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Thread: Beginner crisis - what size gemstone/stones I need to get for 3mm flat wire

  1. #1
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    Default Beginner crisis - what size gemstone/stones I need to get for 3mm flat wire

    Hello lovely people,

    So I’m just teaching myself to make some silver jewellery. I’ve got a flat wire to wrap around cabochon gemstone. But not sure what size gemstone I need to get in terms of height? I don’t have a calliper yet.

    I know I can sand it off if the wire is slightly bigger in height but if I get a bit of help from you Lovely people then it would save me time sanding the wire down too much.

    The size of flat wire is: 0.75mm x 3mm

    I’m just practicing can I use anything else instead of gemstone to practice it would save me money spending on gemstones. Initially I thought I can get some stones from my mum’s drive way just to practice but the wire is too small so I need to practice on really small stones.

    The wire was just gifted so I want to make use of it instead of cutting stripes from the copper sheet.



    Thank you xxx
    Last edited by sap; 02-04-2019 at 04:25 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default

    What is flare wire?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mizgeorge View Post
    What is flare wire?
    I think she is saying Flat wire George, so I'll try to start the innings. Dennis.

  4. #4
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    Dear Flare,
    First of all there are plenty of really cheap cabochons available to practice with here: https://www.ebay.co.uk/b/Jewellery-M...36/bn_16569511.
    They will give you a far more realistic way to practice than just random pebbles.

    Secondly the width of strip needed to set commonly used sizes is around 2.0mm, so you will need to do some work there. The ideal is that the strip is only just high enough without bunching at the top when pressed home.
    That said, the stone can be raised a little by inserting a jump ring, a disk, or a very shot tube, untilit looks right.

    Lastly 0.75 mm is far too thick for setting unaided by a hammer, so the metal needs to be thinned considerably, ideally to around 0.4mm for a beginner.
    If you do not have many tools, this might be achieved by annealing and stretching repeatedly, between two pairs of pliers,

    You say you do not have any callipers, but for me they are a very important tool for anything related to stone setting. Even these very cheap ones would do;https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/283301696571 Dennis.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    Dear Flare,
    First of all there are plenty of really cheap cabochons available to practice with here: https://www.ebay.co.uk/b/Jewellery-M...36/bn_16569511.
    They will give you a far more realistic way to practice than just random pebbles.

    Secondly the width of strip needed to set commonly used sizes is around 2.0mm, so you will need to do some work there. The ideal is that the strip is only just high enough without bunching at the top when pressed home.
    That said, the stone can be raised a little by inserting a jump ring, a disk, or a very shot tube, untilit looks right.

    Lastly 0.75 mm is far too thick for setting unaided by a hammer, so the metal needs to be thinned considerably, ideally to around 0.4mm for a beginner.
    If you do not have many tools, this might be achieved by annealing and stretching repeatedly, between two pairs of pliers,

    You say you do not have any callipers, but for me they are a very important tool for anything related to stone setting. Even these very cheap ones would do;https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/283301696571 Dennis.
    Ha ha thanks Dennis for the correction, it was just a typo tried to reply to George but for some reason it didn’t work.

    Now going back to your suggestion, I’ll take your advice and get those cabochons from eBay for practice. Wow 0.4mm is really thin, what width would you suggest to graduate to once you get a bit of experience?

    I’m practicing on silver plated copper strip and wire so I would need to aneal the metal anyway as unlike silver it’s really hard to find annealed copper or may be there isn’t any ��. Not too sure about stretching but I would try and follow your instructions and see how it goes. I bought the calliper and it’s coming from China at the end of this month, but I’m getting way to impatient to wait that long ����

    So what size stone would you recommend for a 3mm strip? Normally you’ll get the stones first measure it with a calliper and then get the strip but in my situation I’ve the strip and not the stone, so I just need to be sure that I’m getting the right sizes �� as it all ads up specially when you’re on a tight student budget ��

    P.S awesome tip for raising the stone!

