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Bench Tips and Tricks

Our Bench Tips and Tricks section covers jewelry making and repairs. Get the most from your tools and materials, from mandrels to palladium to gems.

314 ARTICLES 5 VIDEOS 3 PRODUCTS
Article
Tips for Avoiding Meltdown

Now What? You’ve carved a few waxes or made a piece in metal that you want to mold and have cast. Now what do you do? If you’re new to the business or this is just your first time working with a caster, it can be confusing. Who do you…

Article
Display & Packaging

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Display & Packaging.…

Article
Chain & Findings

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Chain & Findings. See…

Article
Casting Tools and Products

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Casting Tools and Products.…

Article
Communication for Customer Satisfaction

In the quest to get some insights into designing and marketing customized jewelry “customer whisperers” agreed that communication is the key to customer satisfaction. Read on for a deeper understanding of this discovery.…

Article
CAD/CAM Designer Tools

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about CAD/CAM Designer Tools.…

Article
Business Software Tools

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Business Software Tools.…

Article
Useful Bench Tools

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Bench Tools. See related…

Article
Kinds of Alloys

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Alloys. See related topics:…

Article
Paraffin Wax Treatment

The holiday season can be rough on jewelers. The long hours spent toiling at the bench trying to fulfill last minute orders can take a toll on the body. To help get through this tough season, it’s important to make time to take care of yourself.…

Article
Securing Curved Stones for Easy Drilling

Securing curved stones when drilling can be a bit difficult. I use recycled ceramic china, beach pebbles, sea and river glass, and pottery shards in many of my cold connected pieces, which means I need to drill holes— a lot of holes. Very often,…

Article
How to Create a Basic Link Chain

Making a simple or basic link chain to display your pendant designs is a great way to add further value to your work, and it can be a fairly easy process. When I make my own chain, I like to use 16 gauge (1.3 mm in diameter) wire. This gauge……

Article
Discussion on Refiner Methods

Shawna Kulpa takes a look into the assaying methods refiners use to determine the value of a lot. This article is a discussion on refiner methods from the journey a piece of metal goes through to how much they are worth. It seems so mysterious: …

Article
Discover New Customers

Consumers still want to buy and wear jewelry. You’re just going to have to leap to reach them.  Confront the unknown to discover new customers If you’ve been reading this column for a while, then you’ve grown up with my kids. Next week,…

Article
Administering a Client Personality Test

When working with a client to discern their personal style, do you ever administer a personality test? If not, you may want to start because it can reveal more than you might realize about your client’s tastes. Calla Gold of Calla Gold Jewelry…

Article
Tackling Chain and Finding Repair

Ask most jewelers about repairing a chain or finding and they’re likely to offer you their best Charlie Brown impression: Good grief! And it’s an expression that’s somewhat warranted, given the risks involved in working on the tiny…

Article
How to Mount Objects in Metal Frames

For the illusion of “floating objects” Helen I. Driggs shares her technique, a step by step guide, on how to mount objects in matel frames. ******************** Bi-directional tabs are a decorative way to secure delicate objects…

Article
Step-by-Step Guide to Upsizing Rings

When I ran a trade shop, time was money, and I often found myself sizing 50 to 60 rings in a day. When you’re doing that kind of volume, being able to quickly size up rings can make a big difference on your bottom line. Here’s my technique for sizing……

Article
MJSA Custom Jeweler – Brenda Smith

An Uncustomary Request – Creative freedom and some unusual pearls helped create an award-winning necklace by Brenda Smith. Let’s say you are given 27 of the largest freshwater, cultured, round pearls in the world, and told that…

Article
How to Make an Ionic Cleaner

Although ultrasonic cleaners are great for removing gunk on jewelry, they do a poor job when it comes to removing tarnish…and that’s where ionic cleaners come into play. They use a small electrical current to clean metal, quickly whisking…

Article
Unexpected Tools for Fabrication

Helen I. Driggs demonstrates how some non-jeweler’s tools give fabrication a new twist. My background is in graphic design, so I have spent lots of time in traditional artist’s supply stores. I have discovered quite a few tools…

Article
Managing Quality Problems

When I was in grade school, I decided to enter a gardening contest for 4H. Though I had experience helping out on farms, I really didn’t know anything other than to do as I was told. After procrastinating the startup and being a bit lax on the weed…

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Creating Beading Pliers Accessory Bezel Settings

Sometimes, holding on to really little parts is the greatest challenge of my day. I use tiny cabochons almost daily for rings and stone-on-stone work, and I can’t tell you how many 5 mm bezels I have mangled or lost trying to sand, polish,…

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Tips & Techniques for Popular Finishing Touches

We asked a number of top jewelers to tell us their best practices, techniques, and tips for creating satin, brushed, and hammered finishes as well as patinas on jewelry. Take notes – you’ll want to test these popular finishing touches…

Article
Differences between Managing and Micromanaging

As a Business Strategy it is important to recognize the differences between managing and micromanaging. Read on for Andrea Hill’s take on losing control on managing as a manager. I once had an employee who knew absolutely everything.…

Article
2017 Pantone’s Top 10 Colors for Fall

Pantone’s picks are comforting, enveloping, and easy to wear. Warm. Comforting. Effortless. These are just a few of the words being used to describe Pantone’s top 10 colors for Fall 2017. The palette for the upcoming season is bookended…

Article
From the Bench: Sisyphus

From the Bench: Sisyphus In the city where I grew up – Chicago – the ghettos were literally crumbling. My house had a fireplace and my brother, sister, and I would take a wagon into the ghetto to collect firewood. Along with the wood I’d usually…

