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Setting Gemstones in Metal Clay

Textured silver metal clay reversible pendant set with a faceted lab ruby gemstone. Designed, created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.
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Textured silver metal clay reversible pendant set with a faceted lab ruby gemstone. Designed, created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.

How Many Ways Can You Set Gemstones in Metal Clay?

Probably more than you think! If you want to learn many different options for setting gemstones in metal clay both before and after firing, this article is for you. In addition to metal clay setting techniques and tips, you'll also find recommended gemstone firing test charts and helpful tutorials, books, videos and tools. Even if you don't know much about metal clay, the photos and techniques here may well inspire you to find out more this wonderful material and maybe even try your hand at jewelry making!

I've always loved learning and sharing what I've learned with others, and in this article I'll share what you need to know about setting gemstones in metal clay successfully. You'll learn how to determine which gemstones are safe to fire in metal clay as well as a wide variety of options for setting natural gemstones, lab or synthetic gems, CZs and other objects into unfired or fired metal clay pieces.

Read on to expand your repertoire of techniques for setting stones and other objects in metal clay!

Margaret Schindel, Senior Editor / Technical Editor, Metal Clay Artist Magazine

Gemstone Firing Tests in Metal Clay: Which Stones Tested Safe to Fire in Place?

Assorted faceted and cabochon natural gemstones, synthetic and manmade gemstones and CZs.
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Assorted faceted and cabochon natural gemstones, synthetic and manmade gemstones and CZs.

Gemstone Firing Tests

Several knowledgeable people have performed extensive firing tests of natural and manmade gemstones at typical metal clay firing schedules, both unset and embedded in metal clay. The results of these gemstone firing tests provide a very helpful guide to how risky it is to fire a particular type of stone in place.

Not every stone produced identical test results in the different firing tests, and the tests also vary in terms of whether the stones were tested loose or embedded in metal clay, the types of clay in which the stones were embedded, and the firing schedules tested, so I usually consult several of the charts before deciding whether or not I think a particular stone is a good risk for firing in place in the type of clay and at the firing schedule I plan to use.

Gemstones in Metal Clay

This guide by Mardel Rein of Cool Tools shows which natural and synthetic gemstones can be fired successfully in metal clay, by what methods (kiln and/or butane torch), with or without activated carbon, and at what firing schedules. It's formatted as a PDF file for easy printing and you'll want to keep a copy in your work area for frequent reference. It also includes tests at the longer/hotter BRONZclay and COPPRclay firing schedules (which is a helpful reference when using any type of base metal or sterling silver clay), and is the gemstone testing chart I turn to most often. It reflects the combined gemstone firing test results of Mardel Rein and Kevin Whitmore of Rio Grande.

A Comprehensive Reference Manual of Natural Gemstones and Firing Tests in Metal Clay

Natural Gemstones in Metal Clay. A Bench Resource Manual.
Natural Gemstones in Metal Clay. A Bench Resource Manual.

Natural Gemstones in Metal Clay. A Bench Resource Manual by Deric Metzger GJG AJA AJP is an essential reference guide for metal clay artists who wish to incorporate natural gemstones in their metal clay jewelry (or other metal clay art). It is packed with detailed information about 107 unique natural gemstones and dozens more varieties of each of those stones. A great reference book if you want to know which of the less common natural gemstones can be fired in metal clay.

 

Bling, Bam, Boom, and Things That Go Poof in the Kiln

If you register on the Rio Grande web site for the archived PMC Guild educational materials, you get this wonderful article on gemstones by Deric Metzger, G.J.G. A.J.P. in the Fall 2004 • Volume 7, Number 3 back issue of Studio PMC Magazine. You'll find a more extensive look at the results of Metzger's gemstone firing tests in metal clay in book Natural Gemstones in Metal Clay - A Bench Resource Manual.

Firing Gemstones and Natural Stones

This excellent and helpful PDF from Art Clay World USA provides tips for selecting stones suitable for firing in metal clay and for testing stones.

Natural Gemstones You Can Fire in Place or Set Afterwards

This page from Mary Ellin D'Agostino lists natural gemstones that can be fired in place successfully as well as some that should be set after firing.

Setting Gemstones in Metal Clay Before vs. After Firing

Photo credit: Fine silver metal clay earrings molded from the blossom end of a tangerine, embellished with gold and set with clear round CZ gemstones. Created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.
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Photo credit: Fine silver metal clay earrings molded from the blossom end of a tangerine, embellished with gold and set with clear round CZ gemstones. Created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.

Caveat: Fire ANY Gemstone at Your Own Risk!

Following these tips and guidelines, especially the excellent charts of stone firing tests below, will help you minimize the risk of fired-in-place gemstones changing color, fracturing or breaking after firing in metal clay. However, each stone is unique and there are no guarantees, especially for natural stones. Even a stone identical in appearance to one that you test fired successfully may not react identically to the tested stone, especially if the stones are natural gemstones. Also, even a stone that appears to survive a test firing successfully may be weakened and fracture later on. If you are dealing with an expensive or irreplaceable stone, it's best to create a setting for it in the metal clay piece and then set it after the piece has been fired.

Buy Kiln-Safe Gemstones, CZs and Lab-Created Stones From Reputable Suppliers

There are no hard-and-fast rules about which gemstones will survive torch firing or kiln firing in metal clay without changing color or fracturing/breaking at certain typical firing schedules, but fortunately there are some tips for minimizing the risk and also some excellent guides as to which gemstones, natural and manmade (i.e., lab-grown gems or synthetic stones) are good candidates for firing in (or with) metal clay based on extensive firing tests of various gemstones in different types of metal clay at different firing schedules and in different firing conditions (open air vs. carbon fired).

Always ask your suppliers whether the CZ and/or lab-created stones they sell have been tested for firing in metal clay.

Try to buy from suppliers who test their gemstones and stand behind them as being "kiln-safe." The product descriptions for many of the stones on the Gem Resources web site (see Recommended Suppliers of Gemstones and Settings for Metal Clay) include results from gemstone firing tests in metal clay performed by artist and teacher Judi Weers.

Whenever possible, test-fire an identical stone (from the same shipment from the same supplier) by itself or, preferably, embedded in a small piece of the same type and formula of metal clay of the piece in which you want to fire to see whether it fractures or changes color. (You may wish to cover a loose stone with a piece of fiber blanket to contain the fragments in case the stone shatters during the firing test.)

Gemstones Set in Metal Clay Are Affected by Clay Shrinkage, Firing Schedule and Firing Method

Different metal clay formulas shrink at different rates and it's important to take the shrinkage of the metal clay into account when embedding gemstones to fire in place. Make settings large enough to accommodate shrinkage without putting undue pressure on the stone, but not so large that the sintered clay will not lock the stones in place in the metal securely.

Learn the Art of Setting Stones in Metal Clay from Noted Artist and Teacher Jeanette "Nettie" Landenwitch

Setting Stones in Metal Clay
Setting Stones in Metal Clay

Nettie Landenwitch is a metal clay pioneer and innovative artist who also was the Executive Director of the PMC Guild until it ceased operations in 2012. Her comprehensive book, Setting Stones in Metal Clay, addresses different types of gemstones, gemstone firing tests, tools and materials, how to choose the right setting for your stone, how to calculate the enlarged size to make a metal clay setting so that it fits the stone perfectly after firing, many different options for making bezel settings, several different ways to use or create prong settings, and other setting options including posts (for pearls and drilled or half-drilled beads), tab settings, tube settings, strap settings, faux pavé settings, trapped settings, and much more. Highly recommended.

 

When using higher-shrinkage metal clay formulas, make the stone settings a little deeper and wider than you would in low-shrinkage clay.

If your design will allow it, also drill or cut out a small hole at the bottom of each setting for a point-back gemstone. This will help prevent the girdle of the stone from being pushed up above the clay as it shrinks, which would mean that the stone was not shrink-locked securely into the metal.

Some gemstones that would fracture or change color in an open-air firing can survive being kiln fired in activated carbon.

I strongly recommend consulting the gemstone firing test links above before deciding which stones to try kiln firing this way, and also test firing a sample stone in a small piece of metal clay before using it in a piece you care about. Start with a brief, gentle binder burnout by placing the piece on a flame-proof surface and using a butane torch to ignite the binder in the clay, keeping the flame away from the gemstone(s). Wait until the flame burns out. Try to ignite the binder again. If it won't ignite, there is no remaining binder to burn out. Transfer the partially fired pieces gently onto a 1/2" deep bed of activated carbon in a kiln safe firing container, top with more carbon to a depth of 1/2" above the top of the piece, being extremely gentle when moving the pieces since they will be fragile after the binder burnout, and then kiln fire them in the activated carbon according to the clay manufacturer's directions.

Only Set Gemstones Directly in Metal Clay If They Can Withstand the Firing Schedule and Firing Method for the Clay Formula You Are Using

Check the depth of the stone vs. the clay thickness. You'll need to add enough clay in the setting area (or embed the stone deep enough in thicker clay pieces) to cover the stone's girdle (for faceted stones) or the stone's shoulder (for cabochons) after the clay has been fired and has shrunk during the sintering process. This will shrink lock the gemstone into the metal.

Setting Cabochon Gemstones Directly in Metal Clay to be Fired in Place

Make sure that the shoulder of the cabochon stone is embedded in the clay 1–2 mm below the surface of low shrinkage metal clay or 3 mm below the surface of higher shrinkage clay formulas so that after firing the clay will shrink lock the shoulder of the cabochon into the metal.

