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Simple questions


#1

I would just like to say thank you to all of you who sent me
wonderful words of wisdom! I have a few questions for you. Bear
with me I am just starting out and they are probably easy
questions. Anyway, I was wondering how bezel wire is different
from silver wire. Also my jewlery instructor told me that
enameling doesn’t work well on sterling silver, why is this?

Thanx, Lily


#2

I would just like to say thank you to all of you who sent me
wonderful words of wisdom! I have a few questions for you. Bear
with me I am just starting out and they are probably easy
questions. Anyway, I was wondering how bezel wire is different
from silver wire. Also my jewlery instructor told me that
enameling doesn’t work well on sterling silver, why is this?

I share my studio space with an enamelist so I can answer
(somewhat) the second question- the copper in sterling is the
problem. Lucy enamels on fine silver instead. Zinc in gold alloys
is also a problem- 14k green gold is ok, the other alloys
difficult to enamel. 18ky works fine. Cloisonne involves multiple
firings- sometimes 20 or so, before the piece is finished.


#3

Hi Lily,

Silver bezel wire is usually made of fine silver (.999) as
opposed to sterling (.925). This makes it easier to bend and
form, and gives it a higher melting point. The higher melting
point means fewer melted bezels, since you usually use hard
solder on a bezel. The fine silver also does not oxidize and
build fire scale like sterling, due to the lack of copper
content. There is also “step” bezel wire which has a little lip
on the lower edge of the back side so when it’s formed in a band,
there’s a little ledge for the stone to rest on.

Sterling is normally not used in enameling for some of the
reasons mentioned above. The temperatures required for the
enamel to fuse (guessing 1300-1500 degrees) is close to the
melting point of sterling. At this temperature the copper content
in the silver oxidizes rapidly, making it undesirable for
enameling. Since fine silver doesn’t have the copper content, it
is usually used… especially with transparent or translucent
enamels. High karat golds are also used… but are obviously
more expensive.

Dave Sebaste


#4

Lily, The differnce in Bezel wire is that bezel wire has a little
shelf on the bottom of the wire. it kind of looks like a ftat L
<<< do you see the shelf part, well think of this as thicker… i
am not sure what you mean by, "I was wondering how bezel wire is
different from silver wire. " the only thing I can tell you is
that bezel wire comes in siver and gold… Regular wire is just
that… it is straight wire silver or gold and it doesn’t have the
shelf… now the Bezel wire is or should be used to make bezels
obviously but i am sure you can use bezel wire for other
decorative purposes as well. I don’t recommend using regular wire
as bezel wire, unless of course you want to drive yourself crazy
trying to cut a seat in it… Have fun and keep the questions
coming… Remember… simple or complex if you have a question it
still needs an answer… Don’t be shy… As far as the enamel
goes, well i am not sure as I have only used the stuff like 5
times in my life but I never had or have seen a problem with it
in Sterling…
Marc Williams