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Too thick pearl bail


Happy New Year to everyone !

Little budding jewelrer me has 2 questions today :

1 ) I have these gorgeous Oregon sunstone, half-drilled beads. The
only wire that fits is # 26. I have tiny .7mm ( # 22 ) gold-filled
pearl bails, but they’re too thick. Should I shave some off, and if
so, will the sterling underneath show and look bad ?

Thanks a lot !


First, gold filled is not 20% gold over sterling - that is sold as
vermeil or d’ore and is a thinner coating of 22kt. over fine silver,
what you have is probably 14/20 GF which is baxe metal (usually
brass) clad in gold on at least one side. Double clad GF material is
gold bonded to both sides and advertised as such. So if you thin the
bail (what i imagine you are referring to is a pearl cup: something
akin to a conical top with a peg, or threaded wire that is inserted
into the bead) you will have to plate the base metal with gold, and
matching a mass produced bail’s colour can be tricky. Alternatively
you can flash some 22 karat (or any high karat matching plumb solder
over the exposed metal. The final polish will be the telling point.
You may want to experiment with an extra bale before securing the
pearl into the cup. Easiest it seems is to just fabricate what you
need out of a sheet or scrap of sheet, and piece of wire in the
right colour and size. if you insert a pieceg (hold in heatproof
tweezers for tgis of stepped bezel into the rolling mill at a 45
degree angle it will force the gold into a curve easily bendable into
an appropriately sized cone. Then solder the seam, dap it if
necessary and then slump some solder into the underside of the cup/
cone and reheat to attach the peg, pickle if necessary finish as