    Thank you for all the tips, links and advice!! You’ve been a great help ☺️
    Last edited by sap; 02-04-2019 at 10:53 PM.

  6. #6
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    Hi ya,
    For the size cabochons most commonly used (6.0-12.0mm diameter) 0.4mm bezel strip is quite usual. Certainly no more than 0.5mm, or it gets awkward, to push by hand. I mostly use fine silver.

    Normally we dont make a bezel and then look for a stone to fit. Even if you buy a stone of a certain size, it will only be an approximate figure. Hence the callipers.

    As previously said, use the minimum height needed to just grasp the bulge of the stone. The length of strip can be:
    1. Calculated using maths: it is the diameter times 3.14 (which is the dreaded pi)
    2. Just wound around the cabochon (stuck down with BluTack) marked with a waterproof pen and cut with a saw blade (about size 0/4).
    3. Or wound around the right size of mandrel. This is my preferred method as it is less fiddly. I have a box of cheap drill bits and choose the right one. Dennis.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    Hi ya,
    For the size cabochons most commonly used (6.0-12.0mm diameter) 0.4mm bezel strip is quite usual. Certainly no more than 0.5mm, or it gets awkward, to push by hand. I mostly use fine silver.

    Normally we dont make a bezel and then look for a stone to fit. Even if you buy a stone of a certain size, it will only be an approximate figure. Hence the callipers.

    As previously said, use the minimum height needed to just grasp the bulge of the stone. The length of strip can be:
    1. Calculated using maths: it is the diameter times 3.14 (which is the dreaded pi)
    2. Just wound around the cabochon (stuck down with BluTack) marked with a waterproof pen and cut with a saw blade (about size 0/4).
    3. Or wound around the right size of mandrel. This is my preferred method as it is less fiddly. I have a box of cheap drill bits and choose the right one. Dennis.
    Hi Dennis, in regards to the thickness of her flat wire, could she file a slant on the outside edge of her bezel so that the stone is easier to set? I've never set a stone myself so don't know if this is an acceptable option.

  8. #8
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    Yes, I do that Sheena, but it is a matter of style. You might like a flat top to you bezel, or you might like it sloping.
    Start some yourself and all will be revealed. Dennis.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    Yes, I do that Sheena, but it is a matter of style. You might like a flat top to you bezel, or you might like it sloping.
    Start some yourself and all will be revealed. Dennis.
    I've been buying cabs, so at some point it's going to happen

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    Hi ya,
    For the size cabochons most commonly used (6.0-12.0mm diameter) 0.4mm bezel strip is quite usual. Certainly no more than 0.5mm, or it gets awkward, to push by hand. I mostly use fine silver.

    Normally we dont make a bezel and then look for a stone to fit. Even if you buy a stone of a certain size, it will only be an approximate figure. Hence the callipers.

    As previously said, use the minimum height needed to just grasp the bulge of the stone. The length of strip can be:
    1. Calculated using maths: it is the diameter times 3.14 (which is the dreaded pi)
    2. Just wound around the cabochon (stuck down with BluTack) marked with a waterproof pen and cut with a saw blade (about size 0/4).
    3. Or wound around the right size of mandrel. This is my preferred method as it is less fiddly. I have a box of cheap drill bits and choose the right one. Dennis.

    Thanks Dennis, that’s brilliant, I’m just going to follow your instructions and go for it. Do you mean the thickness of the bezel wire 0.4 - 0.5? The one that I’ve is 0.75mm thick and 3mm wide.

    I’m currently using silver plated copper so it doesn’t really matter for the time being but when I start making these pieces in sterling silver, can I hall mark fine silver in case the overall size goes above 7g something.

    I just received the delivery of few more bits including hammer, mandrill and some pliers that I’m hoping will make my life a bit easier ��
    Last edited by sap; 03-04-2019 at 08:23 PM.

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