Photo: Fine silver earrings from metal clay, set with lab sapphire cabochons and embellished with 24K gold keum-boo, designed, created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.
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Photo: Fine silver earrings from metal clay, set with lab sapphire cabochons and embellished with 24K gold keum-boo, designed, created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.
Diagram showing the parts of a faceted gemstone, adapted from a Public Domain image on Pixabay by Margaret Schindel
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Diagram showing the parts of a faceted gemstone, adapted from a Public Domain image on Pixabay by Margaret Schindel

Setting Faceted Gemstones Directly in Metal Clay to be Fired in Place

Faceted gemstones must be set so that the table (flat top portion) of the stone is recessed between 1 mm and 3 mm below the surface of the clay, depending on the shrinkage of the formula. This ensures that when the clay shrinks during firing, the girdle (narrow, faceted circumference) of the stone is locked into place so the stone cannot fall out or come loose.

Whenever possible, it is desirable to cut an opening directly under the culet or pointed bottom of the stone. This has two benefits:

  • It minimizes the tendency of the clay to force the embedded gemstone upward as it shrinks during firing.
  • It provides access to that the back as well as the front of the stone when cleaning the finished piece of jewelry.

How Deep is Too Deep?

As important as it is to ensure that the girdle of the stone is embedded deep enough in the clay to be shrink locked into place, embedding the stone too deeply will result in covering up too much of the crown of the stone and making the stone appear smaller than it is.

The ideal depth varies from one clay formula to another, depending on its shrinkage rate. Finding the optimal balance to achieve a secure shrink-lock setting and keep the maximum amount of the stone's crown exposed is something that comes with practice.

A Helpful Tip for Embedding Faceted Gemstones in Fresh Metal Clay

When embedding a faceted stone in fresh metal clay, getting the table of the stone perfectly level and the girdle recessed to the correct depth can be a challenge. The easiest way is to moisten the hole in the fresh bezel or backplate, wait a few moments and lightly oil the moistened surface. Stack spacer slats on either side and flush with the surface of the clay. Center the stone in the hole, then use an acrylic snake roller to press straight down against the spacer stacks.

Setting Tall Faceted Stones in Metal Clay

Setting a faceted stone with a tall pavilion in metal clay can be a challenge, especially if the clay base in which will be set is significantly shorter than the stone (or shallow bezel set gemstone component). If you use the stone to create an individual bezel set component using one of the methods I've described, when you attach the component to your piece it may protrude above the surface more than your design calls for.

Photo: Fine silver charm (both sides shown) from metal clay, set with a tall citrine CZ and embellished with a crystal bead drop, designed, created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.
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Photo: Fine silver charm (both sides shown) from metal clay, set with a tall citrine CZ and embellished with a crystal bead drop, designed, created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.

Option 1: Increase the Height of the Clay Setting for the Gemstone

One option is to increase the height of the piece in the area where the gemstone or shallow bezel set component will be placed. One way to do this is to stack one or more cutouts on top of the backplate before embedding the gemstone or pre-set stone component.

That's how I set the citrine colored CZ in the charm shown at right (in both front and back views) so that the CZ's culet wouldn't protrude through the backplate. The charm was built by stacking three dried clay (greenware) components: a shallow bezel-set CZ component, a shape cutout with a hole drilled through the center (to provide room for the bottom of the pavilion) and a backplate with a hole drilled only partway through (I needed more depth to accommodate the pavilion but I didn't want to expose the culet since this was a two-sided charm).

Option 2: Bezel Set the Stone in Metal Clay With the Culet Protruding From the Back of the BackPlate

Another solution is to set the stone in a shallow metal clay bezel that leaves the lower part of the pavilion exposed so that it can be embedded below the surface of the piece, either into fresh metal clay or into a hole drilled to accommodate the exposed part of the stone's pavilion.

Create a Useful Bezel Making Tool from Polymer Clay

In her excellent instructional DVD set "Contemporary Metal Clay 1" renowned jewelry artist, instructor and author Hattie Sanderson demonstrated how to make a nifty bezel-making tool out of polymer clay that is extremely helpful for making these types of partial bezels.

The basic idea is to create a thick, perfectly flat patty of conditioned polymer clay of even thickness throughout (you also can use a large circle cutter with a thick slab of rolled-out clay and smooth the edges with your finger), cut out a hole from the center with a clay cutter (or straw) that is slightly smaller than the girdle of the faceted stone you want to set, cure this polymer clay "doughnut", sand it perfectly smooth and flat, and then seal it with a polymer clay-compatible glaze or clear varnish. Cut or punch a matching hole in a piece of nonstick sheet (optional but recommended).

To use this bezel making tool, flatten a ball of metal clay to the desired height by placing it between two stacks of playing cards or thickness spacers or stacks of playing cards. Alternatively, you can create a more decorative bezel by rolling out a slab of metal clay to the desired bezel thickness and cutting out the desired bezel shape and size with a craft knife, scalpel or small shape cutter. From the center of this flattened patty or cutout, cut a hole slightly smaller than the girdle of the stone. Oil the nonstick sheet and place it on top of the polymer disc, aligning the holes. (Alternatively, you can oil the polymer disc.) Place the clay shape on top, aligning the hole with the holes in the nonstick sheet and the polymer disc. Moisten the inside and top edges of the hole in the metal clay with a drop of water, wait a few seconds for the moisture to be absorbed, and then center the stone carefully with tweezers. Slowly and carefully press the stone straight down so that its girdle is 1 to 2 mm below the surface of the clay and the table is perfectly level and flush with the surface. Allow the bezel to dry, then carefully remove it from the nonstick sheet (or oiled polymer disc) and file or sand the edges smooth. As a final step, clean the stone carefully with a sponge-tipped swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Flush Setting Gemstones in Metal Clay

If the clay is deep enough, use a small straw or other cutter to cut out a hole slightly smaller than the stone. Then moisten the surface of the clay around the hole very lightly, wait a few seconds for the moisture to be absorbed into the clay, and then center the stone over the hole and press it straight down into the clay until the girdle (faceted stones) or shoulder (cabochons) of the stone is about 1 mm below the surface of the clay (or deeper, depending on the shrinkage of the clay formula).

Metal Clay Ball Bezel Setting II

Moisten the area on the clay where you want to bezel set the stone. Roll a ball of clay about twice the size of the stone and press it onto the moistened area of the piece. Lightly moisten the ball and allow the water to absorb briefly, and then use a pencil, pointed clay shaper, etc. to make a cone-shaped hole for the stone. Press the stone straight down into the hole so the girdle or shoulder is about 1 mm below the surface.

Metal Clay Ball Bezel Setting I

Cut a hole in the clay slightly smaller than the stone's diameter.

Roll a small ball of lump clay and flatten it slightly into a disc a bit wider than the stone.

Place the disc over the hole and, using tweezers, place the stone into the center of the disc.

Press the stone into the disc until the girdle is covered and the table is level.

Bezel Setting Gemstones in Metal Clay as Separate Design Components

Setting individual gemstones in metal clay bezels to use as separate components is one of my favorite ways to bezel-set safe-to-fire gemstones in fresh metal clay. Setting the stones separately tends to minimize distortion and allows the setting to be refined as much as desired prior to attaching the pre-set stone to a metal clay jewelry design.

Many jewelry artists like to use small amounts of leftover metal clay to bezel set gemstones and keep a variety of them on hand to use as design components.

How to Bezel Set Individual Gemstone Design Components

Make sure the gemstone you want to set is safe to fire in place.

Adding a Bezel-Set Gemstone Component to a Fresh Metal Clay Design

Moisten the area where the setting will be attached and cut a small hole (to allow access to the back of the stone for cleaning). Then moisten the back of the bezel setting and press it onto the moistened fresh clay, centering it over the hole.

Adding a Bezel-Set Gemstone Component to a Dried Metal Clay Design

Drill a hole through the dry metal clay backplate to allow access to the back of the stone for cleaning. Moisten the surface of the clay around the hole and on the back of the bezel. Then center the bezel-set stone over the drilled hole and press it down firmly, wiggling it slightly until the clay "grabs" and the bezel won't move. If you prefer, you can use metal clay paste to attach the bezel-set stone over the hole.

  1. Roll out a slab of metal clay at least 1 mm thicker than the stone.
  2. Use an oiled straw or small cutter slightly smaller than the stone you want to set to cut out a hole in the clay.
  3. Lightly moisten the surface of the clay around the hole, let the moisture absorb into the clay for a few seconds, and then center the stone over the hole.
  4. Use an acrylic snake roller or an empty CD or DVD case to press the stone straight down until the girdle or shoulder of the stone is 1 mm beneath the surface of the clay.
  5. Apply a clay release agent to a small clay cutter, craft knife, scalpel, clay blade or tissue blade and cut around the stone, leaving a margin slightly wider than you want the bezel to be. Remove the excess clay and allow the rough bezel to dry.
  6. Carve, file, and/or sand the bezel to refine it.

If you make these bezel set gemstone components in advance, store them in closed containers marked with the metal clay brand and formula you used to make the settings. Having a selection of unfired bezel-set stones to choose from makes designing and creating new metal clay jewelry pieces faster and more efficient.

Metal Clay Syringe Settings: Syringe Bezels and Prong Settings

Using metal clay syringe is a popular and widely used approach to setting stones directly in the clay.

Bold fine silver cocktail ring from metal clay, set with 25 x 18 mm blue topaz CZ and embellished with 24K gold keum-boo created at a workshop taught by Barbara Becker Simon at La Ruche Davis. Created by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.
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Bold fine silver cocktail ring from metal clay, set with 25 x 18 mm blue topaz CZ and embellished with 24K gold keum-boo created at a workshop taught by Barbara Becker Simon at La Ruche Davis. Created by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.

Syringe Bezels

Cut a hole in the clay slightly smaller than the stone to be set. Extrude a line of syringe clay to create a rim surrounding the edge of the hole. If necessary, add a second or third line of syringe clay to make the bezel tall enough to cover the girdle of the stone. Using tweezers, place the stone in the setting and gently press the girdle into the syringe clay until the stone's table (top) is level and the girdle is covered by the syringe clay. You can also add syringe decorations on top of the bezel (and even draping over the stone) for added security. This is how I set the lab ruby in the round silver pendant shown in the introduction at the top of this page.