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Beyond the Bench: Contemporary Studio Jewelry

Contemporary Studio Jewelry There are few faster ways to clear a room than to invite a conversation about the difference between Art and Craft. Not only are these conversations tedious and unproductive, but they generally work from the defensive…

Article
From The Bench: Kohler Company

Kohler Company During April and May of 1993 I was a resident artist at the Kohler Company factory in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The experience has changed the way that I think about myself as well as giving me new insights into my work. Since 1974 the…

Video
How to Harden and Temper Tool Steel

Learn to harden and temper your own custom-shaped jewelry tools. By master goldsmith Charles Lewton-Brain. Filmed in full HD 1080p. IMPORTANT NOTE: Hardening and Tempering is a two step process, the steel MUST be tempered (softened) after…

Video
Other Uses for a Pencil in Jewelry Making

Two surprising uses for a pencil as a tool in jewelry making. (1) Gain extreme control over the burr on your flex shaft by using a piece of the top of the pencil and (2) etch disc designs using the eraser end of a pencil. By master goldsmith Charles…

Video
Make Your Own DIY Rotary Burr

Make your own high quality rotary burr from an inexpensive disposable lighter. By master goldsmith Charles Lewton-Brain. Filmed in full HD 1080p.

Video
Make Your Own Cardboard Disc Sander

Handy trick to make a useful cardboard disc sander which master goldsmith Charles Lewton-Brain learned about at a factory in Germany. Disc can then be used on a polishing machine. Filmed in full HD 1080p.

Video
Method to Quickly Identify Tool Steel

Learn to be able to quickly identify what quality of steel a tool is made of and whether it’s low quality or worthwhile to use. By master goldsmith Charles Lewton-Brain. Filmed in full HD 1080p.

Product
Stuller Custom Jewelers Workbench

This all-wood constructed workbench has a solid Surell surface which is heat-resistant and easy to maintain. Light sanding will remove burns stains or minor scratches. It is fully-skirted and its quality hardwood construction will withstand…

Article
Recent Sightings: Handwork

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” where Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1990 Spring issue, he talks about handwork or handmade…

Article
Recent Sightings: Jewelry Teachers

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” and here Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1989 Fall issue, he talks about jewelry teachers and…

Article
Art and Technics: Technical Mastery

This article is one of a series of articles from Metalsmith Magazine “Art and Technics” talking about techniques in craftsmanship and design.  For this 1989 Fall issue, Tim McCreight talks about technical mastery. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~…

Article
A Conversation with Michael Rowe

Michael Rowe uses functional containers as a base from which to explore formal studies of space, form and balance, which are enhanced by his expressive use of patination. His holloware gains strength from the fact that he is not distracted…

Article
Art and Technics: Experience

This article is one of a series of articles from Metalsmith Magazine “Art and Technics” talking about techniques in craftsmanship and design.  For this 1989 Spring issue, Tim McCreight talks about experience and how and what it…

Article
The Value of Ideas on Metalsmith/Jeweler’s Repertoire

This essay originated as a presentation at the Society of North American Goldsmiths’ conference in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1986. It has been revised and edited for publication in Metalsmith. Metcalf’s theme concerning the value of ideas…

Article
The Prospective General Teacher of Art

The teacher of vocational courses in art should be thoroughly trained in his craft and, if possible, should be a practicing artist. One might hope, of course, that he might also be a person of well-rounded education. To hold this image of the…

Article
How to Repair a Hollow Rope Chain

I took in a broken hollow rope chain bracelet for repair this week. The bracelet had caught on a desk drawer and broke. I didn’t think it presented any special problems (outside of being hollow) until I looked further and noticed a couple…

Article
Flat Topped Solitaire Setting

The Flat Topped Solitaire Setting is a popular style setting that is slightly more complicated to set than the standard solitaire mounting. I prefer this ring design as it makes the smaller stone app ear slightly larger in its overall appearance.…

Article
Creating a 14KW Rubellite Tourmaline Pendant

Steve Satow describes the procedure on creating a 14KW Rubellite Tourmaline Pendant. Creating a 14KW Rubellite Tourmaline Pendant Beginning components are two 14kw pendants, a lobster claw, a 6mm jump ring, a 16 inch strand of 6mm pearls…

Article
Tips on Learning Website Basics

In today’s internet driven market place you need to have a website whether you are a small “Mom & Pop” trade shop or you have employees and multiple locations. Many jewelry stores have already joined the 21st century…

Article
Translating Line Art into 3D Models in Matrix

Line art, such as logos, family crests, text or numbers, cartoon characters, and even sketches can be quickly and easily translated into 3D models in Matrix for use in a variety of jewelry designs. Depending on the skill of the user, the end use…

Article
Customized Earring Setting Pliers

Steve Satow shows the procedure for a customized earring setting pliers using a normal setting pliers. Normal setting pliers can be modified to set stones in loose heads and earrings. Please wear your safety glasses. Most setting pliers have…

Article
Bezel Setting Using a Lathe

Bezel setting the center sapphire is normally pretty straight-forward, but I would like to share a few tricks that have helped me improve the outcome. Please follow along as I bezel set this sapphire using a lathe or a watch-maker’s lathe.…

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Bezel Setting Method

Bezel setting is one of the most secure methods of setting a gemstone into a mounting, but one of the most difficult to do cleanly. Bezel setting, by its very nature, requires you to deform and wrinkle the metal around a stone causing uneven variations…

