Setting Gemstones in Metal Clay

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

How to Set Gemstones in Metal Clay
See all 11 photos
How to Set Gemstones in Metal Clay

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.

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.

Not every stone tested produced identical results in the different firing tests. 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. 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

Fine silver metal clay earrings molded from the blossom end of a tangerine, embellished with gold and set with clear round CZ gemstones.
See all 11 photos
Fine silver metal clay earrings molded from the blossom end of a tangerine, embellished with gold and set with clear round CZ gemstones.
Source: 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.

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 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.

Fine silver earrings from PMC silver metal clay, set with lab sapphire cabochons and embellished with 24K gold keum-boo.
See all 11 photos
Fine silver earrings from PMC silver metal clay, set with lab sapphire cabochons and embellished with 24K gold keum-boo.
Source: Designed, created and photographed by Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved
Diagram showing the parts of a faceted gemstone
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Diagram showing the parts of a faceted gemstone
Source: Adapted by Margaret Schindel from a Public Domain image on Pixabay

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.

Fine silver charm (both sides shown) from metal clay, set with a tall citrine CZ and embellished with a crystal bead drop
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Fine silver charm (both sides shown) from metal clay, set with a tall citrine CZ and embellished with a crystal bead drop
Source: 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.
See all 11 photos
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.
Source: 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.

Fine silver metal clay origami brooch with an amethyst CZ set in a silver clay coil setting.
See all 11 photos
Fine silver metal clay origami brooch with an amethyst CZ set in a silver clay coil setting.
Source: 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 Fireable 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.

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 19 months ago from Massachusetts

@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 19 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 20 months ago from Massachusetts

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.

      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

      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.

      Fine silver bezel wire setting embedded in fine silver metal clay before firing and set with a dichroic glass cabochon after firing.
      See all 11 photos
      Fine silver bezel wire setting embedded in fine silver metal clay before firing and set with a dichroic glass cabochon after firing.
      Source: Margaret Schindel

      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 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.

      Silver marquise earring drops embedded with commercial fine silver bezel cups before firing, to be set with calibrated natural blue topaz cabochons after firing.
      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.
      Source: Margaret Schindel

      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.

      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 October 12, 2014

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      Did You Learn Anything New About Setting Gemstones in Metal Clay Jewelry? 201 comments

      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      Diane, I'm so glad I've inspired you to pursue your interest in learning how to make metal clay jewelry! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about metal clay techniques. I'll be happy to help.


      Diane Cass profile image

      Diane Cass 2 months ago from New York Level 2 Commenter

      Metal clay is fascinating to me. I do beaded jewelry and want to take a class on making metal clay jewelry. Thanks for the inspiration. I really do need to sign up for that class now.


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

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


      Brite-Ideas profile image

      Brite-Ideas 3 months 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 3 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

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


      Brite-Ideas profile image

      Brite-Ideas 3 months 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 4 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 4 months ago Level 3 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 months ago from New York City Level 6 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 5 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

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


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 5 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 6 months ago Level 2 Commenter

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


      wimble lm profile image

      wimble lm 6 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 6 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

      @aminebombom: Thanks very much! :)


      aminebombom profile image

      aminebombom 6 months ago from Doha, Qatar Level 2 Commenter

      very gorgeous gemstones, they are really attractive


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 6 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

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


      tracy159 profile image

      tracy159 6 months ago from Maryville, TN

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


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 6 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 6 months ago from Tokyo, Japan Level 6 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 6 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

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


      soniabaad lm profile image

      soniabaad lm 6 months ago Level 1 Commenter

      A wonderful work. Thanks for sharing..


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 6 months ago from Massachusetts Hub Author

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


      RinchenChodron 6 months ago

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


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 7 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 7 months ago from Texas USA

      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 7 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 7 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 7 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 7 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 7 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 7 months ago from Chennai Level 1 Commenter

      Great info. Interesting lens!


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 7 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 7 months ago from Montreal Level 1 Commenter

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


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 7 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 7 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 7 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 7 months ago Level 2 Commenter

      A very informative lens


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 7 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 7 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 8 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 8 months ago Level 3 Commenter

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


      Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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!


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