Syringe Prongs

After setting the stone in a flush setting, moisten the clay around the stone and extrude syringe prongs that extend over the stone a bit longer than you want them to be after firing (to allow for shrinkage). If you make the syringe clay prongs too short, after they shrink during firing they won't be long enough to curve over the edges of the stone and hold it securely.

More Ways To Set Gemstones In Fresh Metal Clay

More popular techniques for setting gemstones in "wet" metal clay.

Photo: Fine silver metal clay origami brooch with an amethyst CZ set in a silver clay coil setting. Created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.
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Photo: Fine silver metal clay origami brooch with an amethyst CZ set in a silver clay coil setting. Created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.

Coil Setting AKA Rope Setting or Snake Setting

Roll a coil of lump clay and brush it lightly with water. Let the water soak in for a few seconds, then form the coil into loops just slightly smaller than the stones you want to set. Using a tweezer, place the stones in the loops and press them into the clay so that the girdle is covered and the table is level. This technique is explained and illustrated extremely well in "Introduction to Precious Metal Clay" by Mary Ann Devos.

Metal Clay Coil Setting - Alternate Method:

Press the stone into the clay and add a line of syringe to cover the stone's girdle.

Layered Cutout Setting

Moisten the area where you want to set the stone and add a small clay cutout (made with a knife, straw, aspic cutter, etc., from plain or textured clay). Press to adhere and wick a little water around the edges of the seam. Use an appropriate sized drinking straw or cocktail straw to remove a plug of clay slightly smaller than your stone from the center of both layers. Press in your stone to cover the girdle or shoulder. Sometimes it's easier to set the stone into the uncut top layer and then center the clay cutter over it.

Note: This technique is similar to the stacked greenware setting I used for my citrine CZ charm, but the process is slightly different when using fresh clay.

Faux Pavé Setting

To simulate a pavé setting effect, embed tiny faceted stones nearly but not quite touching into a narrow coil of clay, making sure that the stones are separated by very small amounts of metal clay to shrink-lock them in place after firing.

Roll out the clay for the main body of the piece and cut a slit slightly longer than the "pavé" strip. Brush some slip or paste over the coil and lay the clay slab on top, carefully opening the slit just enough for the row of stones to show through. Press the seam gently and smooth the edges with a damp brush and some paste or slip. When dry, turn over and apply a generous layer of paste or slip to the back of the seams. Special thanks to renowned jewelry artist Angela B. Crispin for sharing this technique with me.

Do You Prefer to Set Gemstones in Metal Clay Before or After Firing?

Certain gemstones cannot be fired in place at all. Others cannot be fired in an atmospheric (open air) firing but can survive kiln firing in activated carbon successfully. Others can be fired in place in an atmospheric firing or in activated carbon, but even those don't need to be fired in place; they can be set after firing.

The choices as to how and when you set a particular gemstone involve not only the stone's limitations but also your design aesthetic and considerations related to the shrinkage of metal clay around fixed-sized objects, whether bezels, prong settings, or the stones themselves and the possible distortion or cracking that can occur.

If a gemstone is safe to fire in place, how do you prefer to fire it?

I Prefer to Embed Safe to Fire Gemstones in Metal Clay and Fire in Place So When the Piece Comes Out of the Kiln Only the Metal Needs Finishing.

Margaret Schindel 17 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

@centralplexus: Actually, it's possible to get a beautiful fit with a fired metal clay bezel and to set it the same way you would with a bezel made of commercial fine silver bezel wire. Wanaree Tanner at www.jade-orchid.com teaches her techniques for creating exquisite bezels from metal clay that are designed to shrink to just the right size for setting gemstones after firing and to get great results consistently, and her metal clay bezels are absolutely stunning! You might enjoy going to her site and viewing her work. Being able to have the choice of a wide variety of gemstone setting techniques just gives you more artistic freedom to achieve a particular desired look. :)


centralplexus 17 months ago

I believe the worst nightmare is to try and fit a gemstone into a fire-cured piece of clay (it can never be a 100% fit...). Even if the gemstone does get a small crack after fire curing, it's what's makes it unique!


Margaret Schindel 18 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

If I know the stone is safe to fire, usually I prefer to set it directly into the clay before firing. I like the variety of different setting types and looks I can get with metal clay settings and I don't need to worry about whether the stone will fit the setting after firing or whether the clay will distort or crack as it shrinks around a fixed-size setting.

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    I Usually Prefer to Embed a Setting and Set the Stone After Firing Even for Safe to Fire Stones to Avoid Problems Caused by Clay Shrinkage.

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      Setting Glass in Metal Clay Jewelry

      Glass can be set in fine silver metal clay either before or after firing (or in any type of metal clay after firing if an appropriately sized setting has be embedded in the piece before firing). Whether you set the glass before or after firing depends on the effect you want to achieve.

      Set glass loosely in fine silver clay before firing If you want the glass to slump, round, or flatten out.

      Create a recessed area for the glass in the metal clay, making it a bit larger all the way around than the glass to allow for the clay's shrinkage. You want to shrink-lock the glass in place, but not so much that it puts pressure on the glass and causes it to develop stress fractures.

      Some artists press the glass partway into the clay and then wiggle it from side to side and front to back to create a slightly enlarged recess of the correct shape, then remove the glass and allow the clay to dry. After the clay has dried it's a good idea to carve a slight undercut at the base of the recessed area where a little softened or molten glass can ooze into, which will help lock the glass in place after firing. Brush out any clay dust carefully with a soft brush, then clean the glass carefully with isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) before replacing it in the center of the recessed are. You also may want to add some decorative strands of syringe that drape across the top of the glass to help secure the glass in place as extra insurance.

      Create an empty metal clay setting and set the glass after firing to retain the size, shape and surface texture of the glass or if you not using low-fire fine silver clay.

      Create a setting in the unfired metal clay piece using commercial or metal clay bezel wire, metal clay snakes or metal clay syringe or by making a recessed area where the glass can be glued after firing.

      Firing Schedule for Fine Silver Clay with Glass

      In order to avoid devitrification or creating stress in the glass, you need to use a cool firing schedule and cool the glass slowly. One firing schedule that works well is to fire to 1250°F / 677 °C and hold for 30 to 45 minutes Turn off the kiln and let the piece cool inside the closed kiln overnight.

      Unless you are using milled metal or pre-fired metal clay bezel wire for the setting, be sure to factor in the shrinkage of the metal clay formula to calculate the enlarged size to make the metal clay bezel or recessed setting area in the unfired clay to result in the correct size and shape to fit the cabochon after firing.

      Regarding firing schedules, the exact temperature and time depends on the type of metal clay, the type of glass and how much slumping you are willing to accept.

      Pendant Project: Set a Dichroic Glass Cabochon in Low-Fire Silver Clay

      How Do You Prefer to Set Stones in Metal Clay?

      What's your favorite method for setting gemstones, glass or other objects in metal clay?

      • Embedding stones directly into lump metal clay (fire in place)
      • Syringe clay setting (fire in place)
      • Bezel setting with metal clay bezel wire (fire in place)
      • Bezel setting with commercial bezel wire (set after firing)
      • Commercial prong setting (set after firing)
      • Embedded wire custom prong setting (set after firing)
      • Wire post (set half drilled or fully drilled bead or pearl after firing)
      • Other setting method (please specify in poll comments)
      See results without voting

      Setting Gemstones in Dry Metal Clay

      The biggest advantage to setting gemstones in metal clay after it has dried but before it has been fired is that you get the best features of setting gemstones in wet clay (i.e., you can shrink-lock the stones in place as the clay sinters) and setting gemstones after the clay has been fired (i.e., you don't risk distorting the clay or marring the surface). Here are several useful techniques for setting gemstones in dry metal clay.

       Photo: Fine silver C brooch with gypsy-set CZs, designed, created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.
      See all 11 photos
      Photo: Fine silver C brooch with gypsy-set CZs, designed, created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.

      Gypsy Settings

      Make sure the clay is thick enough so the girdle of the stone will be covered after pre-finishing. When the clay is bone dry, pre-finish it (sanding, etc.). Use a very small drill bit in a hand drill/pin vise to drill a pilot hole all the way through the clay. Replace the drill bit with a jeweler's stone-setting bur approximately 10% larger than the stone you will be setting, or use a drill bit that's the same size as the stone but drill a little deeper than usual. Test-fit the stone in the hole to make sure that the girdle is slightly below the surface of the clay. If necessary, remove the stone and enlarge the hole slightly. Carefully brush off any loose dust from the clay and from the gemstone. Clean the stone thoroughly, then place it back in the hole. Make sure it's level and clean the top of the stone with alcohol and a sponge-tipped cosmetic applicator or cotton swab. Note: If the stone is set on a curve, use white glue to hold it in place on the way to the kiln.

      Optional step (but I find it really helps to make sure the stone is shrink-locked securely after firing): Using an applicator tip with a tiny hole, extrude a very fine line of syringe just inside the edge of the drilled setting hole. Alternatively, brush a little paste clay inside the setting hole. Place the stone into the hole as described above, then wipe the edge of the setting with a damp brush to make sure no syringe or paste clay squeezed out above the stone. Let the paste or syringe clay dry completely. If any clay ends up on top of the stone, scrape/flake it off the stone gently once it has dried. Clean the top of the stone with alcohol and place in the kiln.

      Tip: You may want to create a photopolymer plate to impress starter holes in the clay where the stones will be set.

      Note: If you are unfamiliar with gypsy settings, I recommend reading this excellent article by noted jewelry artist and author Charles Lewton-Brain on the traditional Basic Gypsy (flush mount) Setting technique for setting faceted gemstones flush in metal jewelry.