Article
Fabricating a Free Form Opal Pendant

I received this opal from a woman who had cut it years ago. Her customer was aware it had a small chip on the corner and she was leery of setting it. I wasn’t sure if it had been kept hydrated or if it was more brittle that usual. She…

Article
Handling Colored Stones at the Bench Part 2

I’m hoping this series of articles will save some of you time, money, and embarrassment by discussing some of the common bench procedures that can easily lead to damage of colored stones – and how to avoid it. Some of it will be familiar, some…

Article
Tips for Recovering Precious Metal Particles

Most jewelers know how to handle their precious metal scraps: they separate their scraps by metal, dry out ultrasonic solutions so they just ship the metal-infused sludge, and they keep their bench sweeps separate. But what about the precious…

Article
Step by Step Guide to Single Row Pave Settings

Single-row pavé, which consists of a single row of small diamonds set into a narrow strip of metal, is a beautiful use of melee and one of the most popular setting styles today. While more difficult than prong or bezel setting, it is a great first…

Article
Art and Technics: Learning from History

This article is one of a series of articles from Metalsmith Magazine “Art and Technics” talking about techniques in craftsmanship and design. For this 1987 Spring issue, Tim McCreight talks about learning from history and using it to…

Article
Roll Printing Technique

Roll printing, or texture transfer, has been around a long time. The ancient Greeks and Romans used various dies and, of course, every well-appointed Sumerian had a cylinder seal with which to authenticate his signature. Both of these employ…

Article
Contemporary Applications of Area Inlay

The use of area inlay, called damascening or woven inlay, is common in the ancient metalwork of Iran, India, Japan, Spain and other countries. Since most applications require the use of ferrous metals as base materials, area inlay is not often…

Article
How to Use Time Fully

Always try to understand, that you are your own best enemy. Be nice to yourself when tackling the unknown. Realize that you are going to fail a lot before you are going to succeed. ALLOW TIME FOR THIS FAILING TO HAPPEN. Creative work is not mechanical.…

Article
A Metalsmith’s Guide to Tokyo, Japan

Nothing is simple in Tokyo—not the language, not the culture, not the geography. Even getting information is a major task and everything takes longer than you think it will. So the essential point to remember when you come to Tokyo is that…

Article
Creative Imagination – Undeveloped Resource

In 1959, Victor Papanek gave the third-year students in his creative engineering seminar at Ontario College of Art this problem: “Reexamine keyboard controls on a typewriter in relation to the human hand and fatigue factors. Design…

Article
Technical Briefs: Fluxes

Technical Briefs deals with technical concerns of interest to a wide audience, addressing topics as diverse as vanguard technology and ancient arts. It will also answer questions from readers and respond to suggestions, always trying…

Article
Casting Investment Materials and Applications

The casting investment process enjoys wide popularity in the production of commercial and one-of-a-kind art metal objects. However, production practice varies widely. At one extreme, design renderings are turned over to a production…

Article
How to Construct a Portable Photographic Studio

The successful documentation of finished work is of vital concern to every artist. Excellent slides make better teaching tools, and it goes without saying that the quality of photographs weighs heavily when work is being considered for juried…

Article
Technical Briefs: Dealing with Firescale

Technical Briefs deals with technical concerns of interest to a wide audience, addressing topics as diverse as vanguard technology and ancient arts. It will also answer questions from readers and respond to suggestions, always trying…

Article
Bi-Metal Casting to Titanium

Titanium and the other refractory metals other the metalsmith a new range of exotic colors – colors that are beautiful and subtle. The saying “less is more applies to titanium since the colors are created by the refraction of light…

Article
A Metalsmith’s Guide to Washington, D.C.

This is a continuing series of metalsmith’s guides to cities, regions and museums throughout the world. The purpose of these guides is to give those interested in viewing metalwork during their travels an introduction to the treasures…

Article
Technical Briefs: Understanding Sandpaper

Technical Briefs deals with technical concerns of interest to a wide audience, addressing topics as diverse as vanguard technology and ancient arts. It will also answer questions from readers and respond to suggestions, always trying…

Article
Technical Briefs: Fire Stain on Brass

Technical Briefs deals with technical concerns of interest to a wide audience, addressing topics as diverse as vanguard technology and ancient arts. It will also answer questions from readers and respond to suggestions, always trying…

Article
Metalsmith ’85 Summer: Health Hazards Q&A’s

This article page is from a segment of the Metalsmith Magazine (1985 Summer), “Health Hazards”, discussing questions from readers and answers provided by Linda Weiss-Edwards herself. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Linda, In the fall…

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Metalsmith ’84 Summer: Health Hazards Q&A’s

This article page is from a segment of the Metalsmith Magazine (1984 Summer), “Health Hazards”, discussing questions from readers about book on metalworking safety. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Linda, Can you recommend any…

Article
Photographic Images on Refractory Metals

The following article explains photo techniques used to transfer images onto refractory metals. These findings were developed during my graduate studies at California State University, Long Beach, California. Traditionally photo resists…

Article
Book Review – Modeling in Wax for Jewelry and Sculpture

My first reaction when I heard about this book was, “It’s about time.” Think of it: If you tried to read every new book on jewelry-making, you would be reading most of the time. Yet, how many books can you name that concentrate…

Article
Metalsmith ’84 Spring: Health Hazards Q&A’s

This article page is from a segment of the Metalsmith Magazine (1984 Spring), “Health Hazards”, discussing questions from readers about using sumac and the effects of gas ozone. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Linda, I frequently enhance…

