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Using epoxy in fine jewelry

Hi folks. Time and time again I hear folks say no epoxy/glue should
be used in jewelry, especially fine jewelry. However, I noticed a lot
of pieces appear to have no way for the stones to stay in except by
epoxy like, for example, the lapis in this 18kt gold ring by []:

I know flat stones that are called “inlay” use epoxy, but there are
many pieces, like the one pictured, where it appears epoxy is used
and this is ok because maybe it looks better.

What is your thinking on this?
Thank you,

I do believe this lapis is bezel set, or at least should be. The
surroundingstones would be set after the main stone. The tolerances
are very tight, sothere is very little metal between the settings.
If it is a cheap knockoff, then glue…

Melissa Veres, engraver

The use of epoxy to hold the stone in place is mostly not a good
long term thing to do. You can mount some stones in a setting from
behind using prongson the underside that is ok. Bezel setting or
prong settings are the best. I know some people do not care about
long term and if they can save a dollar on each ring they will cut
corners to do it. Does not make it a good thing to do. A few minutes
more and a little more metal will make a great difference. The
difference between a real craftsman/artist and a ripoff artist

Vernon Wilson
Panama Bay Jewelers

I recently visited Whitby in North Yorkshire, UK - the origin of UK
jet and home of many jet workshops. On chatting with some of the
jewellery workers I discovered that jet is generally glued into a
bezel with epoxy glue. I guess claws, grains or a rub-over setting
would damage this soft stone.

An interesting twist is that the resin is often mixed with coal dust
to givea colour match and help hide any visible glue. Coal is of
course a close ‘cousin’ of the jet.

I was sceptical but gave it a go. I was very pleased with the
results. What alovely stone to work and with simple techniques a
very pleasing outcome.

I am one who believes epoxy should not be used. However, I find
myself in a situation where setting some poorly cut tongue shaped
stones leaves me no alternative—except to junk the stones, and find
ones that are better cut. However, this is not an option at this
time, so epoxy it has to be. But never again. I think the stones
should be set so well in their bezels that they will be held firmly.

I am puzzled why the lapis in the ring Ginger has shown had to be set
with epoxy? Couldn’t a bezel be made to hold it in place, or even
some prongs ?


While I generally agree that glue has no place in fine jewelry, there
are times that it is useful in repair work. Usually it’s when the
customer needs a quick fix or doesn’t want to spend the money to do a
job right. I know goldsmiths that would turn their noses up at such a
repair and would tell the client to find someone else to do it, but
my definition of a ‘fine jeweler’ includes helping people in the
manner best suited to their needs. Sometimes that means gluing
something back together.

That said, the use of glue in the creation of fine jewelry is
different than its use in repaIr work. If I were to be commissioned
to create a ring like the one in the photo you posted, I would most
likely build the piece so the lapis could be set from the back,
probably with tabs of some sort, or I’d figure out another way of
setting it properly. Gluing it in wouldn’t be an option I’d even

Inlay work when properly done shouldn’t need to be glued either.
Inlay work has been accomplished for many centuries and it wasn’t
until the last fifty or so years that epoxy has been available. I
would say that fact alone proves that glue really isn’t necessary in
the construction of any jewelry except maybe costume or play jewelry.
I don’t mean to speak for everyone else, but I do believe that this
is the majority view in the profession. It certainly is with the
jewelry professionals I know.

I hope you find this helpful, Ginger.
Dave Phelps

Ginger- Without being able to see it in person It appears to be
bezel set.

It looks to be a very thin and light bezel. Both the bezel and the
bead setting are actually not really all that good. A bit choppy
looking to my eye. Not really up to snuff. If there were epoxy
involve I wouldn’t be surprised.

Jo Haemer

On the websites these pieces are on I tend to use the zoom. Below is
a different pic where you see the setting directly for a pair of

I thought they were bezel set, but it isn’t tight against the lapis.
You can slightly see a bit of the gold underneath that the lapis is
laying on. That is why I wonder.

Ginger, it appears that the thin gold bezel is how the lapis is set-
not glued in by epoxy! The only time adhesives (cyanoacrylates
preferably) my be used in hand fabricated one-off pieces would be to
hold a stone in place while burnishing /setting by moving the
annealed metal -the bezel- around the stone when a small piece of
tape won’t do. I’m sure some will disagree and defend epoxy or other
adhesive usage I personally think if you can’t set any stone without
an adhesive you should rethink your design or improve your setting
skills using metal that has a similar character (for instance, one
wouldn’t practice with copper as it’s softer than the silver , gold
or Pt group alloys one may use in ‘fine jewelry’)! Looking at your
ring, it seems the setter did a good job making it appear as it’s
held into the ring by gravity or something ! If you develop a habit
of using an adhesive (other than a drop of wax or setter’s cement for
stone placement in an “emergency”) you are less likely to practice
setting skills - who doesn’t like a shortcut or taking the easier way
to the ende If you plan on doing a lot of stone setting I highly
recommend buying the Foredom AllSet master system- it makes perfect
channel settings, any type of claw or pronged setting, expertly
crafted flush/gypsy settings and also has a milling table for working
with your raw materials to fabricate virtually anything you can dream
of and end up with a perfectly set and balanced piece of jewelry in
half the time or less ! I thought I would never get my money’s worth
of use out of the investment in the Allset system- i cannot tell you
how invaluable it is on my bench. and for custom work it insures you
will produce as professional a piece as is possible when fabricated
entirely by hand. good luck!..rer

Fine jewelry should not include stones glued in with any epoxy or
other glue-like substance.

Hobbs Wells

Just wanted to hear thoughts. Thank you folks.

Hello Ginger,

Your photo does look like the lapis is glued. If the stone was
drilled and set on a post (like a pearl), glue would still be used.
While epoxy mightwork for earrings or a broach, I would not want to
rely on it for a ring!

I also wonder! Judy in Kansas, who is getting started on tax
preparation. UGH! It seems like I do all the work to gather the data
and my accountant just plugs it into his program. Yet, his knowledge
and advice has saved me $$ in the past.

This kind of mounting is made for mass production where a manufactor
can mass produce the setting – cast the diamonds in place and or
have to diamonds – set and place or drop the center stone in place
from behind and set the stone by moving a series of thin (U) wires
on the corners to secure the center stone this way of mass production
allows the manufactor to set calibrated stones of many different
colors in the same mounting no glue – from the front appears
to be bezel set. Not the best but a way for the manufactor have a
quick way to produce the color that is selling.

Hello Ginger,

The lapis stones are glued in.

I have seen a lot of this when I repair jewelry.

The stones are smaller than the finding, so the stones had to be
glued in.

What I do when I repair these, is to solder a small bezel into the
finding and then reset the stones correctly.

To remove the stones without tearing up the finding and stones, I
soak everything in MEK (methyl-ethyl-ketone) for a few minutes. To
remove the stones without tearing up the finding and stones, I soak
everything in MEK (methyl-ethyl-ketone) for a few minutes.

I have done this several times but the stones have to be inspected
every few minutes so the MEK doesn’t wash out the dye or color of the

Everyone would really be surprised at the stones that are being
glued/waxed before seating the bezels. I see it all the time.

Sometimes Acetone will work too, but takes longer and still will
"bleach" out the color.

Veva Bailey