      Special thanks to Mary Ellin D'Agostino, Tonya Davidson, Maggie Bergman and Priscilla Vassão for their advice on this technique.

      Bezel Settings For Cabochons That Will Be Set Post-Firing

      The most popular way to set cabochon stones that are not safe to fire in metal clay is to create custom bezel settings with traditional or metal clay bezel wire.

      Photo: Fine silver bezel wire setting embedded in fine silver metal clay before firing and set with a dichroic glass cabochon after firing, designed, created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.
      See all 11 photos
      Photo: Fine silver bezel wire setting embedded in fine silver metal clay before firing and set with a dichroic glass cabochon after firing, designed, created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.

      Tips for Embedding Commercial Bezel Wire into Metal Clay

      • Bezel wire should be wide enough to hold the stone in place securely after burnishing plus another 1 mm in width (i.e., height) that will be embedded in the metal clay. If in doubt, choose wider wire and file or sand down the bezel to the correct height after firing.
      • Scuff, scribe or coarsely sand to roughen the 1 mm edge of the wire that will be embedded.
      • Draw a line on the bezel wire scant 1 mm away from the lower edge with a fine-tipped marker to help you embed the bezel in the clay to an even depth all the way around.
      • Sand the surface of the metal clay inside the bezel flat and level before firing, if necessary, e.g., if the clay where the bezel wire is being embedded is curved and/or textured, to create a level seat for the stone when it is set. (See the example of a flat seat I created in a curved and textured bezel setting in the photo.)

      Tip: To avoid distortion caused by shrinkage, you can create a flat area on the clay where the bezel will be attached and fire it. Be sure to calculate the size of the area accurately so that it shrinks to the correct size for the bezel during firing. Then use metal clay oil paste or solder to attach the bezel to the prepared area.

      Fine Silver Bezel Wire Settings

      Wrap a strip of fine silver bezel wire around the base of a cabochon. Test fit and adjust the bezel over your cabochon on a flat surface. There shouldn't be any gaps but the stone should slide in and out of the bezel easily. When you have a good fit, mark the spot where the wire overlaps. Cut it flush (err on the side of too long vs. too short) and file the ends, if necessary, to create a tight seam when the ends are butted together. Check the fit again before sealing.

      Method 1: Embed the bezel into the clay and seal the joint neatly with paste clay or homemade PMC3 oil paste. Keep most of the paste on the outside of the joint so you don't change the fit of the bezel. Let the clay dry, fill any gaps, dry and fire. If necessary, you can file and sand off any excess paste carefully after the bezel has been fired.

      Method 2: Seal the joint of the bezel with paste clay or, better yet, homemade PMC3 oil paste or Art Clay Oil Paste. When dry, fire the bezel separately, file the seam smooth and embed in fresh clay as above. This is the method I used to bezel set the dichroic cabochon in a domed, textured metal clay pendant component the photo above.

      Tabbed Fine Silver Bezel Wire Settings

      Metal Clay Findings sells fine silver bezel wire with tabs that extend along one edge of the wire and is designed specifically to be embedded in metal clay. The company also makes ready-to-use tabbed bezels to fit 3 mm, 4 mm, 5 mm, 6 mm, 7 mm and 8 mm round stones and 6 x 4 mm and 8 x 6 mm oval stones. The tabbed bezel wire created a very secure bezel setting because the bent tabs are embedded in the clay, which shrink locks them in place during firing. Metal Clay Findings provides detailed information for using its tabbed bezel wire.

      Designing from the Stone: Design Techniques for Bezel Setting in Metal Clay Using the Stone as Inspiration

      Lisa Barth is the Go-To Expert on Using Tabbed Silver Bezel Wire to Make Custom Bezel Settings in Fine Silver Metal Clay

      My friend and colleague Lisa Lynn Barth is an internationally known jewelry artist and highly sought-after metal clay teacher who is known for using tabbed bezel wire settings in her distinctive cabochon gemstone jewelry.

      I've written an in-depth book review of Designing From the Stone that includes fabulous and inspiring photos from the book that Lisa was kind enough to provide to me digitally along with her permission to use them in my online review.

      Metal Clay Bezels for Cabochons from Art Clay Silver Paper Type or PMC Sheet

      Beautiful custom bezels can be created with metal clay paper (sheet) to accommodate cabochons of any size and shape. This technique was pioneered by talented metal clay artist Jennifer Kahn and often is referred to as the "Kahn bezel" for that reason. Jen's excellent chapter in the superb book PMC Technic: A Collection of Techniques for Precious Metal Clay explains in detail how to size the metal clay bezel setting so that it shrinks to the correct size after firing and also offers some metal clay bezel variations.

      Textured Metal Clay Bezel Wire Strips for Setting Cabochons

      You can use shallow textures (including tear-away textures) to create textured bezel wire strips for setting cabochons. If you create your own metal clay textures, you can use them to create unique textured bezels that can add more of your artistic voice and also more value to your bezel set metal clay pieces. You can choose (or create) a texture to complement or contrast with the patterning in the gemstone cabochon. And a textured bezel can help draw more attention to the cabochon it frames.

      How to Make a Nearly Invisible Seam on a Textured Metal Clay Bezel or Ring

      Artist, author, teacher and metal clay pioneer Celie Fago taught me a brilliant trick for making the seam on a textured bezel or ring nearly invisible.

      1. Cut the textured metal clay bezel strip a few millimeters longer than you need, then shape the bezel strip and join the ends.
      2. After the clay and especially the joint have dried completely, take a sharp, stabilized blade and cut cut straight down through the bezel on either side of the joint, angling the ends of the blade so both ends are beveled at the same angle.
      3. Moisten the inside of the bezel lightly, cover it with plastic wrap and allow the moisture to absorb into the clay.
      4. Remove the plastic and join the beveled ends with thick slip, taking care not to let much paste ooze out on the textured side of the joint.
      5. Allow the joint to dry completely, flick off any excess slip on the textured side with the tip of a sharp blade or the tip of a fingernail and reinforce the back of the joint.
      6. When the joint is dry, refine the inside of the bezel and use micro carving tools, files, clay, etc. as needed to make the patterns of the texture on either side of the seam appear to flow without interruption.

      How to Make Textured Bezel Wire from Any Metal Clay Type, Brand or Formula

      This method enables you to create textured bezels using any type of metal clay — fine silver, sterling silver, bronze, copper, steel, etc. — and any brand or formula of metal clay.

      1. Roll out a sheet of metal clay 1-2 cards thick (depending on the depth of your texture, the shrinkage of the clay, and how thick you want your bezel) on whatever surface you plan to cut it on. I like to use a jumbo rolling frame to maintain a perfectly even thickness throughout, or you can make your own rolling frame.
      2. Texture the clay without lifting it from the rolling surface.
      3. Cut a long strip somewhat longer and slightly wider than you'll need for your bezel strip (an adjustable dual-blade craft knife makes it easy to get a uniform width along the entire strip), then peel off the excess clay without disturbing the textured strip. The reason for not lifting the clay is to avoid getting any air between the bottom of the clay and the nonstick sheet.
      4. Allow the textured side of the clay to air dry for 30-60 seconds, just long enough to allow it to firm up so that you can lift and manipulate it without marring the texture (but not so much that it cracks when you curve it into the bezel shape), while keeping the non-textured side moist (because it is sealed against the nonstick sheet).
      5. Then form the strip into a bezel, sized to allow for the clay's shrinkage, mitering the edges and sealing the joint well with paste. After it dries, lightly moisten the joint and reinforce it with fresh clay.

      Wanaree Tanner Demonstrates How She Makes Solid Metal Clay Bezel Wire

      Making Pierced Metal Clay Bezel Wire (AKA Gallery Wire)

      Wanaree Tanner also created another video tutorial for Metal Clay Artist Magazine that shows how to use the Silhouette Cameo electronic die-cutting machine to cut out simple or intricate patterns in metal clay sheet or metal clay paper and cut it into strips for bezel wire. In it, she walks us step-by-step through how to use the Silhouette Cameo software (Silhouette Studio) to tell the cutter which cuts to make. Fascinating and extremely helpful, the Silhouette CAMEO cutting techniques that Wanaree demonstrates will open up a whole new world of design possibilities for your metal clay bezel designs.

      This Silhouette CAMEO Bundle Includes Lots of Valuable Extras

      Use the Light Hold Cutting Mat for Cutting Metal Clay with a Silhouette CAMEO Machine

      Silhouette CAMEO Light Hold Cutting Mat for Scrapbooking
      Silhouette CAMEO Light Hold Cutting Mat for Scrapbooking

      I highly recommend getting the light hold cutting mat if you're going to be cutting metal clay paper or sheet. The adhesive on the regular cutting mat is much too sticky and you'll tear apart your delicate metal clay sheet and cutouts when you try to remove them from the regular mat.

       

      Take your own metal clay designs to the next level with the Silhouette Cameo electronic die-cutter

      If you love the intricate metal clay openwork bezels, appliques and deep custom textures in the work of Wanaree Tanner (who introduced the metal clay community to this exciting tool) and other talented metal clay artists, or if you want to create your own elaborate templates, you'll want to own the Silhouette CAMEO Electronic Die-Cutting Machine.

      Unlike most other die-cutters, with the Silhouette Cameo you aren't required to buy an entire cartridge or set of dies just to get a single shape, pattern or font you're looking for. And if you upgrade to the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software, which is what I have, you can use any font you own, purchase, or download from any of the many free font sites and also import and edit your own original or copyright-free designs to create completely customized shapes, patterns, and designs.