Article
Rendering Design and Process

This is the second in a series of articles on the art and skill of rendering jewelry and small metal objects. Here we show the stages of rendering from pencil roughs to finished pencil renderings with color to full-color renderings, and discuss…

Article
Metalsmith ’84 Fall: Health Hazards Q&A’s

Linda Weiss-Edwards provides a list of Onsite Consultation for Artists and Schools from each state in the United States in this segment of “Safety Hazards” from Metalsmith 1984 Fall. Every state has a free onsite consultation…

Article
Metalsmith ’83 Fall: Health Hazards Q&A’s

This article page is from a segment of the Metalsmith Magazine (1983 Fall), “Health Hazards”, discussing questions from readers and answers provided by Linda Weiss-Edwards herself. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Linda, I…

Article
Metalsmith ’83 Summer: Health Hazards Q&A’s

This article page is from a segment of the Metalsmith Magazine (1983 Summer), “Health Hazards”, discussing questions from readers and answers provided by Linda herself. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Linda, You are doing a…

Article
Copper Granulation Technique

Granulation, a technique used in jewelry and metalwork, is the decorative use of minute metal granules attached to the surface of the same metal, or, in some cases, attached to each other. In attaching the granules to a surface or to each other,…

Article
Transparency Making for Photoetching

This article, “Transparency Making for Photoetching”,  is the first of two parts written by Allan Liu and Carol Webb. Check out the second part of this article series “Photoetching for the Studio Jeweler.”…

Article
A Metalsmith’s Guide to Los Angeles

This Metalsmith’s Guide to Los Angeles can be useful to metalsmiths who are new to the Los Angeles area or to people who have been living here and developed an interest in the metalsmithing world. The information is based on the experience…

Article
Photoetching for the Studio Jeweler

In photoetching a photo transparency defines the area of a metal plate to be etched. The transparency is the control unit, the program, that prescribes which parts of the light-sensitive resist will chemically harden, polymerize, to become…

Article
Basic Approach to Product Design

Design is a perennial issue for all who produce objects meant for a specific use, utilitarian, in contrast to objects which have an exclusively expressive function. In America the postwar period dating from the 40’s was characterized…

Article
Making a Metal Brooch Frame

This is a metal frame for a brooch which can be made without any soldering. Findings can be glued or riveted to the back of the frame. Fig 1. Bend over frame made from silver sheet You can enamel directly onto the frame or you can use it to glue……

Article
Tool and Equipment Checkpoints

Maybe you’re shopping for the latest technologies—the newest developments in CAD/CAM to produce life-like renderings, a laser to engrave your rings, or a casting machine engineered to maximize fills. Or maybe you want to upgrade your…

Article
2 Successful Stone Setting Tips

Ask any experienced jeweler, and they’ll tell you: it takes stones to become a gem setter. You literally have to put hundreds of stones in their place, time and time again, to be able to reach a point of consistent quality. Along the way,…

Article
Tips for Modifying Vises

A good vise is a vital piece of equipment for any goldsmith because it can act as a third hand, securely holding onto a piece while the goldsmith uses both free hands to work on it. Given their usefulness, it’s no surprise that many jewelers keep…

Article
Making Wooden Raising Stakes

This article offers a few tips on making your own wooden raising stakes instead of buying rather expensive metal ones. Aside from that it is so easy to make. When the Touchstone School of the Arts opened in western Pennsylvania in the early…

Article
Debunking a Soldering Myth 2

There are many myths about heating pieces during soldering that can cause innumerable problems during relatively simple soldering operations. In this occasional column, I will address the top soldering myths and the essential criteria…

Article
3 Tips to Overcome Workplace Dysfunction

My kids are grown now, but I still recall how effective they were at pushing each other’s buttons when they were young. They knew just how to rile one another up to create a diversion, assuage boredom, or engage in some drama. As we grow older…

Article
Tips and Tricks for Scoring Metal

Scoring metal is incredibly important for custom jewelry construction. It enables you to reduce the number of parts in a catch or a hollow piece, which increases strength and cuts fabrication time. The term “scoring” refers to creating…

Article
Jewelers Precision Hand Saw Test

I have an intimate relationship with my tool collection. Sometimes the needs of a particular jewelry project drive me to purchase a new tool, while other times I’m compelled to add a tool to my collection simply because of its “Wow!” factor.…

Article
Bench Tools for Jewelers

This article lists the following useful bench tools for jewelers including contact information where they can be purchased or ordered. Grobet USA LED Bench Lamp Suitable for use at the bench or on the sales floor, the Grobet USA LED Bench…

Article
Overcoming Bench Mistakes

From the Editor: It’s happened to everyone. You’re working on a project and everything is going along well until…. Oops. You melt something that wasn’t supposed to be melted, or chip something that’s hard to replace. After a few…

Article
Gemstone Setting Tip: Shape

“You should know what kind of shape you’re in,” joked Arthur Anton Skuratowicz during an MJSA At the Bench Live demonstration he gave last month at the AGTA GemFair in Tucson. While sharing gemstone setting tips for fancy shaped and raw…

Article
Risking Failure to Master New Things

My grandson has spent the last several weeks learning how to walk. This new risk comes with a lot of bumps and bruises. He has bumped his chin, bitten his lip, banged the side of his head, and fallen repeatedly on his little bum. But he just gets up…

Article
Thai Chaser Tool Tricks

I was recently in Chiang Mai, a city in northern Thailand, where I spent a month visiting silversmiths and chasers to document their work. The city is teeming with chasers, and there are whole temples covered in metalwork. The chasers work mostly…

