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Setting butterfly wings under watch crystals

I have tried (so far unsuccessfully) to set butterfly wings under
watch crystals. If I apply a fixative (hair spray) on the wings I
lose the wonderful iridescent colors. If I try to carefully set them
without a fixative some of the scales inevitably rub off onto the
crystal. I have seen quite a bit of butterfly wing jewelry set in
glass or acrylic lately. Might anyone have some advice on how it is

Many Thanks, Jeanie

You can’t spray the wings with fixitive. The colors go away. Most
butterfly colors are due to light refraction like those you get
using liver of sulphur on silver (see archives for a discussion of
this phenomenon).

I bezel set a portion of the butterfly wing under clear quartz cabs.
I use an internal bearing so that the cab does not sit directly on
the wing. I also epoxy the cab to the bearing to increase


Dear Jeanie,

Some of my students have used a pastel fixative from an art supply
store rather than hair spray. It is formulated to be less sticky. Of
course you do not want to saturate the object with the spray. I do not
remember the opalescent quality of the butterfly wing being greatly
effected by this fixative. And the end result was quite dramatic.

Good luck,
Nanz Aalund

I do not know how to do it but I recently restrung a coral seed bead
necklace that had an old brass pendant with the remnants of blue
bird feathers in each little area. I do not know how they secured the
feather to the brass but it must have been beautiful when it was
new. It was still very interesting with the intricate brass, blue
color and coral beads. I’m sorry I do not have a picture of it.


i should think you would have to be able to press the bezels in one
smooth motion to prevent shifting around of the crystals against the
wings of the butterfly and thus rubbing off the colors. perhaps
using a wedding bandring sizer, carefull choice of bezel and crystal
sizes to fit the tapered holes in the press portion at bottom of tool
take your time look around and use the old method of “make an
observation” deduce the situation “come to a conclusion” -


Your a genius!

There is Victorian jewelry out there with sterling settings with butterfly wings. There has to be a way since these are in good shape still.