      The very versatile Silhouette Cameo can be used with cutting blades, markers, and other accessories to cut, draw, and embellish a wide range of media and materials, including paper, cardstock, vinyl, fabric, self-adhesive stencil material, and much more. Create self-adhesive stencils for etching glass and mirrors; cut out intricate fabric appliques, embellishments, and personalization for clothing, accessories, and home decor items; make elegant, custom labels, tags, gift cards, greeting cards, scrapbook pages, and vinyl home decor items (including banners up to 10 feet long). There's no limit to what you can create with the help of this sophisticated electronic die-cutting machine.

      Using Silver Bezel Cups to Set Calibrated Cabochon Stones

      An easy way to set calibrated cabochon gemstones in metal clay is to embed silver bezel cups into the clay. If you are using fine silver clay you can embed either 1) fine silver bezel cups or 2) sterling silver bezel cups that have been "depletion gilded" (heated and pickled repeatedly to bring the oxides to the surface and remove them, leaving a layer of fine silver on the surface). For depletion gilding sterling silver findings, you can use either a traditional jeweler's pickle (such as Sparex #2) or a citric acid pickle, which is safer to use. If you are using a carbon-fired silver clay formula, such as PMC Pro or PMC Sterling, depletion gilding of sterling findings is not required.

      Silver marquise earring drops embedded with commercial fine silver bezel cups before firing, to be set with calibrated natural blue topaz cabochons after firing. Designed, created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.
      See all 11 photos
      Silver marquise earring drops embedded with commercial fine silver bezel cups before firing, to be set with calibrated natural blue topaz cabochons after firing. Designed, created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.

      Embedding Calibrated Bezel Cups in Metal Clay

      The bezel cups must be embedded securely into the clay in a way that allows the clay to physically or mechanically lock them into place as the clay shrinks. One way is to drill one or two small holes in the bezel cup before embedding it in the clay or attaching it with thick silver clay paste, preferably homemade PMC oil paste which can be fired up to 1650 °F / 900 °C. A little of the clay or paste should push up through the hole(s); tamp it down slightly so that it overlaps the edges of the hole(s) and is fairly level with the inside of the bezel cup. This will create a rivet-like mechanical connection between the bezel cup and the metal clay underneath.

      Another option is to apply paste (again, preferably homemade PMC oil paste) not only to the sides but also around the outside near the base of the bezel cup and then surround it with a border of syringe or a rope of clay right up against the base of the bezel cup. To make an even more secure connection, drill a few small holes around the base of the cup so that as the clay shrinks it will push into the holes to create a mechanical connection. This is how I embedded the 3 mm fine silver bezel cups in the marquise-shaped fine silver earrings shown above, since the tiny natural blue topaz cabochons could not be fired in place safely.

      Prong Settings for Faceted Gemstones That Will Be Set Post-Firing

      Commercial prong settings provide a professional appearance as well as speed and ease of use when setting calibrated faceted gemstones in metal clay.

      You also can embed wire in metal clay prior to firing to create custom prong settings for faceted gemstones.

      Commercial Silver Prong Settings for Faceted Gemstones With Pointed Backs (Culets)

      Commercial prong settings are embedded in clay similarly to the method for embedding bezel cups. Jackie Truty of Art Clay World wrote a helpful PDF article on Attaching and Setting Stones into Pure Silver Settings that provides excellent step-by-step instructions for how to embed a fine silver prong setting into fine silver metal clay and then set a faceted gemstone in it after firing. Jackie included lots of helpful tips to ensure a successful result. Highly recommended.

      Custom Wire Prong Settings for Faceted Gemstones

      You also can make your own custom prong settings by embedding wires into the metal clay and firing, then trimming the wires, rounding the ends with a cup bur and filing notches to seat the stone's girdle firmly.

      Settings for Pearls and Half-Drilled Beads

      The easiest way to add pearls or half-drilled beads to your design is to securely embed a length of silver wire (either fine silver or depletion-gilded sterling silver) into the clay, leaving a piece exposed to serve as a post or peg. After firing, epoxy the pearl or bead onto the wire.

      Alternatively, you can embed a fine silver (or depletion-gilded sterling silver) earring post into the clay and then add the pearl or bead with epoxy after firing.

      Prong Settings For Cabochons or Irreguarly Shaped Objects That Will Be Set Post-Firing

      You can set large or unusually-shaped cabs, rocks, or just about any object you wish by making custom wire prong settings.

      How to Make a Custom Fine Silver Wire Prong Setting in Metal Clay

      Fold lengths of annealed fine silver wire in half (but don't crease the wire at the fold). Bend the ends of the wires at 90-degree angles to form "legs" (these will ensure that the ends of the wire are securely shrink-locked into place. Place your cabochon on the "raw" clay and embed the "legs" of the prongs into the clay around the edges of the stone. (The wire prongs won't shrink, but the clay into which they're embedded will, so leave a little space around the stone to allow for shrinkage.) Remove the cabochon. Seal and strengthen the area where the wire enters the clay by using paste clay and, if desired, some syringe clay. After firing, place the stone inside the prong and gently bend the prongs over the cabochon, taking care not to twist the prongs.

      Variation: Before firing, decorate the prongs with syringe clay, paper-type clay cutouts or other metal clay adornments secured with paste clay or syringe.

      Talented metal clay artist and teacher Holly Gage wrote an excellent tutorial on making and embedding wire prong settings in metal clay for the beautiful crystalline titanium she sells. The same techniques can be used to create prong settings in metal clay jewelry that will hold any type of stone or other object that cannot withstand firing.

      Recommended Suppliers of Gemstones and Settings for Metal Clay

      Most of the following suppliers of gemstones, settings and supplies for setting in metal clay are companies I have dealt with personally and can recommend based on those experiences.


      © 2006 Margaret Schindel Last updated on September 25, 2014

      Useful {1}Funny Awesome {1}Beautiful {1}Interesting {1}

      Did you learn something useful about setting gemstones in metal clay? Do you have other tips or techniques to share? Or just say hi and let me know you stopped 199 comments

      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 11 days ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      Barbara, you're a peach! Love ya. :)


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      Brite-Ideas 11 days ago from Toronto, Canada Level 7 Commenter

      I wasn't sure if I left a comment or not, but in case I didn't I wanted to say again how impressive your pages are, just beautiful! - oops I see it did go through! ok, so I said it twice :)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 12 days ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      Thank you so much, Barbara! I really appreciate your wonderful comment.


      Brite-Ideas profile image

      Brite-Ideas 12 days ago from Toronto, Canada Level 7 Commenter

      Margaret, another fantastic revision for the hubpages format, congratulations, it looks amazing!!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @gottaloveit2: Thanks so much for your wonderful compliments! Please feel free to ask me metal clay related questions, especially when you're getting started with this new (to you) material. I'd be happy to help. :)


      gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 2 months ago Level 4 Commenter

      What a truly fantastic article. I had NO idea this even existed but, since I'm about to buy my own kiln, I'm about to explore this topic further. Your jewelry is exquisite.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @tazzytamar: Thanks so much for your wonderful comment, Anna! I'm so glad you found my article on setting gemstones in metal clay fascinating and that you enjoyed seeing photos of some of my metal clay jewelry set with gemstones. :)


      tazzytamar profile image

      tazzytamar 2 months ago from chichester Level 6 Commenter

      This was absolutely fascinating! Thank you for sharing this - I love all the pictures on this lens :)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @NellyWerff: Thank you, Nelly! I'm delighted to be able to introduce you to it. :)


      NellyWerff profile image

      NellyWerff 3 months ago from The Netherlands Level 1 Commenter

      Gorgeous! I didn't even know metal clay existed! Thanks for sharing!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @David Stone1: Thank you so much for that wonderful compliment, Dave! Metal clay has only been around for about 15 years in the US, but as soon as I discovered it it rocked my world. I'd love to see what your creative mind could do with this material. Thanks again.


      David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone1 3 months ago from New York City Level 7 Commenter

      It's all new to me, but it wouldn't be, if I'd had a reliable teacher like you when I was making career choices. What a difference the internet makes, and you execute it with such style.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @DavidMoses1986: Thanks, David! Glad you enjoyed my article.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @wimble lm: Thanks very much for your lovely comment! Metal clay is a fantastic jewelry material, and the ability to embed stones into the metal clay before firing as well as to set gemstones in the sintered metal jewelry makes it very versatile and also very appealing to jewelry designers who have not had much formal bench metalsmithing training. I hope you are able to try working with it! :)


      DavidMoses1986 profile image

      DavidMoses1986 3 months ago Level 2 Commenter

      Gemstones In Wet Metal Clay looks so great, nice lens :)


      wimble lm profile image

      wimble lm 3 months ago

      MSchindel..Such a beautiful and attractive gamestones...I always looking for this and never thought that I'll be able to do so. :)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @aminebombom: Thanks very much! :)


      aminebombom profile image

      aminebombom 3 months ago from Doha, Qatar Level 3 Commenter

      very gorgeous gemstones, they are really attractive


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @tracy159: Thank you, Tracy! "Inspiring" is just what I hoped this article would be. :)


      tracy159 profile image

      tracy159 3 months ago from Maryville, TN

      Inspiring. l love gemstones and all of the different looks.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @smine27: Thanks very much, Shinichi! I really appreciate the compliment and I'm delighted that you enjoyed this information. :)


      smine27 profile image

      smine27 4 months ago from Tokyo, Japan Level 7 Commenter

      I am amazed at your talent and also for this very thorough lens on gemstones in metal clay. Excellent!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @soniabaad lm: Thank you very much! It's my pleasure.


      soniabaad lm profile image

      soniabaad lm 4 months ago Level 1 Commenter

      A wonderful work. Thanks for sharing..