Article
Green Bench Tips – Part 1

This is the first in a two-part series on green bench tips shared by jewelers who are taking an eco-friendlier approach in their shops. Small changes at the bench can make a difference. Window to the World Jennifer Dawes, Dawes Design, Santa…

Article
Debunking a Soldering Myth 1

After 25 years as a jeweler, first as a student, an apprentice, an instructor, and now a master instructor and director of the Jewelry Arts Institute in New York City, I’ve come to realize that much of the basic information about soldering…

Article
Reusing Broken Saw Blades

Traditionally trained jewelers often scoff at the idea of using glue as a joining method. However, there are times when a tiny drop of glue is exactly what you need to get the job done. Common examples are mounting a pearl on a post or bonding the…

Article
Selecting the Correct Saw Blade

This article provides and describes the useful tips for selecting the correct saw blade by Alan Revere including some important things to consider for blade selection. Sawing is a fast and easy way to cut and separate a piece of metal into…

Article
Green Bench Tips – Part 2

This is the second in a two-part series on green bench tips shared by jewelers who are taking another approach for their shops, eco friendly shops. A Clean Break with Chemicals Jennifer Dawes, Dawes Design, Santa Rosa, California Tired of dumping…

Article
Safer Pickle Alternative

Procrastination can sometimes lead to wonderful discoveries. Tom Arnold, owner of Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Virginia, found this out first hand, when his avoidance of a particularly nasty sizing job led him to whittle away some time…

Article
Locating Dead Center on Ring Blanks

This article provides a helpful tip on locating dead center on ring blanks and finding balance on an object. Free-form wax carving offers jewelers an unlimited number of design possibilities. However, one noticeable disadvantage of this…

Article
4 Marketing Tips for Mobile Customers

Since the advent of the Information Age, the marketing landscape has undergone a radical transformation. Pre-internet, businesses used to be in control of their relationships with customers, and could use the traditional sales funnel…

Article
Polishing Hard to Reach Areas

When it comes to fine jewelry making polishing is a very important step – it can be the difference between an okay piece and a high-end piece. Personally, I like to polish every single corner of a piece, no matter how small or tight it…

Article
Using Dental Mold-Making Materials

Jewelers are always molding objects and parts, most often to use for making wax models for casting. There are many vulcanized rubber and silicone mold materials intended for this purpose in the jewelry industry, but what if you need to make…

Article
3 Top Challenges for Jewelry Makers in 2014

Editor’s Note: Looking ahead at the coming year, it’s just as important to consider the challenges facing the jewelry industry as it is to focus on the trends. Turning those challenges into opportunities will be key to increasing…

Article
5 Holiday Casting Process Tips

The hazy days of summer aren’t too soon to begin thinking of designs for the holidays—and how to best cast them. During these hot summer days, the last thing you want to think about is the cold winter that’s just a few months away. But as…

Article
Customized Mini Clamp Tool

I like to hold small pieces of metal with a clamp that allows me to file hands free. I feel it gives me better control, which means faster jobs and better fits. I took a plain mini hand vise and a 3/8 inch fine thread nut for the first part…

Article
Setting Stones in Wax

One of the most revolutionary advances in recent years, apart from laser welding, is the method of setting stones in wax. It has allowed many previously impossible designs andalso allowed the jeweler to forge ahead and create many difficult…

Article
Handling Colored Stones at the Bench Part 1

Ever since childhood, I’ve been fascinated by rocks and gems. I started cutting cabs more than 40 years ago, and have been faceting colored stones for about 30 years. I do precision cutting of colored gems these days, and that often includes…

Article
Creating and Sharpening Gravers

This article is about creating and sharpening gravers before using for your work or project as described by Tom Weishaar. Before beginning a discussion on creating a graver it might be helpful to identify the different parts of a graver.…

Article
Bezel Setting Cabochon Stones

One of the most basic designs in stone setting is Bezel Setting. It is rudimentary in its concept, and it is very pleasing to the eye in its simplicity. This concept blends with the smooth vertical shape of the stone. There are no sharp corners,…

Article
Prong Setting & Ring Sizing Tips

I’m going to do something different in this issue. Instead of taking you through the steps involved in putting a new piece of jewelry on the market, I’m going to share some bench tips that I’ve been taught, or developed, through…

Article
CAD/CAM Techniques

The strength of Computer Aided Design &  Manufacturing is similar to that of any other tool on the bench:it is most effective when itis the right tool for the job.Gemvision’s Matrix 4.0 provides users with powerful design, presentation,and…

Article
Layout Form / Template

Click on the image to enlarge and download and you can use this layout form or template to help layout crowns. This form will help you lay out prongs when creating new crowns. Use the crossed lines on top when making a 4 or 8 prong crown, and the bottom……

Article
International Ring Sizes Chart

This page provides an international ring sizes chart you can view and/or download to be your guide in making or even just to refer to customer’s ring sizes. Click to view a bigger image:…

Article
Stone Setting Tips

Here are some very helpful stone setting tips provided by Gerald Lewy to help and guide you when working on gemstones. When securing stones, please use a soft metal pusher. I suggest a copper or brass pusher. This will prevent making deep marks…

Article
20 Laser Welding Tips

This article offers some laser welding tips that might make your life as a laser welder a bit easier. Read on for some interesting tips and tricks! Laser Welding Tips 1. Keep your laser welder clean, especially the protective lens inside the…

