To Glue or Not to Glue


Was wondering on peoples experience using glue for stone settings
instead of bezel’s and gluing posts onto ear rings?

Best regards,
Chris Gravenor

As I never use glue for stone settings or earring posts, I can only
give my reasons for avoiding it.

First of all, the use of glue instead of regular bezels, and
soldered earring posts cheapens the piece of jewelry, and in the
second place, there is no assurance that the glue or epoxy would hold

If you have not learned how to make bezels and how to solder, my
suggestion is to set about learning these proceedures. They are not
difficult to learn, and you will be able to make jewelery that you
will be proud of.

Certainly, if you intend to sell your work, the buyer has every
right to expect that it is properly made and will not fall apart
because the glue did not hold up.

Just my opinion. Alma

On something I make…no glue, ever, its not needed. But sometimes
for repair, glue is the only cost effective way. Except I then call
it adhesive. Example that’s in the shop now… Sterling earring
inlaid with turquoise, broken post, inlay is shaky. While it could be
sent out for laser repair the value of the piece and integrity of the
inlay don’t warrant the expense, I offer both options. I tell the
customer adhesives eventually fail.

Yes I will repair low value and costume jewelry. Its a pretty good
traffic builder. But then I’m in retail. Even the wealthiest of
customers have costume that has sentimental meaning for them. I try
to service all my client’s needs. I’d rather deal with the
frustrations involved than send them elsewhere.

Within limits.

Some of the previously glued jewelry people bring in is just fast
production work with insufficient bonding area. A well thought out
arrangement can increase the service life of the bond. When feasible
I offer the ‘hot rod’ version of repair.

With respect, saying that a bezel ensures quality is abit erronous.
I have and I am sure many on this list have repaired bezel settings
of poor quality. A few years ago I repaired a bezel setting with
epoxy, and here 7 years later it is still holding up. Also recently
on this list there was a thread about what glue to use in a bezel
cup to ensure that the stone will not fall out.

In the last 15 or so years the technology of glues has vastly
improved, where the modern glues are used for many applications. The
space shuttle relies on glues to hold its heat sheild in place, in
the automotive field there are glues that are considered to be
stuctural, able to hold the vehicle together while suffering the
stress and strains we put on our cars over the course of its life.

Like everything else, whether its solder and bezel settings or glue,
craftmanship is the only assurance for the long life of our pieces.
Poor choice in product, incorrect mixing and poor prep will not help
the longevity of our settings.

I have noticed that many jewellery suppliers are carrying glues,
this would suggest that glues do have their place, hence my

Best regards,
Chris Gravenor

I would not use glue in place of a bezel, but there are instances
where it might be used as an adjunct to a bezel…Sometimes a minor
asymmetry in the way a stone is shaped can prevent it from fitting
perfectly in a bezel. Rather than ruin a whole piece, with a little
bit of the right adhesive, judiciously applied, you can keep the
stone from rattling around in its bezel or dropping out if it hits


Hi Chris…

It wan’t my thread…

I often use Devcon Two Ton epoxy to back opaque cabs in whatever…
Bezel or prong set… Sometimes I even color it, to boost a wishy
cab… The customer always knows…

I know this might be a PITA for later repairs…

But then a lot of the stuff I’m doing is not heirloom…except in
the customer’s mind…

Also, adhesives, of whichever kind…will not get along with
faceted anything, IMO…muddies up the light return…

As far as securing earposts… This is something it is not too good
at…I mean…Two Ton is about as good as it can get…

But it doesn’t do that trick…

Gary W. Bourbonais

I was taught that glue was not an option (with the exception of
gluing pearls on a stud). In fact I was told to never say the G
word. For me, metalsmithing is as much about craftsmanship as design.
They go hand in hand. I cringe when I see glued on stuff on metal
jewelry. It cheapens the jewelry.

And other then my teaching, I also know we can never be sure what
our clients will do in their jewelry. Most glues have some kind of
solvent that will breach the chemical bond. IMO glue greatly
increases the chances that something will fail, creating in a
customer’s mind, this jeweler makes cheap jewelry.

I’m with Alma and Neil on this one. Glue is not an option. Do it in


Also, adhesives, of whichever kind....will not get along with
faceted anything, IMO...muddies up the light return... 

Gary, Check Norland Adhesives…they and others make adhesives
specifically for use in the optical industry and many of their
products are made to milspec. Won’t bother light return a bit. We’re
talking about the type of adhesives used in high quality lens

Wayne Emery
The Gemcutter

I’ve thought a little bit more about this…

There are instances where glue on new production is acceptable,
indeed mandatory. Inlay for one. The nature of it requires adhesive.
And those semicircular jade and gold bracelets really cannot be done
with mechanical holding. Well, maybe they could but with
extraordinary effort that might well price the piece beyond appeal.

So maybe intent and context are important factors. If the purpose of
a piece is to be affordable fun, glue might be ok. If one is gluing
an important stone in an otherwise fine piece because of laziness or
lack of skill, that does the customer a disservice and therefor does
the jeweler a disservice.

Glue has a place for stones that you know will degrade through
normal use, and can be expected to need frequent replacing. Pearls,
soft turquoise and opal triplets set in rings for example will need
to be replaced sooner or later. I think it is prudent to design a
setting that makes it easy to replace the stone yet will hold the
stone securely for as long as it takes, and glue is a good option.

I like 5-minute epoxy; it fills gaps with a tough plastic compound,
is predictable, fast setting, and softens with heat at a lower
temperature than superglue. Epoxy cannot be trusted to adhere to
metal or stone permanently - although it does do that very well
sometimes. A rough texture and undercutting the bezel will provide a
key for the epoxy to hang on even if the bond is broken.

Faceted stones can be glued; the important thing is that they can
only be glued in the vicinity of the girdle. Glue on the pavilion
will be visible through the stone.

I use glue in for example, a large emerald full of fractures or a
thin solid opal, hammer set and rattling in the setting. Rattling
because the original setter made sure (with good reason) there was
only the tiniest sliver of metal actually touching the stone.
Resetting or tightening needs great care and is therefore expensive.
I will explain to the customer that the problem can be solved with
little risk or expense, by rubbing epoxy around the girdle and under
the bezel to lock the stone in place; also that the glue may need
replacing in a few years time. If the customer baulks at the idea, I
quote appropriately to tighten or reset, and am quite content if the
customer goes elsewhere!