Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Springy 14k bezels


#1

Hi Folks, In the last year or two, I’ve been doing a lot more gold
work, and less silver. Aside from the cost and intimidation factor,
the transition has been relatively easy. One problem continues to
cause trouble, and I wondered what suggestions or tips the group
might have.

My 14k gold bezels are springy, and I’m having a difficult time
getting them to rest snugly against the stone. I press the bezel to
the stone, and springs back away. I’ve used bezel pushers,
burnishers, even a hammer handpiece (when the stone allows). I
fabricated the bezel myself, and often solder to a back plate, so my
thinking is the bezel should be well annealed.

I know high karat golds are more ductile, so I thought maybe I
should do my bezels in 18k. Much to my surprise, checking the data in
the newly arrived Hoover & Strong catalog, 18k yellow has a higher
Vickers hardness than 14k (155 for 18k; 140 for 14k)! 22k drops to HV
60. I’d hate to have to go to the expense of 22k bezels, but if
that’s the answer…

Does anyone know why 18k would be harder than 14k, or is this just
an error? I suppose I should direct this question to H&S. Any tips
for getting 14k bezels to submit to my will would be greatly
appreciated!

All the best,
Dave
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com


#2

Hi Dave, I am assuming that you are setting cabochons. If the
metallurgical route does not work, you might try recutting the stones
bezel ( a little more vertical) to give you a better fit. Will E.


#3

Dave, Regardless of the Vickers hardness, I think you will find 18k
bezels (especially if they are made from something like Hoover and
Strong’s 18k royal) a lot easier to set. That being said, 22k gold
is still what we prefer to use for bezels as 1) the setting problems
you discuss never crop up, 2) the richer color is almost always nicer
against the color of the stones and 3) it adds an element of value to
the piece that does not crop up in most commercially made pieces. I
think that you will find that if only the bezel on the piece is 22k
gold that you will not add a significantly higher amount of cost to
the piece. Incidentally the best 22k gold we have found for fusing
(granulating) is being sold by Allcraft in New York. The additional
advantage of using a fusible 22k for a bezel is that you can
eliminate the seam.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-491-6000
@spirersomes
www.spirersomes.com


#4

Dave, One thing you might try to help in the transition to gold is
using green gold rather than yellow gold. Since green gold is
exclusively silver and gold it is easier to manipulate, about as
close as you can get to the feel of silver without going to 22K.

It does have a higher melt point than yellow and you will need to
use a green gold solder if your seam is not hidden by a corner or
joint, but Hoover supplies it.

The advantage to using green gold is that you can gradually get the
feel of how gold works differently from silver in terms of soldering
and hardening/annealing. As you get use to it you can move on to
stiffer alloys.

Hope you get a chance to try it.

Larry


#5

Hi Dave, I switched to 22k bezel wire years ago and I love it as much
as I hated 14k! It’s well worth the money and is plenty strong enough
to hold stones securely.

Beth


#6
  Does anyone know why 18k would be harder than 14k, or is this
just an error? I suppose I should direct this question to H&S. Any
tips for getting 14k bezels to submit to my will would be greatly
appreciated! 

Dave, I do a lot of bezel setting of opal in gold and have gone
exclusively to 18K bezel wire. A point you might consider is to use
a thicker wire, around 22 or 20 Gage, even up to 18Ga for big
pieces, and then file the top off at 45 degrees to a knife edge.
That gives you a stouter wire that is less prone to spring and lets
you just push over the top of the wire onto the stone. A tight fit
to start with is very important, as well as the height of the wire.
You are just working with just the top 1 mm of the wire, not all the
way to the base plate.

One other point too, if you are using white gold. especially the
nickel white, the higher the Kt, the harder it will be as it needs a
much higher nickel content to keep it white. The paladium white is
much easier to work with. It solders better also with almost no fire
scale.

Don Rogers


#7

Hi Dave, I also found 14k bezel to be a real pain! I sometimes
bezel some rather large, and irregular shaped enamels, and I couldn’t
shake the memory the 14k bezel seemed to have. I think I tried just
about everything! I then switched to 18k which was better, but
still had some difficulty getting a snug fit on some of my stones.
For the past year or more I’ve been using 22k, and ahhhhhhh, it’s so
nice to work with! Granted, the expense is greater, but the time I
save, and the overall look of the piece makes it worth it. There are
occasions when I’ll use 18k bezel, but it’s rare. Buy a little and
give it a try, it will be hard to go back! Good luck, Lisa – Lisa
Hawthorne @Lisa_Hawthorne


#8

Just a follow up on this topic. Thanks to all for your input… I
guess I’ll be switching to 22k bezel wire next time I place an order.

I did pose the question to Hoover and Strong about the data in their
catalog indicating 18k being harder than the 14k. Below is the
response:

“Yes, the 18K Yellow vickers is 155 due to extra copper in this
particular alloy. Hoover & Strong has switched to stocking 18K Royal
due to overwhelming demand. The vickers on this is 125.”

All the best,
Dave
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com