Article
Jewelry Making Bench Tips

Jeremy Pavlow shares his common jewelry making bench tips by taking advantage of other tools and materials not normally used for jewelry making. Here are some very useful tips he uses around the shop every day. Not Just For Oral Hygiene I use…

Article
How to Make Straight Wire Holders

Stuller had the foresight to offer straight wire that we don’t have to remove the bend from before we use it for straight projects. I know we have many curved projects also but the wire is never the right curve, so we have to bend it anyway.…

Article
Half-Ground Round Bur

There are times during the setters workday where there is a need for a specific tool, but there nothing is available at the local tool supply store. With a little creativity you can modify many of the tools you have to make a wide selection of newer…

Article
Bead Setting Method – Part 3

In past issues of BENCH magazine, I have dealt heavily on making a bead raiser and using it to bead set diamonds, and I have a CD on this topic for sale. Some of you out there are probably asking, “Gerry, there must be an easier method to secure…

Article
Customized Turntable Tool Rack

Find a turntable that
 is size appropriate for 
your bench. In this case
mine is 18 inches wide.
 If possible find one with 
ball bearings to make it 
work smoother. Buy a 1/4
 sheet of sanded on one
 side 1/2 inch plywood
…

Article
Platinum Finishing 1 – Safety

My finishing techniques are up close and personal. The majority of my polishing work is done at the same proximity to the work piece as fabrication or stone setting. For me, the majority of my finishing is a bench technique. For many, it seems…

Article
Laser Repair: Bangle Bracelet

It’s an “everyday” kind of repair job. The customer brings in a bangle bracelet that has a broken safety slide. This time let’s try a different approach to repairing it. After a close inspection of the bracelet we…

Article
Customized Solder Holder, Jet Sett, Blast Shield

Steve Satow shares his procedure for customized solder holder and blast shield, and how to make using a Jet Sett easier with a melter and holder. Solder Holder When I was in school we used to do a lot of sterling silver soldering. I got into the habit…

Article
What Causes Casting Marks?

In the Spring 2003 Issue we asked the question “What causes these marks on this casting?” Around 100 readers responded to the question. Everyone that responded said the same thing; Water Marks. Investment needs to be finished…

Article
Customized Beading Tool Retipper, Trays & Polisher

Steve Satow shares his procedure on how to customize bench tools like a beading tool retipper, small parts trays and hand held polisher, and a tip for your Solder Station. Beading Tool Retipper Refinishing beading tools is more convenient…

Article
Tool Alterations

This article describes the different tool alterations that any bench man needs to know and learn as guidance for their work and workmanship. These are simple chain nose pliers that are trimmed like in picture then the tip bent. After the seat…

Article
Bench Mag Favorite Tips 2002

This article page is from a section “Favorite Tips” from BENCH Magazine 2002 submitted by readers and BENCH Magazine Staff covering favorite tips on removing and straightening kinks in chains, jewelry cleansing, chain repair…

Article
Platinum Consideration Factors

Jurgen J Maerz of the Platinum Guild International USA outlines factors to consider when adding platinum to your line of manufactured jewelry. Technical education is the key successfully manufacturing platinum jewelry. Platinum is often…

Article
Bench Mag Favorite Tips 2002 Part 1

This article page is from a section “Favorite Tips” from BENCH Magazine 2002 submitted by readers and BENCH Magazine Staff. Read on for more details. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A ring roller designed to enlarge…

Article
Cutting Down Repair Costs

Much of my business comes from re-cutting colored gems that have been chipped, scratched and broken (not always by the goldsmith). Replacing broken in lay material is another favorite. I know there will always be a need for cutting and polishing…

Article
Basic Polishing Technique

Many jewelers see polishing as a mundane task. However, it is one of the most important operations in the process of repairing or making jewelry. The final appearance of the jewelry to a large extent, will determine the acceptability of the…

Article
How to Make a Bezel

There are several ways to make a “box-setting” for enameled work pieces. This is one way on how to make a bezel. The piece you are setting should be finished, because every piece gets a bit larger during enameling. Don’t make…

Article
Buffer System & Ultrasonic Basket Replacement

When we replaced our vacuum tubes for the buffer system I chose to run PVC again. The PVC is easy to acquire and assemble and the smooth sides promote air flow. Most fittings are cemented but a few strategic points are just tight press fits to allow…

Article
Bench Mag Favorite Tips 2002 Part 3

This article page is from a section “Favorite Tips” from BENCH Magazine 2002 submitted by readers and BENCH Magazine Staff covering polishing chains, pin tumbler, bright cutting  plastic lid cutting tricks and more, ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Article
How to Resize Platinum Rings

This article offers instructions on how to resize platinum rings whether for a size smaller or bigger, as well as, repair bench tips and tricks. Rings are among the platinum items that jewelers most frequently receive for repair. To make a platinum…

Article
Hints on Making Tubing

This article is an extract from the book ‘Hinges and Hinge-Based Catches for Jewelers and Goldsmiths’ Not all sizes and wall thicknesses of tube come seamless from a factory or refiner. Especially when working in gold it is not…

Article
Bench Mag Favorite Tips 2002 Part 2

This article page is from a section “Favorite Tips” from BENCH Magazine 2002 submitted by readers and BENCH Magazine Staff covering inlay gold into platinum and chain repair, ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To inlay…

Article
Basic Milling Technique

In working on jewelry there are many tasks that seem simple – you just do it and don’t think about techniques. Milling is a prime example. You stick a bur in your flex-shaft, step on the pedal, and away you go. However, as simple as…

