Hi Joy,

The lady’s entitled to her opinion, of course…

Flat wrong, in my mind, but that’s just me. Personally, I fuse my
bezels together, and then down to a baseplate sometimes. Fusing
means never having to worry about having your bezel unsolder itself
while you’re mounting it. It’s damned tricky, and takes much better
torch control than soldering. And this is the mark of an "unreal"
jeweler how?

I think what she was on about was probably the clunky “dump a pile
of scrap on the block and fry it all together” school of quick &
dirty silver jewelry. I can understand looking down your nose at that
sort of thing. I may not always agree, but I can certainly see where
the opinion comes from.

Don’t worry about anybody else’s opinion of what “real jewelers” do,
or don’t do. What they really do is whatever it takes to get the job
done and billed.


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If that’s the case, I guess it’s back to paper cigar bands!

Dust Bunnies & Stones

Well, this jeweler fuses, and I doubt I’m alone. Sure, there are
times when you need to solder instead, but that doesn’t make fusing a
bad thing.

Mary Partlan, White Branch Designs

Fusing is a tool. A good jeweler has many tools he can use.

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I read of you talking about fusing, can someone tell me how, I
bought a book about fuse silver wire and try but it didn’t work for
me may be I didn’t do it right can anyone point to some video so I
can learn, thank you so much for putting on Orchid, I
learn a lot from all of you.

To my mind, welding and fusing are basically the same thing with the
semantic difference being, I suppose, an implied degree of
precision. I would also say that welding is a matter of thorough
penetration, fusing would imply more surface melting.

In either case, two metals are melted together without the addition
of a brazing material of a lower temp. If a filler material is used
it is the same as the parent metal and is applied to build up an area
such as a “v” joint (which allows for penetration) or even to
compensate for material that disappears during welding (Shrinks?

In essence, laser welding is a directed and deep fusing–at least in
my understanding.

So, jewelers who laser weld are not real jewelers? Old school
platinum smiths who torch weld their seams aren’t real smiths? When I
torch weld an 18k or rose gold seam or weld sterling to bronze or
gold I’m not the real deal?

Sheesh. Welding --and fusing-- well is often harder than

If you see that “real” jeweler again, look them in the eye and tell
them to get a “real” life.

Makes my skin itch.


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Last time I pinched myself it sure felt like I was a real jeweller.

Funny, long long ago at the beginning my flame throwing exercises
fell into 4 classes. Dismal failure, solder joint, fused, and totally
molten puddle. Rather random, light the torch and roll the dice…

These days I have almost eliminated #1 and #4. Only very hard solder
and a damned hot torch sort of blur the line between soldering and
fusing silver or most any gold.

Some day maybe a laser in the studio, I understand they are a mainly
a fusing type of machine.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing

Definition of a ‘real’ jeweler: Someone who makes jewelry! Period!
Such a fuss… really.

The answer to someone who wishes to narrowly define what she/he does
in order to narrow the field, is as follows: Get your head out of
the clouds, come down to earth, and accept that none of the
titles/names/whatever are worth using, if they are used to exclude
others unreasonably. Snobbery in any costume is really just
insecurity walking and talking. Makes me squirmy.

Linda Kaye-Moses

Oh my, what a disappointment to learn that all those Egyptian and
Etruscan and many others who relied on fusing were not jewelers. And
all that gorgeous granulation on all those pieces of metal objects
that people wore were not “jewelry”. I guess they were producing
"faux" jewelry.

My experience is that fusing a bezel seam takes more skill than using
solder. I have a heap of melted bezels and jump rings to attest to
that. Finally got it down pat, but it took longer to learn fusing and
doing it well, than it did to learn hard soldering of thin bezels…


I learned how to fuse by reading Liz Jones’s book: Silver Wire
Fusing, by Liz Jones.

It’s super easy to understand and taught myself solely from that

Standard disclaimer, no relation, just a happy customer.

Sandra b.

Sheesh. welding--and fusing-- well is often harder than
soldering... I am definitly with you on that one! 

I have done rings with more than seventy connections using only hard
solder both in silver and gold and still find it easier than fusing
very fine granulation work or worse, fusing filigree wire to a sheet
of metal. I learned that fusing was best when appropriate and
possible at least with fine silver and 22 K gold and that using hard
solder when soldering was the way to go. Medium solder were used in
case of emergency and easy solder for repairs only. Could my teachers
have been wrong?

By the way I am also guilty of welding fine silver, 22K gold and
platinum shanks.

I guess that make me part of the “not real jewelers” club and happy
to join.


Keep reading this discussion and finally had to add my 2 cents. As a
goldsmith who mainly works in 22k, fusing is the "meat and potatoes"
of my work. Not sure how I would do traditional granulation without
this amazing technique. Like any other jewelry technique fusing takes
time and patience and takes some skill to master. Any "real jeweler"
who makes a comment like that should reevaluate their thinking.


