Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Step Bezel Tutorial

The lovely Julie of Julie A Mauerer Designs has been kind enough to give us a step by step tutorial for making a step bezel. Now that you know how to make a step bezel, please check out her shop for a wonderful pendant tutorial using this technique. Also keep your eyes peeled for a prong setting tutorial she will have available shortly. Julie is an incredible artist and a great teamie so if you get a moment please give her some love!

How to Create Your Own Stepped Bezel Wire

Materials: strip of bezel, wire, hard solder, flux and steel binding wire (20g)
Tools: torch, solder pick, solder block, pickle

This is a technique I developed out of necessity. It’s fairly simple and it works really well for me.

Start with a strip of fine silver bezel any size and a piece of wire. I cut my pieces at random lengths but they’re about 7 inches. You can use any type of wire: round, square, rectangle, etc. I usually use 2x1mm rectangle wire because it gives the bezel a lot of strength, but in this case I’m using 18g square wire. If you’re setting a lot of faceted stones you want to place the wire at a level that will allow for the pavilion of the stone. However if you’re just setting a low dome cabochon, you can use a low bezel with the wire placed along one edge. Make sure the wire is as straight as possible. Hammer it with a rawhide mallet if it has kinks.

Take a length of steel binding wire (hardware store). This one is 20 gauge.

Apply flux to your silver and begin wrapping the binding wire around the two pieces. Not too tight because the steel can fuse to the silver. If this happens do not put it in the pickle! It will copper plate your silver. Instead, first file off the steel. Usually this doesn’t happen.

After wrapping the two pieces, begin to bend them. I’ve found this will force the pieces together with fewer gaps. They have to be touching when you solder or they won’t solder completely.

Make sure the wire is as straight and level as possible. When you solder the stepped bezel you can always fix small unevenness by lining up the wire, but it’s best to prevent it.

Apply more flux and then feed hard solder into the groove. Straighten it out and check for gaps. If necessary solder again.

Pavilion Fits!

Voila, you're done! Please contact Julie with any questions or comments. Thanks Julie!


  1. does it have to be steel? I have been using some thin base metal wire I had leftover from making beaded ornaments years ago to bind when wire wrapping.

  2. basically yes. the reason I use steel is because it wont melt. Home depot also sells aluminum wire but aluminum has a lower melting temp and would melt all over the silver. Copper would solder to the silver, as would brass. The wire costs a couple bucks so its' not a big deal.

    Do you have that craft wire that comes on little spools? I think most of that is just copper plated with other sorts of metal. So I dont think that would work.

  3. Thank you Julie! I am going to try this and check back with you to let you know how it goes!
    Thanks again!

  4. Hi! Great tute! I will be linking at http://www.handmade-jewelry-club.com/ in future post.