Article
Bench Mag Favorite Tips 2002 Part 4

This article page is from a section “Favorite Tips” from BENCH Magazine 2002 submitted by readers and BENCH Magazine Staff covering bench pins and shims, ring holder, setting melee and more, ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Article
Bench Tips and Tricks of the Trade

To stretch a wedding band that is larger than your ring stretcher mandrel, slip a copper sleeve over the mandrel and place the ring over the sleeve. The mandrel will press out on the copper sleeve, which in turn will press out on the wedding band…

Article
Re-tipping Platinum Prongs

Platinum is a very durable metal, so prongs will last a long time. However, it is sometimes necessary to re-tip prongs even on a Platinum ring. By definition, re-tipping platinum prongs imply that the stone remains in the setting during the…

Article
Resizing Damaged Rings

This page provides some helpful tips when it comes to resizing damaged rings with stones. Read on for more. When sizing rings with stones that may be damaged from heat, hold the stones under water while soldering. To do this, place a metal…

Article
Metal Conversion Chart

The metal conversion chart below will help you determine the amount of metal needed to create a piece of jewelry in a different metal. To use, weigh the piece of jewelry. Then find the present metal along the top of the chart and look down the column…

Article
CAD/CAM: The Basics

What if you could sit down at your computer, spend a little time manipulating the mouse, keyboard or electronic pencil and create a piece of jewelry; then send that electronic creation to a small, desktop machine which would carve your design…

Article
Jewellery Repair

Repairing jewellery is an extremely tricky job. Work often pretends to be something else, metal is not what it is labelled, or sold as and the customer’s memory fades with time, so that jewellery is often given to the repair person as something…

Article
Craftsmanship Improvement Method

This is a method to reduce technical problems which one repeatedly experienes. We all find during the learning process that there are times when the same problem presents itself over and over again. Sometimes when beginning one overworks…

Article
Notes on Files for Jewelry Making

When one gets a new file one traditionally dips it in alcohol and sets fire to it to burn off any grease (this could be dangerous-use great care). Get the longest files you are comfortable with as the long stroke is very efficient. 20 cm or longer…

Article
Working Posture for Craftsmen

Many craftspeople have posture and body position problems. Ramazzini, the founder of occupational medicine and author of a groundbreaking book on diseases of workers published in 1713 writes rather cruelly (and the man was a great humanitarian…

Article
Dealing with Fire Scale

Fire scale or fire stain is a reddish purple toned ‘bloom’ or ‘stain’ that appears on silver/copper alloys such as sterling silver when they are heated in the presence of oxygen. It even occurs in gold alloys with high copper contents. As it generally…

Article
Basic Metalworking Tools for Beginners

Making jewelry is sometimes seen as a difficult or an expensive proposition. In reality a basic metal working shop can be set up quite inexpensively. Cutting (separating materials), soldered construction and finishing are the three main…

Article
Notes on Presto-Lite Torch

We use a method for cutting down firescale when using a Presto-Lite Torch along with an acetylene B tank. The torch tips are engineered to take in so much gas through the gas orifice and so much air through the air inlet ventura so they burn to their…

Article
A Pain In The Neck

You start to turn and there it is again. You go to stand up from your chair and it happens again. It’s that nagging pain in your neck or lower back. After several years on the bench, jewelers often develop chronic neck or back injuries.

Article
Bench Trick Guiding Principles

What is a bench trick? A shortcut? A faster way of doing something? A better method? A tool used for one purpose converted to another? A tool or technique that saves time, effort, thinking and work? Bench tricks are keys to understanding Process,…

Article
Organize Your Workspace

How you set up your shop, your working procedures and workspace can affect your safety, comfort, stress level and efficiency of making. If your shop is well planned you will be more efficient. The more efficient you are, the faster you work and…

Article
Knowing the Difference Between Carat and Karat

Carat, karat, caret, and carrot are all pronounced the same, but each has a different meaning. Carat and karat, of course, have very specific meanings in jewelry. Misusing either word can be an embarrassing, if not an expensive, mistake. Spelling…

Article
Important Principles of Casting Safety

Here’s something to aim for: a well laid-out, orderly workshop, well-lit by multiple non glare light sources, well-maintained equipment, electrically and fire safe, with low dust and few procedures involving solvents, with excellent…

Article
Flexible Shaft Tricks

A good selection of burs may be had from your dentist. Dentists often throw out burrs which still have a reasonable life left in them for a jeweller. The same goes for the probes and other tools. Some dentists are nervous about giving tools away.…

Article
Basic Principles for Tools and Equipment

Saving some dollars on equipment can be really helpful to a shop’s bottom line. Often tools and equipment from other industries prove useful, and are sometimes cheaper than regular tool suppliers. I think this behavior used to be called ‘scrounging’.…

Article
Cardboard Disc Sander Tool

A cardboard disc sander is a very useful tool. One uses the side or large flap of a fairly rigid corrugated cardboard box. Make sure it has not been bent or creased to damage its rigidity. Make sure one side is smooth.

Article
Soldering Hints and Tricks

Medical hemostats and forceps make good clips for wire solder. Soldering clips for soldering work may be made from cotter pins, coat hanger wire, piano wire, steel strapping or old clock springs. These may be used to hold parts together.

Article
How to Make Earring Posts by Hand

Yes you can make your own earring posts. It is generally more cost effective to buy them, but making them is not a problem and there are times that it is useful to know how.