Just the concept of this debate bothers me. Real jewelers (Lalique)
don’t use horn, or glass, don’t use found objects (Thomas Mann),
don’t use paint, don’t use xyz materials/techniques…what a waste of
thought. Real painters don’t do cubism, minimalism, impressionism
etc. it’s pretty myopic. If one wants to define fences around
oneself, fine; but don’t tell others what the limits of their
creative imagination are.

Marianne Hunter

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Check out my DVD series: Fusing, Fabricating & Granulating with
Argentium. I also have a series on fusing Fine Silver, though I
never teach with it anymore now that I use Argentium. And, I consider
myself a real jeweler (Certified Master Bench Jeweler) and have
specialized in Fusing for many years.


I learned that fusing was best when appropriate 

Exactly right. We all have to relate stuff like this to personal
experience, for me its a missed size after casting or minor casting
defect. I’ll even fuse when sizing new rings. It just makes sense to
fuse instead of solder when its appropriate, yeah its tougher and you
can cause more harm than good learning how to fuse but the “repair”
essentially dissapears when done well. 99% of what I do is Gold and
Platinum so I cant really speak to fusing Silver.

Bil Peebles

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Fusing takes practice. When I first started I’d end up with a "bump"
of silver at the fuse site. You have to learn when to pull the flame
off - it’ll come to you. Good luck, and don’t give up!!

Joy Kiefner
Rhapsody Jewelry Design

Another website to check out is that of Marne Ryan (
Marne is a master craftsman whose work is simply outstanding. She
creates both large and small items is silver and gold. Most of her
work includes some fabulous fusing techniques that she has perfected
over many years.

Marne has recently released an excellent series of DVD’s, titled
“Organic Metal,” dealing with her fusing techniques.

Anyone who actually believes that real jewelers don’t fuse only
needs to familiarize themselves with this talented artist and her
work to be convinced otherwise.


Hello honored Vet’s and newbies like myself. My name is Sabra i’m
taking classes for 10 weeks at Cecelia Bauer which is next door to
:“ALLCRAFT:” jewlery supplies in the heart of the Fashion/Fur/Fabric
district at 135 West 29TH Street in NYC. i’m learning fusing. i had
to write. last night at class i finally got the point. I was reading
all day at work John Cogswell - Creative Stone Setting, also an
article on Ganoksins “Best Jeweler of the Week” At the institute
both the book and articles explain more about fusing as well as

I had spent last weekend burning up about 60 loops - 22 gage
round.999 fine silver wire making a woven chain. Frustrating wasn’t
the word!!! i used a magnifying glass (i’ll get the glasses soon)
a butane torch the flame isn’t controllable as a real jewlers

Yesterday In Ms.Bauers’ class using Acetylene she said the 'oxygen’
will come later. I had a much needed break through i was fusing my
silver hoops perfectly!!! She even commented i had improved in the
space of a week. My deductive reasoning is: when making the loops
the seams must fit tightly, That is directly related to your
dexterity – meaning getting the hang of using your non-writing hand
to move the cut points of the loop back and forth opposed to your
writing hand which keeps heavy tension.

The jump hoops or loops must be cut cleanly as well. Loops must lay
as flat as possible and the seams facing you uniformly. the seams
can’t overlap - shift off to one side. When firing I was instructed
to hold my hand up. The faint blue most outer - rim of the flame
touching the center of the loop. As soon as you see that orange
"sinter" gently flick the flame to the seam - the flow follows the
flick of the flame quickly pull up. If the metal didn’t flow to the
seam try again gently DO NOT LINGER. Mr. Cogswell says: "The heat
from the metal not the flame will make the metal solder (fusion)
flow. I learned that the hard way.

one .999 fine silver loop i accidentally heated on one side by
accident and got that weakening of the metal that bubble everyone
hates. Cecelia Bauer make me remember to heat evenly she taught me to
hold the flame higher using only the outer rim - that faint blue
colored part of the flame. Last night i used Solderite board. Also
John Cogswell suggests using a “Wire mesh” and/or “Wire basket” to
pull the heat away from the charcol / solderite board as charcol /
solderite acts as a conductor sending more heat into metal from
underneath. He said the heat conduction of the board under the metal
sometimes causes metal to melt. I believe he explains it that way.

I had no idea your hand had to stay so steady and your awareness had
to stay so sharp dealing with the color of the flame as well as the
heat conduction of the material your Fusing or Soldering with more
importantly the tiniest of wrist actions moving the metal with the
heat from the fire. I love fusing it’s a challenge but when it comes
out right it’s sweet!!!