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Working with 14k yellow gold


#1

Hi all. I have a rather embarrasing question to pose, but it’s
driving me crazy. I have often seen 14k yellow gold rings and
pendants etc. set with brittle stones, particularly peridot. Having
only limited experience with Gold alloys, I don’t know how the
makers do this. I find 14k yellow to be so hard to move in a bezel,
and so springy, that when I set a peridot cab in a 14 yellow bezel,
even with punch setting (my preference for control) I couldn’t get
the stone to not rattle. The stone had a lentil bottom, but I cut a
curved bearing for it and all. It was secure from falling out, but
there was this little rattle! Finally, and with much disgust at
myself, I applied a drop of “Industrial Adhesive” to the back, to
stop the stone from rattling. (No, the piece will not be sold) Now,
I understand enough metallurgy to know that 14k is a tough springy
alloy to begin with, prone to heat hardening, so how do I anneal it
properly? When to quench? How can I set brittle stones, or any
stones, in 14k yellow if the bezel bounces up under the punch? And
finally, how is it that everyone else seems to be able to do this?
Any help would be great. And let’s just keep that little "adhesive"
incident to ourselves, shall we :wink: Danny


#2

Hi Danny, just a few thoughts about your setting technique using 14k
yellow. Definately anneal the setting before attempting to set the
stone. I’ve gotten used to heating to dull red then air cooling in
order to anneal the metal. The bezel wall might not have sufficient
contact with the stone. Although using adhesives may not be the best
way to go, it does work quite well for cabs. I’ve heard of people
putting
clean saw dust or “padding” beneath the stone.


#3
How can I set brittle stones, or any stones, in 14k yellow if the
bezel bounces up under the punch? 

Hi Danny, I sheepishly asked a similar question here several months
ago, and got many responses. Based on suggestions, the solution on
which I finally settled was to give up on 14k bezels, and upgrade to
22k bezels, even with a 14k piece of jewelry. The 22k bezel is nice
and cooperative, much like the fine silver bezels I use with sterling
jewelry. Yes, it’s a bit more expensive than 14k bezel, but the ease
of use, reduced aggravation, nice rich color and savings in damaged
stones make it worth the additional investment.

Hope this helps,
Dave
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com


#4

OK folks…I’m going to share a trick that I have considered a
selling point for my work:

First: We all know that when working with an opaque stone, a bit of
sawdust (I use cork dust because it has more spring) can offer a bit
of spring to push the stone back against the bezel.

I do the same for clear stones except that I place a polished piece
of metal over the sawdust cut to the shape of the stone. When I put
pressure on the stone, the sawdust compresses. When the bezel
springs back slightly, the sawdust expands a bit keeping the stone
tight. The polished metal reflects back through the stone
highlighting it’s natural color.

Howard Woods
@FrodoGem
In the beautiful foothills near Eagle Idaho


#5

Hi, I know some people can work successfully with 14K, bezels, but
I am not one of them. I gave up using 14 K. for bezels. Even in
an annealed state they are too springy and resistant. I found them
frustrating to work with. 18, and 22K are much easier to work with,
and I can get a good tight fit with them. Alma


#6

Alma, I have done many 14K bezels and have had no particular
problems. I will say, however, it takes considerable shoulder
strength (notice I said shoulder - not finger) to properly bezel this
material. Furthermore, everything must be prepared perfectly; a very
even lip all around, wall thickness, bezel height and a stone with
very well shaped shoulders.

Its not for everyone though and with no intention of making enemies
of our female members, women tend not to have the shoulder strength
to properly seat a 14K bezel.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut1


#7
 Its not for everyone though and with no intention of making
enemies of our female members, women tend not to have the shoulder
strength to properly seat a 14K bezel. Cheers from Don at The
Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple elegance IS fine jewelry!
dcdietz@attbi.com 

Don – You’re kidding, right? I’m female, I’m tiny, I weigh in at a
whopping 110#, and I set 14k bezels all the time. Not those wimpy
commercial ones either, but nice heavy custom made bezels. No
intention of making enemies of our strong-shouldered counterparts out
there, but shoulder strength doesn’t have much to do with it at all.


#8

Talie, No, I wasn’t kidding! I will certainly say, ‘Good for you’,
that you have developed the ability to work with 14K gold bezels.
Tiny or not, I believe it would take certain techniques or abilities
to do the job.

I have watched many people struggle to bezel both SS and 14K
gold…both male and female…but the females appear to have more
problems for the reason given. That is not to say that there are
some, as yourself, who have mastered the problem…rather it is a
specific observation!

I explained my concept and technique of using a bezel roller/rocker
to attain a smooth and well seated bezel in my 3/21/03 Orchid post.
I have practiced this technique and taught it for many years. While
using it, I pay close attention to my body and muscle movements to
help better describe the action. I find the wrist and upper forearm
both play a role but, more importantly, the muscle on the outside of
the arm where it meets the shoulder performs most of the work (sorry
I don’t know what it is called).

I have no idea how you do your bezeling, but I certainly would like
to hear more…maybe it would help other Orchid members --and me in
teaching my students!