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @RinchenChodron: Thank you! It's a wonderful jewelry making technique and material. :)


      RinchenChodron 4 months ago

      Wow - very comprehensive! I've never tried it, but maybe I will.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Arachnea: Hi Arachnea - I hope you get a chance to work with metal clay, too! The firing temperature depends on the type of metal, the brand, and the particular formula you're working with. Fine silver metal clay is the easiest to work with. Depending on the formula, it can be fired as low as 1110 F-1200 F, but for full sintering (which will give you the most durable pieces) you'll want to fire at 1500 F-1650 F. Sorry, I don't know the equivalent cone temperatures as I fire my pieces in a kiln with a digital controller, which is a good idea in any event if you can manage it. Hope that helps!


      Arachnea profile image

      Arachnea 4 months ago from Texas USA Level 6 Commenter

      I've wanted to work with metal clay for a while. Hopefully at some point, I'll be able to do so. I wonder about the type of kiln needed. What cone temp does metal clay fire at?


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @designsbyharriet: Thank you SO much, Harriet! You totally made my day with this wonderful feedback. It means the world to me!


      designsbyharriet profile image

      designsbyharriet 4 months ago from Indiana

      I always learn something from your lenses that I never knew how to do. I might as well skip classes and just read your lenses.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @marley101 lm: Thanks so much for letting me know how helpful you found my article on setting gemstones in metal clay! I really appreciate your lovely feedback. :)


      marley101 lm profile image

      marley101 lm 4 months ago

      Realy Amazing!

      Im just starterd with making my own jewelry and this info is so helpful!

      Thanks for sharing this with us :)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Scindhia H: Thanks very much! I'm so glad you found this information on setting gemstones in metal clay interesting. :)


      Scindhia H profile image

      Scindhia H 4 months ago from Chennai Level 1 Commenter

      Great info. Interesting lens!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 5 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Carol Houle: Thank YOU, Carol, for letting me know! I'm so glad you found it helpful. :)


      Carol Houle profile image

      Carol Houle 5 months ago from Montreal Level 2 Commenter

      I love this fabulous lens. I've bookmarked it. Thanks so much!!!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 5 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Avajas216: Thank you so much for your wonderful comment! I'm thrilled that I've been able to inspire you. :-)


      Avajas216 5 months ago

      Thank you for sharing this information. I personally make a lot of my own jewelry, but seeing your methods just opens my mind to other ways of doing this as well :-)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 5 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @astevn816 lm: Thanks very much! I'm so glad you found it interesting/helpful. :)


      astevn816 lm profile image

      astevn816 lm 5 months ago Level 2 Commenter

      A very informative lens


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 5 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @fathomblueEG: Thank you very much for your kind words! I'm glad you found this metal clay article helpful. :)


      fathomblueEG profile image

      fathomblueEG 5 months ago Level 2 Commenter

      I think anyone who needs help with this craft should definitely follow you and all of your future informative lens. Great lens!!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 5 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Gypzeerose: Rose dear, you always are so kind and generous! Thank you so much for both the wonderful compliment and the pin.


      Gypzeerose profile image

      Gypzeerose 5 months ago Level 4 Commenter

      You never fail to amaze me. Pinned to my jewelry board.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 5 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @anonymous: Thanks so much for your wonderful feedback! Actually, metal clay isn't that well known as a jewelry material, so it's not surprising that you hadn't heard of it before. I've written many other articles about creating metal clay jewelry here on Squidoo that you might enjoy. Thanks again for your lovely comments! :)


      anonymous 5 months ago

      I simply love gemstones! You have put some fantastic craft tips here! Sounds stupid but I had never heard of metal clay until reading your lens! Some great tips on gemstone setting! Thanks for sharing


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 5 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @geeky247: My pleasure, hmsweaver! I hope you find this information helpful and that you enjoy your upcoming adventure into setting gemstones in metal clay. :)


      geeky247 profile image

      geeky247 5 months ago from Colorado

      Awesome! I haven't tried firing PMC with stones. It's on my list of things to learn! I appreciate you sharing your great talent and tips with us!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 5 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @GrammieOlivia: I'm delighted that you enjoyed it! As far as talent goes, I'll bet you'd be surprised at what you could create with metal clay if you decided to give it a go. :)


      GrammieOlivia profile image

      GrammieOlivia 5 months ago from Toronto Level 7 Commenter

      Oh I am not this talented. But this was an interesting lens.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 7 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Donna Cook: Thanks very much for your lovely comment! I'll be delighted to help you with any questions you have about working with metal clay.


      Donna Cook profile image

      Donna Cook 7 months ago from Denver, Colorado USA Level 6 Commenter

      Amazing! I would like to work in metal clay. This is a terrific tutorial.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 7 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @PaynesGrey: My pleasure! Please let me know if I can be of help if you decide to try working with metal clay. :)


      PaynesGrey profile image

      PaynesGrey 7 months ago Level 1 Commenter

      Thank you for this fascinating insight into this craft. I will love to try this


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 8 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Zeross4: Daisy, it's a wonderful jewelry making material and set of techniques. Please let me know if you have any questions about getting started. :)


      Zeross4 profile image

      Zeross4 8 months ago Level 6 Commenter

      I'd love to try this!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 8 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @evawrites1: Hi Eva! I'm delighted that I could help you understand more about setting gemstones in metal clay. Let me know when you are ready to give it a try if I can be of help getting you started. :)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 8 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @MelanieKaren: Thank you so much for your wonderful comment, Melanie! I'm truly touched by your lovely words. Any time you decide you're ready to try your hand at making metal clay jewelry just let me know and I'll be delighted to help you get started on the right foot.


      evawrites1 profile image

      evawrites1 8 months ago Level 3 Commenter

      I have never worked with metal clay because it is a bit expensive, but I'm thinking about trying one day. This was indeed useful as I had no idea about all this (I thought you simply put the stone in there and that's it :D).


      MelanieKaren profile image

      MelanieKaren 8 months ago from Pennsylvania, USA Level 4 Commenter

      Hi :) I just can't get over how good you truly are at your craft. This is one area that I would really love to develop in myself. I have to seriously find the time for it. Your experience, talent, designs, and knowledge in creating this little masterpieces is truly inspiring.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 11 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @delia-delia: Thanks for your kind feedback, Delia! Actually, setting stones in metal clay is MUCH easier than traditional setting methods. I think you'd probably enjoy designing with this material very much! Just let me know if you ever decide you want to try. I'd be very happy to help you. :)


      delia-delia profile image

      delia-delia 11 months ago Level 5 Commenter

      First off, great designs and informative lens! Yes I did learn something...it sure looks like a lot of work, and my patience is not what it used to be...I had designed jewelry for stores, they made the molds etc.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 13 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @OhMe: Thank you so much, Nancy! I hope they find this information valuable. :)


      OhMe profile image

      OhMe 13 months ago from Pendleton, SC Level 6 Commenter

      I will be sharing this informative lens with friends who make jewelry. Thank you.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 14 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @favored: My pleasure, Fay! Thanks so much for your kind feedback and your visit. :)


      favored profile image

      favored 14 months ago from USA Level 7 Commenter

      I have a friend that does something like this. There is so much to know about what goes into setting gemstones. Thanks for giving us information on the "how to" part and what we need to be looking for in jewelry.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 14 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @ToReview: Thank you for that wonderful compliment, BuyWise! I really appreciate it.


      ToReview profile image

      ToReview 14 months ago

      that's a very teaching lens, both about your art and about how to make a good lense


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 15 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @socialcx1: My pleasure! Thanks for your feedback. :)


      socialcx1 profile image

      socialcx1 15 months ago

      Hi, I can see you love your art. Thanks for creating this lens.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 15 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Sherry B19: Thank YOU, Sherry, for that awesome feedback! :)


      Sherry B19 profile image

      Sherry B19 15 months ago

      Amazing lens! I have never done any of this type of jewelry making, but was always curious as to how it is done. I learned a lot from this, especially since I must admit I have never heard of metal clay before. I'd love to try it someday. Thank you for the great info!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 15 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @hmommers: I'm delighted that you liked my jewelry examples combining gemstones with metal clay!


      hmommers profile image

      hmommers 15 months ago

      These two materials combine marvellous!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 15 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Lady Lorelei: Thanks so much for your wonderful feedback, Ladymermaid! I really appreciate it! :)


      Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lady Lorelei 15 months ago from Canada Level 6 Commenter

      This is fantastic. You had me as soon as I saw the word gemstone but you really did an amazing job on this article. Love it.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 15 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @iwrite100: Thanks so much for that lovely feedback! I really appreciate it.


      iwrite100 profile image

      iwrite100 15 months ago from Philippines

      I learned a lot here. It definitely deserves that sparkling purple star.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 15 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @anonymous: Thank you so much for your extremely kind words! I really appreciate it. :)


      anonymous 15 months ago

      Wow! This is an amazing tutorial. You really put a lot into your lenses. Maybe that's why they keep getting recommended in the forum. :)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 15 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @lewisgirl: Thanks, Lewisgirl! I'm so glad you found it helpful.


      lewisgirl profile image

      lewisgirl 15 months ago Level 1 Commenter

      I am just learning to work with PMC and this is an excellent lens. Great info!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 15 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @writerkath: Thank you so much for that awesome feedback, Kathy! I really appreciate it!


      writerkath profile image

      writerkath 15 months ago Level 3 Commenter

      Wow! This is an amazing tutorial! You are extremely talented, and I hope everyone interested in learning this finds this lens! Fabulous!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 15 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Ruthi: Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback, Ruthi! You just made my day. :)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 15 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Elaine Chen: Thanks so much, Elaine! I'm so happy you enjoyed learning about the many ways in which gemstones can be set in metal clay. :)


      Ruthi 15 months ago

      I do not do any gemstone or clay work but I am in awe of the information on technique you have shared here. I will certainly look at this type of artwork differently in the future with much more appreciation for the talent and work that goes into it. I love the charm - it looks like a bit of sunshine!


