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Wide Cuff Bracelet with Gemstone

Hi Folks, Question: Sterling Silver Cuff Bracelet, 1" wide by 6"
long, large round or oblong Gemstone Cabochon set in Fine Silver
Bezel in center. Should the Bracelet be shaped before soldering the
bezel on, or shaped after the soldering?

Thank you for your time & attention & all the great info provided in
this forum.

by the Grace of God!

Hi Char -

Even though I’m fairly new at this, I’ve just gone through this
exact exercise in the past few weeks. My instructor had me shape the
bracelet first, then file the bottom of the bezel to fit the
now-curved surface. And solder.

There are three bezels on my bracelet, and I quickly learned how
critical it was to shape the bezel exactly to the surface. If it
doesn’t meet the surface, there will be places where light shines
through after you solder, which you will have to fill. And repeated
heating can increase the potential for firescale, increasing your
finishing and polishing time. (My instructor has me flux the entire
surface of the bracelet which seems to really reduce firescale.)

If there is an easier way, I would love to hear about it.


Greetings Char. I always shape the bracelet first then cut the bezel
to fit the curves and pack the spaces to support the stone. If you
put the bezel down first, you end up with a flat section and a weak
place or sharp bend where the bracelet starts to curve around the


Shape it first. Then make your bezel. Then file the bezel to fit the
curve of the Bracelet. The stone must also be curved to fit the
bracelet arc. I use the outside of a diamond core drill with water to
shape the stone. Bill from L.I.

Rather than re-shaping the stone, it may be easier to incorporate a
bearing on the inside of the bezel upon which the stone can rest.
Just solder a length of square wire running lengthwise on your bezel
strip, up a wee bit from the bottom, before you solder the ends of
the bezel together. You will want to use bezel wire wide enough to
accomodate the wire, the filing for the curve, and the shoulder of
the stone, so you will have enough to rub over when all is done.
Then the bottom of the stone will rest on the ledge created by the
wire, rather than on the curved surface of the bracelet, and you
will not need to reshape the cabachon.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry

1 Like


Sorry for delay in response…been kind of busy. Anytime you want
to put stone onto a curved surface, it is best to shape the curve
first then fit the bezel to match. This holds true for rings,
bracelets, pins, pendants, whatever. I recently completed a round
silver box with three bezel set turquoise stones around the sides.
Each bezel was ‘saddle cut’ to fit the exact curve of the box and
then soldered on. Each bezel had an internal bearing on which the
flat stone could set. Sometimes, if the bezel is a low, the stone can
also be saddle cut to fit. But you should become familiar with basic
lapidary procedures before trying this.

This is part of the engineering phase of jewelry making…that
is…figuring out each step for a design from start to finish before
starting the first one. Another example…if you cut a hole into a
piece of round metal then form it into a dome on a dapping block, the
hole will rarely still be round when you finish. Form the dome
first…then cut the hole and it will still be a round hole, etc.,

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2

Hi Char, I would suggest that you shape the bracelet first and then
solder the bezel, otherwise if you’ll do the contrary, you might
loose the shape of the bezel after soldering and it would be very
difficult to set the cabochon then. Remember that silver is very
soft! Hope that this helps. Regards, JOSEPH TANTI

Hello! Thanks for that bit of tho it was meant for
another. It is good info for me also. I would like to do something
like to shape a cuff, and then add embellishment cut-out designs. I
wasn’t sure how to get the cut-out designs on without misshaping
them.) Can you describe a little further how I can do this … I
want to overlay horizontally on the cuff’s surface 2 strips of flat
wire, and then add a pieces of cut out metal designs, something like
this --> ~~~~~~~ vertically between the 2 strips. The shape of the
cuff will be “concave” (?) - on the wrist it will look like this ->
)( (I hope it makes sense.would love help with this one.)

Thanks Loads!

You solder the two strips to the flat silver . Use hard solder or
ITP solder. I just made a12 GA. bracelet with 14 GA… square-wire and
set stones between the wire .BE AWARE that the wire considerably
strengthens the silver and makes it Very hard to curve but it can be
done. It was made for a substantial lady who could carry it . It may
be easier to form when there is less metal

Thanks Helen!! I was beginning to give up on my question. I’m
attempting a wide cuff with wire strips and cut out designs. This
info is very helpful. What about smaller cut-out designs positioned
between the horizontal wire. Should the designs be soldered on the
flat silver cuff before shaping the cuff. Will soldering first and
then shaping cause harm or misshape the designs? Truly appreciate
the help!!! S.Elaine, a layman and lover of the art.

When I did mine I made a model out of copper to see what would
happen when I soldered flat and then shaped.So put your shapes down
and then shape . No big loss if they distort. On each step in my wide
cuff I did the copper first which practiced and refined my technique.
I ended with two great bracelets and they were different since I used
different stones to compliment the copper. Bill from L.I.