Friday, October 14, 2011

A Picture Journey: Sea Glass Bezels

This is an older post from my personal blog, but I really wanted to share it with you all, here, on Love My Art Jewelry.  I re-wrote the post when I was making a second large batch of bezels for another sea glass festival.  Enjoy!
What is, and has been on my bead table for three days, are bezels. I named them lilly pad bezels, due to the texture I gave them. I wanted to make a lot, so I would have enough bracelets and necklaces for the Lewes DE Coastal Arts Festival next weekend. Here they are, all 18 (there were 21, but three fell by the wayside, due to complications in the soldering stage.............)

I thought it may be fun to walk you through the journey I have taken the past three days, while making these. I like pictures, who doesn't like pictures, so come with me, on a bezel adventure.

First I select the sea glass and items that I want to bezel. Then I trace a larger outline on copper, cut it out, file and sand the edges.

Next, I match up the items with their copper counterpart, and trace them so I can add the texture to the outer portion of the bezel.

Three: texture added. I use the flat back side of my rivet hammer and slowly turn the copper as I hammer to acheive that sunburst pattern. I then make sure the hammer the entire piece flat so the bezel will lay flat.
Four: measure, cut and solder the bezels (the fine silver surround). This part I hate. This part has no pictures. Once they are measured, cut and soldered, I then sand the bottoms flat, and then solder them to the copper (using a butane torch and silver solder paste). This portion took me ALL DAY yesterday, about 8 hours!

Five: clean them and shine them up. After they are soldered, they go into the pickle pot. Once the tarnish is removed, I used my dremel to clean them up a bit. Then I matched them back up with their items to be bezeled.

Six: Place items inside bezels.Sometimes I glue mine. I know you shouldn't have to if the bezel is right, but it makes it easier when bezeling irregular shapes like sea glass. Once the glue dries, your item won't move around as you work your bezel.

Seven: secure the bezels. I like to use my wood dapping blocks as much as I can, because I tend to go off the bezel as I firm it up, and I don't want to scratch my sea glass!!! I only use my burnisher at the end.
PLEASE NOTE: This time around, I did the liver of sulphur at this stage, before tightening the bezels, that way I could clean up any that got under the sea glass.  The way I did it in the original tutorial is fine if your items are not transparent, but if some liver of sulphur gets under the bezel (and it probably will) it will show.

Eight: punch holes, file backside to remove any excess lip from hole punch

Nine: add texture with pliers- bending up and down. Then sand along back and side edges to smooth again and sand all along bezel

Ten: add patina to antique them. I use gel Liver of Sulphur and apply it with a q-tip (real high tech, right?) I do this because it gives me the most control. When you bezel items like sea glass, that are transparent, you don't want any of the L.O.S. to get under the stone, or you will have dark spots on it, and its ruined.

Eleven: I rub the LOS off with a dry paper towel. This really gives the copper and great brown color.

Twleve: I polish the silver bezel with a cloth to shine it up, so it contrasts the copper.


And here I am doing it again!  It is fun, and I do love it, and the finished product, is one of the necklaces that was born of this last bezel making session!
seaglass, Lisa Peter Art Cab, Maku Studio ammonite cab, silver, recycled sari silk
I used some of my silver this time around.  I miss it so much!!!!!!
Here are a couple more of the finished necklaces from my last batch, and I still have a bunch in reserve to play with.  It is worth it to work in batches!

I hope you found something you can take away from this.  Though its not an in depth tutorial, it does give you an overview of what is involved in bezeling stone. 

Any questions?


Jenni said...

They are fabulous, thank you for taking us through all those steps...I would love to give this a try one day.
Do you collect your own sea-glass...I never have much luck finding any!

Alice said...

Your pieces are breathtakingly beautiful! I an still so timid about using the torch, especially for a big job like this (something I've never tried before--I'm still just soldering rings together).

My question is about the silver surround (bezel). How do you solder it to the copper base so cleanly?

KristiBowmanDesign said...

I love these Staci!!!! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Erika said...

I'm so glad you shared this process - I always wondered how you made the lily pad bezels. That is a lot of work. But they are so beautiful and really cool!
Do you sell them in your component shop?
Love that necklace with the ammonite cab! Actually, I love all your pieces :)

Christine said...

Gorgeous!! Thanks for the picture tutorial, I'll have to give this a try this with some of my sea glass - Thanks!!

CS said...

Thank you for sharing this incredible journey. Your end results are outstanding. Once I improve my soldering, I will give this a try.

stacilouise said...

Let me encouragge you guys, a friend showed me how to solder some wire bails onto pendants with solder paste and a butane torch, so I went home and tried bezels!!!! LOL! I didn't plan to wait. Lots of fails in the process. I don't solder so clean either, I just sand as much off as I can, and patina over the rest! It usually takes me two tries to get the fine silver completely soldered to the copper. Pickle, rinse repeat is my motto!!! Until I run out of hardness's of solder to use. And I do find some of my sea glass, but I buy most of it from people who live near places that are plentiful in the sea glass department.

Melinda Orr - BANDANA GIRL said...

LOVE!!! I hate the bezel soldering too ~ wish it were easier :-) Terrific pieces ~

Patty said...

Staci - you make it look so easy! Beautiful results, and very inspiring. I've had several tries with bezels and need to keep at it as they don't usually turn out well. :-)

In the Light of the Moon said...

Wow I am so inspired by this wonderful tutorial!!Thank you so much.for all the steps and photos!!Hugs,Cat

Izzy said...

I just adore your style. You make it look so easy! =)

Juliette said...

What absolutely beautiful pieces, and a great tutorial! Thanks for walking us through - I really love your beach glass.

SoulsFireDesigns said...

Awesome! I always wondered how you did that! Gorgeous pieces!! Thank you!

Kelli said...

Gorgeous, Staci!!! ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing! I don't have any sea glass but I do have plenty of stone cabochons that you have given great inspiration for! I'm going to make one right now! Must not waste inspiration or sudden bursts of motivations. Much appreciated

Unknown said...

thank you so much for being so generous to share this technique .. i am excited to try it out.. got tons of sea glass.. and sweet bits of abalone.

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