      Elaine Chen profile image

      Elaine Chen 15 months ago

      I have no ideas about setting gemstones in metal clay techniques at all; but it's great to learn here :-)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 16 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @dakadare: Glad I could introduce you to some of the many ways in which gemstones can be set in metal clay! :)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 16 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Two Crafty Paws: You're very welcome, malina123! Please feel free to ask questions when you're ready to get started. :)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 16 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @LiteraryMind: Thanks very much, Ellen! I'm delighted that you enjoyed this article. :)


      dakadare profile image

      dakadare 16 months ago

      I didn't know there was so much you can do.


      Two Crafty Paws profile image

      Two Crafty Paws 16 months ago

      I was thinking about giving metal clay and gemstones a try (haven't worked with metal clay but I have a gorgeous gemstone I want to use) for some time but I haven't yet acted on it. But I think I should. I bookmarked this page as I will have to come back to it (you do offer a lot of information - valuable one and resources). I feel a bit more confident at giving it a go. Thank you for sharing this.


      LiteraryMind profile image

      LiteraryMind 16 months ago Level 2 Commenter

      I never knew there were so many different stone setting techniques and so much that could be done with metal clay. Great tutorial.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 16 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @happy-birthday: Thank you so much for your lovely feedback! I'm so glad you found this helpful. :)


      happy-birthday profile image

      happy-birthday 16 months ago from Here

      I have learned a lot from this wonderful lens!!! Thank you for sharing this great topic!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 17 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @SheGetsCreative: Thank you so much for your lovely feedback! Please let me know if you do have an opportunity to try this. I'd be delighted to answer any questions you might have.


      SheGetsCreative profile image

      SheGetsCreative 17 months ago from Seattle, WA Level 5 Commenter

      Haven't tried this yet but definitely want to give it a whirl soon. Definitely inspiring :)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 17 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @centralplexus: Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Nick! I'm truly delighted that my lens is inspiring you to work with metal clay again. I'd love to see what you create with it! :)


      centralplexus profile image

      centralplexus 17 months ago

      Remarkable lens and I really learned lots of stuff that I didn't knew! I think I'll start experimenting with metal clay once again!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 17 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Sweetbunny LM: Thank you very much for the lovely compliment!


      Sweetbunny LM profile image

      Sweetbunny LM 17 months ago

      I am impressed! Beautiful work.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 18 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Heidi Vincent: Thank you for your wonderful compliments! Much appreciated. :)


      Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 18 months ago from GRENADA Level 7 Commenter

      Excellent gem setting lens MSchindel! I especially liked the fine silver earrings from metal clay, set with lab sapphire cabochons and the fine silver charm from metal clay, set with a citrine CZ and embellished with a crystal bead drop.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 18 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @sarasentor lm: Thanks, Sara!


      sarasentor lm profile image

      sarasentor lm 18 months ago

      I like the way you made your lens. Great.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 18 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @anonymous: Thank you!


      anonymous 18 months ago

      nice lens


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 19 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Keith J Winter: Keith, thank you for that wonderful compliment! I'm thrilled that you find my lenses inspiring. Thank you so much for letting me know! :)


      Keith J Winter profile image

      Keith J Winter 19 months ago from Spain

      Every time I read one of your lenses it inspires me to take action. I'm hoping to retire in a couple of years so perhaps I will have more time for hobbies. Another excellent lens. Thank you!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 21 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @CoeGurl: Thanks so much for your lovely feedback and for liking this lens. Much appreciated! :)


      CoeGurl profile image

      CoeGurl 21 months ago from USA

      What a wonderful resource for setting gemstones in metal clay. The video is very helpful and the cabochons are beautiful.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 22 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @aesta1: Thank you so much for your very kind words and for your angel blessing, my dear!


      aesta1 profile image

      aesta1 22 months ago Level 2 Commenter

      I envy you for being able to do all these. They are lovely.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 23 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @rawwwwwws lm: Thank you so much! I'm so glad you love this lens and I am very grateful for your kind blessing. :)


      rawwwwwws lm profile image

      rawwwwwws lm 23 months ago

      I love this lens, blessed.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 23 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Gayle Dowell: My pleasure, Gayle! I'm so glad I could be of help. Thank you very much for your kind feedback and Squid Angel blessings! :)


      Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 23 months ago from Kansas Level 2 Commenter

      I've been wanting to try bezel setting with PMC for some time now, but had never found info. online for using the fine silver bezel wire in clay. Thanks so much for explaining the technique here. Blessings!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 23 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @ItayaLightbourne: Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback and kind Squid Angel blessings! I am very grateful to you for both.


      ItayaLightbourne profile image

      ItayaLightbourne 23 months ago from Topeka, KS Level 2 Commenter

      One day I will experiment with metal clay and now I have this awesome article to refer back to! Angel Blessings. :)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 23 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Im2keys: Thank you so much for your wonderful compliment! I'm so glad you found this lens informative and helpful. :)


      Im2keys profile image

      Im2keys 23 months ago Level 1 Commenter

      This is a beautiful lens- so informative as well! I love metal clay and jewelry making, this is wonderful info for me :o)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 23 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @dellgirl: I'm so glad you found the information I've shared to be so helpful! Thanks very much for letting me know.


      dellgirl 23 months ago

      Thanks for sharing this information and these tips on Setting Gemstones in Metal Clay. Itâs very helpful! I learned something new.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 24 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @sheriangell: Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback and for sprinkling angel dust on this lens! Much appreciated. :)


      sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 24 months ago

      I love all of the jewelry you've featured here, it's just my style. Angel blessed today.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @miaponzo: Yes, it's incredibly versatile! Once you try it you will find it quite addictive as a jewelry-making material. :) Many, many thanks for your kind blessing!


      miaponzo 2 years ago

      This metal clay is absolutely versatile! Blessed!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @MintySea: Thank you very much for your kind compliment!


      MintySea 2 years ago

      Those metal clay jewelry looks nice


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @WriterJanis2: Janis, I am truly grateful for your kind comments and honored by your blessings. Thank you so much!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @anonymous: Thank you so much, Susie!


      WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 2 years ago Level 5 Commenter

      Love the designs here. Blessed!


      anonymous 2 years ago

      @Margaret Schindel: Its beautiful! :)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Linda Pogue: Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback and the blessings! :)


      Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 2 years ago from Missouri Level 1 Commenter

      What a great resource! Blessings!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @anonymous: Thank you so much for the awesome compliment! I'm extremely grateful for your kindness.


      anonymous 2 years ago

      It was such a joy to read your lens, but since I haven't yet tried working with metal clay, I was mostly just staring in awe at the beautiful piece of jewelry in the pictures. :-D


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @sanjeevkumaaar: Thanks very much for the lovely feedback.


      sanjeevkumaaar profile image

      sanjeevkumaaar 2 years ago

      Great lens on gemstones, sometimes I also love to write on same topic.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @anonymous: Tipi, thank you so much for your incredibly kind comments and your blessing! You just made my day. :)


      anonymous 2 years ago

      Your artistry with metal clay is spectacular and your explanation of the process of working with it with setting stones is fascinating, I particularly like the fired in look but all your work is gorgeous and so nicely presented...leaving a little angel dust for a bit more sparkle.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Johanna Eisler: Thanks very much, Joie! I know just how you feel. :)


      Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 2 years ago Level 3 Commenter

      Fascinating! Wish I had time to do all the things I find fascinating! ;)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @solutions4u: Thank you so much for the lovely comment! I'm so glad you enjoyed this lens.


      solutions4u profile image

      solutions4u 2 years ago

      Great information here. I love looking and jewelry, and dreaming ...


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @natashaely: Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback! I'm truly delighted that you enjoyed reading this lens so much and that you shared it with your sister.


      natashaely profile image

      natashaely 2 years ago

      These are beautiful and there is so much information. I have sent it to my sister who makes jewellery as although she works with glass, these differnent methods and ideas are always inspiring. Lovely page, a joy to read. Liked :)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @designsbyharriet: I'm delighted to hear that you found exactly the information you were looking for in this lens! Thanks so much for letting me know. :)


      designsbyharriet profile image

      designsbyharriet 2 years ago from Indiana

      I searched the internet for info in faceted stones in PMC and was taken to this lens. I found just what I needed to set a diamond cz and I can't wait to try it.

      Thanks.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @anonymous: Kim, I'm so glad to hear from you (on FB) that you learned about a new gemstone setting technique from this lens. Thanks for letting me know! You know I'm a huge fan of your metal clay art. :)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @anonymous: Thanks so much, Kim! :)


      anonymous 2 years ago

      great lens Margaret, thank you!


      anonymous 2 years ago

      great lens Margaret, thank you!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @moonlitta: Thank you SO much for your wonderful comment and your SquidAngel blessing! I am honored!


      moonlitta 2 years ago

      As beautiful as it is practical it may be. Loveable lens!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @designsbyharriet: Harriet, thanks very much for your helpful feedback! I will definitely add your suggestion about adding more images to my to do list. :)


      designsbyharriet profile image

      designsbyharriet 2 years ago from Indiana

      A very informative lens,but I wish their had been more pictures of set stones. The video is great, but I learn a lot more from images within the description. Hope you do that in the future. I love your lenses and have been reading them to learn more about PMC and how to work with it.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @sanjeevkumaaar: Thank you! I will.


      sanjeevkumaaar profile image

      sanjeevkumaaar 2 years ago

      HI MSchindel, It's really great lense about gemstones, I also love to write about gemstones. Have a look at once on my gemstones related lense.

      Thanks :)


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @KarenTBTEN: Karen, thank you so much for your wonderful feedback as well as your kind blessing, which I value and appreciate deeply. You truly are an angel!


      KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 3 years ago

      It's good to see a content expert using the platform to put up materials that are original, show a lot of care... and are posted in just the one one place. In a world where it's tempting to put up quick internet signposts, this is an example of professionalism. Blessed by a questing SquidAngel.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Freakingcat: Thanks very much! :)


      Freakingcat profile image

      Freakingcat 3 years ago

      Great lense!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @wildlens: Thanks so much for the great feedback, Wildlens! I'm delighted that you found the information you needed here. :)


      wildlens profile image

      wildlens 3 years ago

      Great and very, very helpful lens. I was looking for info about firing synthetic gems. Thanks so much!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @indigomoth: Thanks for the lovely compliment! There are many things that make metal clay a wonderful material to work with. One of them is the ability to set gems and other stones (and found objects) in so many different and attractive ways that would be far more time-consuming and difficult to do using traditional "bench skills." I'm so goad you found this lens interesting! :)


      indigomoth profile image

      indigomoth 3 years ago

      This is a really awesome lense, I always wondered how stones were placed in metal clay... now I know!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @LisaAuch1: Thanks so much, Lisa! I used to do mosty beaded jewelry before I discovered metal clay, and since all my jewelry designs are one-of-a-kind, metal clay opened up a whole new world for me. It meant I could create my own findings and components for my beaded jewelry, and also make pieces in which I designed and created every component from scratch. It's such a rewarding material to work with. Thank you so much for your wonderful compliment!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @LisaAuch1: Thanks so much, Lisa! I used to do mosty beaded jewelry before I discovered metal clay, and since all my jewelry designs are one-of-a-kind, metal clay opened up a whole new world for me. It meant I could create my own findings and components for my beaded jewelry, and also make pieces in which I designed and created every component from scratch. It's such a rewarding material to work with. Thank you so much for your wonderful compliment!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @Im2keys: Hi! Thanks for the lovely compliment, and sorry for the belated reply. I think your lens is very nice! It does a good job of showcasing your designs.


      LisaAuch1 profile image

      LisaAuch1 4 years ago from Scotland

      to be able to take a precious stone and metal and create unique items, is such a creative talent, this is wonderful


      Im2keys profile image

      Im2keys 4 years ago Level 1 Commenter

      you are so in depth in your article, I am totally impressed! my little pmc page pales in comparison... thanks for all your information!


      Gemstones_Lover 4 years ago

      @Margaret Schindel: Thanks a lot for this info... It was very helpful.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      Hi, thanks for your question. Any natural gemstone can be set in metal clay by embedding a setting and then setting the stone after firing. There is no single list of natural gemstones that can be fired in place in metal clay successfully, partly because natural gemstones have unique inclusions that can cause fractures during firing. Several of the links I've provided in the section titled "More Information on Setting Gemstones in PMC and Art Clay," above, include lists of gemstones that different people have test-fired at different firing times/temperatures. These will give you a good idea on which stones should never be fired in place and which ones are a reasonably good bet for firing in place. Whenever you plan to fire a natural gemstones in place, I advise first test-firing the stone BY ITSELF at the same temperature and time as you plan to fire it in the metal clay. If the stone survives the test firing with no ill effects and no change in color, then it probably will react the same when it is fired in place in metal clay. If not, you have ruined only the stone instead of both the stone and the metal clay design. Also, you might want to take a look at a copy of Derek Metzger's book (see the section on "More Books on Setting Gemstones in Metal Clay," above). I hope this information is helpful.


      Gemstones_Lover 4 years ago

      Can you give me the list of natural gemstones that cab be set in metal clay ? Actually we can use this metal clay for lots of other purpose...


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      Glad you're finding the information helpful! I don't know the official shelf life of PMC, but in general it's recommended to use the clay within 6-9 months of purchase. However, I've used 2-year-old clay with no problems, other than needing to rehydrate it a bit with distilled water. The real question is whether the binder degrades over long periods of time; I haven't been able to find a definitive answer to that. I'd suggest you try rehydrating/reconstituting it and trying it out. If it's totally dried out, try chopping it into tiny bits and then grinding it with a yard-sale coffee grinder (dedicated to metal clay use) or a mortar and pestle. Then mix in distilled water a few drops at a time, cover tightly, and let it sit for a few hours to overnight. Scrape it onto a piece of heavy plastic wrap and start to knead it through the plastic. If it needs more water, knead in another drop, wrap it tightly (you can clip the twisted plastic with a clothespin), let it sit for a while, knead it again, and repeat, if necessary, until the clay is a good consistency. If necessary, you can add a TINY bit of glycerin from the drugstore, but that can make your dried, unfired pieces a little too flexible to sand/file easily. Roll out, texture, and cut a simple shape from a little of the clay, add a hole, and fire it, and see how it comes out. Good luck! :)


      HealthFreak2009 4 years ago

      This is a great lens! I have PMC but have never used it. Do you know if it ever goes bad? I've had it for about 5 years now.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 5 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      [in reply to Noadi] Thanks so much, Sheryl! I'm delighted that you found the information helpful. If your CZs are colored, I encourage you to test-fire them loose at the same firing schedule as you plan to fire your finished piece to make sure the color doesn't change. If the stones survive the heat without changing color, you'll know it's safe to embed them in your metal clay.

      Thanks again for the great feedback! :)


      Sheryl Westleigh profile image

      Sheryl Westleigh 5 years ago from Maine

      Great lens! 5 stars for you! I'm just getting started with metal clay and this lens is a big help because I want to add these lovely cubic zirconias I bought to my pieces. Quite an adjustment from using polymer clay.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 5 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      [in reply to IsabellasBeads] Thanks so much for the wonderful feedback, Isabella! I really appreciate your adding this lens to your web site's blog roll. You may find some of my other lenses about metal clay here on Squidoo to be useful to you as well. Thanks again! :)


      IsabellasBeads profile image

      IsabellasBeads 5 years ago

      I LOVE this lens! Thank you for something so informative. I wanted to find information on how to fire a gemstone (onyx) into a metal clay ring that I am making, and you gave me that and so much more! I have added this lens as a favorite obviously, and I have also added you to the blog roll on my website's blog page, www.isabellasbeads.com/blog. I hope you keep providing us with this wonderful and educational material. Thanks again!


      Glyphman 6 years ago

      Super duper lens!

      Right up my alley. Gave you the five star vote, and lens rolled you to my Bezel Setting Lens

      http://www.squidoo.com/BezelStones

      Drop by when you can and I really did enjoy your lens.

      TaoGem Gemstones


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 6 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      Hi, Aleta - If you're making a very wide band, you might well consider going up 1/2 size. This is true for rings fabricated from sheet metal as well as those made from metal clay.

      As far as either enlarging the ring yourself with a rawhide mallet and a ring stick or taking it to a jeweler to be stretched, be sure that the ring has been fired at 1650F for 2 hours first. That will ensure that the metal is as strong as it can be. However, any metal made from metal clay will be more porous than, and therefore not as strong as, fabricated sheet metal. So there's always a risk that it could crack during the stretching process. I have stretched metal clay rings successfully with a rawhide mallet and smooth ring stick, but it requires patience, time, gentle taps, and working your way around the band evenly. If you give it to a jeweler, DEFINITELY specify that it was made from metal clay!

      In the future, fire with a ring-sizing patty to ensure the correct size.

      Best of luck with the ring!


      anonymous 6 years ago

      Absolutely superb!

      Just what I have been looking for (especially being new to PMC!).

      Many thanks,

      Louise, UK


      anonymous 6 years ago

      Outstanding, classic information and very very helpful


      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hi all - this is my first time on this site and I was actually surfing around to see if I could find information on sizing a metal clay ring after it's been fired. I made a wide band with a set stone for a friend and she gave me her size via a tracing from an existing ring. I measured it with my ring size set to be a 5 1/2. The final ring after firing measured a true 5 1/2, but my friend said it was too small. I'm thinking that maybe if a band is wide, I should size up by a half size in the future to assure proper fit? That was the first thing I was trying to find out. The second is if anyone knows if there is any issue in taking a metal clay ring to a jeweler to have it sized up - would there be any issue because they're sintered and not cast? Would I advise my friend to tell the jeweler it's metal clay? Any help or place to find this type of information would be greatly appreciated. My e-mail address is mermaid@fuse.net. Thanks in advance!


      JLally 6 years ago

      This lens has given me lots of new ideas about how to set gemstones in metal clay. Thanks for pulling this all together!


      anonymous 6 years ago

      Brilliant information.....very helpfull and has set me off in a new direction....


      DazzlingDesigns 6 years ago

      Very nice lens. Definitely 5-Stars. Please feel free to stop by my Unique Handmade Jewelry Lens.

      Thanks,

      Donia

      Handmade Beaded Jewelry Gallery


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 6 years ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      Thanks, Deric! I'll definitely check it out! :)

      Margaret


      anonymous 6 years ago

      I just thought I should add that there is a book out there (mine) that has been out for some time and took a few years of intense research to write. It shows 107 unique stones and dozens of varieties of each. Take a look if you are into natural gems: www.lulu.com/dericmetzgerPMC


      magscrafts 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing, this is some great information!


      LeslieBrenner 6 years ago

      I've never worked with PMC, but find it interesting. Thank you for the useful information.


      DeWayne-FilmFreak 7 years ago

      Excellent lens! I use to sell gemstones in Tennessee and the orange sapphire is a unique gem! 5 stars!

      DeWayne(FilmFreak)- MovieDownloadMatrix.com -


      KarenS 7 years ago

      Clear instructions and a well written

      Lens.

      A wonderful How to Lens.

      I've added you to my lensroll.


      anonymous 7 years ago

      Awesome! 5 star len!


      anonymous 7 years ago

      Margaret, wonderful of you to generously share your knowledge with others! Excellent!

      Cluny


      tanyaross_06 8 years ago

      Margaret, what a wonderful article!! as always, your instructions are both clear and thorough -- keep it up!

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