Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bezels and Bezels and...

...more bezels.

Note: I *don't like* to make bezels. It's one of my least favorite parts of the fabrication process. I find the fine silver to be too flimsy, floppy, and delicate-feeling for my hands (and yet also stubbornly resistant to being formed into a bezel at times. Odd, that). Last year I paid someone to make bezels for me, because I figured if I wasn't going to get them made, I'd never get the rest of the process going.

So I got my bezels, and set some cabochons. It was a start! But though this woman has made excellent bezel-making skills, her costs added to the price of my finished work. And she could only deliver every two weeks - totally understandable, but what if I needed some pieces for a show and couldn't coordinate with her? And really, if I can't at least comfortably know how to do the work myself, I'm not truly owning that part of my business, am I?

So this year, while taking a fabrication course at the Spruill Center, I made bezels my focus. For the first four weeks of January, every Thursday morning for three hours, I made bezels. The first Thursday I only made 4 bezels. Can we say, "rusty skill set?" Yikes. But the second Thursday I made 10 bezels. Then I made several small bezels (it's trickier to work small). Then I tried some bezels with corners. Ugh! So, so much more difficult. But they took, in the end.  :)

Below is just a sampling:

And all in all, I made 48 bezels between January and early March. Whew! I can safely say that my skill set is far less rusty. And I've learned so much (for example, stay the hell away from sharp / pointy - cornered stones. There are a few left in my stash that I will be farming out to the lovely bezel-maker extraordinaire, but otherwise it's rounded- / curved-cornered stones for me).

Due to travels this first quarter of the year, I missed several classes, so I only have one left. And it's going to be used for setting stones (I have already set a few, the ones I posted about here) so I can get that skill set up to par a little more as well.  Then I'm taking a quarter off from jewelry classes, both because of time constraints and because I need some practice doing the things I've learned in my own studio for a while. Hopefully I'll rejoin the jewelry school world around June or so.

But for now, as time permits, I'll be bezel-ing and stone-setting away!  Let the fun begin!


  1. AMEN! I also have a really really hard, frustrating, cursing out loud, relationship with making bezels. It takes me FOREVER, and half the time they don't behave themselves and refuse to cooperate. I loved reading about your journey to bezel success! Maybe I need to make my own class, and devote one morning a week to making and practicing bezels only...Hmmmmmmmm. Thanks for the inspiration! And enjoy the stone setting!

    1. Hi Sierra, I can tell you that like with most things, practice helps! As time permits, I have been making small batches of bezels in my studio. I find that once I get into the groove, it comes pretty easily. And of. I save ovals for last, after I've tackled those pesky corners? :). Good luck with your bezels!