Article
All About Jump Rings

Jump rings may be made most easily by using a small hand drill with various sizes of mandrel. Take a broken burr, old needle file handles or a piece of drill rod and make a slit near the end. (I would use a separating disc to do this). Or one may drill…

Article
Making Your Own Tubing

Not all sizes and wall thicknesses of tube come seamless from a factory or refiner. Especially when working in gold it is not cost effective or timely to order in a specific tube size, material, or wall thickness. There are many times when you…

Article
How to Step-Roll Wire

One requires a taper on the end of the wire to grip it with when placed through a drawplate for drawing. One may obtain this taper in several ways.

Article
Basic Bead Setting Techniques

First the stone’s diameter is measured at the pavillion and a dent is made in the metal for the pilot drill (about 1mm diameter). Then the metal is drilled through. The metal is drilled again until the hole is about 3/4 the size of the stone’s diameter.…

Article
Gemstone Care Tips

Many gemstone owners enjoy wearing their treasures. Few things can ruin that enjoyment faster than the discovery of damage such as scratches, chips, or discoloration. Unfortunately, some damage is permanent. The good news is that proper…

Article
Jewelry and Metals Bibliography

A selected bibliography list for the jeweler – Metal working, Casting, Plating, Enamelling ,Gem Cutting, Setting, Engraving and Etching, Other Techniques, Jewelry Repairs and A Selected Bibliography for Materials Science for Goldsmiths…

Article
North American Sources for Equipment, Materials, etc.

This page offers a list of some useful North American Sources for Equipment, Materials, information, etc that would be very helpful for your reference. Bonny Doon Enterprises, 250 Tassett Court, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060, 1-800-995-9962:…

Article
Tips on Working with 35mm Slides

A note on slide developing: you want your slides to be developed for the best quality possi¬ble. If you want to impress your local photo shop, you go in and you ask “do you do dip and dunk E-6 photo processing?” Dip and dunk means…

Article
Basic Setup for Jewelry Photography

A vertical copy stand is sometimes used for shooting prints, drawings, jewelry and other fairly flat objects. A copy stand is designed so that one has vertical movement of the camera while it faces down. There are usually fixed lights at 45 degree…

Article
Rules for Tools

While it is clearly impossible to give a set of rules for each tool and procedure that goldsmiths use, this section gives some examples of the kinds of rules that may be helpful to review when using powered equipment. hand tools and processes…

Article
Grinding Wheel Safety Rules

Besides the safety instructions that you get from a tool manufacturer in the tool manual it may be necessary for you to write your own sets of rules up to keep you out of trouble. This is especially important with employees. What follows is an example…

Article
Gas Handling Guidelines

Jewelers work with compressed gases of all kinds, in torch systems, kilns, casting machines, abrasive blasters, laser welding machines needing argon and more. Many of these gases are flammable and an explosion hazard, acetylene, propane…

Article
Jewelery Workshop Ventilation

Ventilation means removing noxious materials, dusts and fumes from where you can breathe them in. It is about taking away the chance for you to breathe in chemicals and particles that can damage your lungs. Ever seen people riding around with…

Article
Basic Safety Principles for Jewelers

Aim for: a well laid-out, orderly workshop, well-lit by multiple non glare light sources, well-maintained equipment, electrically and fire safe, with low dust and few procedures involving solvents, with excellent local ventilation at…

Article
Electroplating Safety Precautions

The “General Safety Rules for Tools” article applies here too, as with all power tools. Read the instruction manuals and directions most carefully. Plating and stripping solutions usually contain cyanides, bases or acids which, if mixed…

Article
Dermatitis and the Jeweler

Dermatitis is a group of skin conditions that may often be contracted by exposure to chemicals and metals. These may include scaling, splitting, eczema and so on. Dermatitis is a real hazard for jewelers. Metal workers suffer high rates of…

Article
Basic Fire Safety for Jewelers

Have a fire plan; ask your fire department for advice. Keep the appropriate extinguishers around and in good shape. Get ABC all-purpose extinguishers. Get the manufacturers manual and read all the instructions carefully at least three times.…

Article
Gloves and the Jeweler

Gloves are used to prevent skin contact with a hazard, whether physical (like a razor edge on a piece of metal), or chemical (such as an alkaline solution like you get when mixing casting investment). Use the correct type of gloves for the chemical…

Article
Jewellers’ Objective Attitude Towards Designing

It is sometimes useful to have criticism of one’s work in order to develop it. While studying as an apprentice or an art school student if one is lucky one learns the most from such criticism, preferably put in a positive manner. However when one…

Article
Dusts in the Jewelry Workshop

Dust is small particles of a material. There are dusts you can see in the air; these can be breathed in, and because the particles are fairly large, they end up in the upper portions of the lungs. Some can be cleared from the body by its natural mucus…

Article
Noise and its Effects

Noise is so common that we don’t tend to think of it in terms of exposure in the same way that we would, for example, with a chemical such as benzene. Yet the treatment of hearing damage is considered to be one of the growth industries as we.

Article
Channel Setting – Set ‘Em Straight

Over the past decade, channel setting has grown in popularity. Setting small diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and even emeralds into channels has become commonplace in most shops. Hardly a week goes by without some form of repair being preformed…

Article
Radial Bristle Discs Excites Jewelers

how one of 3M’s radial bristle discs to a non-jeweler friend, and you are almost guaranteed to get a lukewarm response: ‘This is what you’re so excited about?’ But to the jewelers who have eagerly adopted them, these simple circular brushes…

Article
Structuring for Efficiency in the Studio

Being more organized, and planning how you use your time will mean that you will spend less time on some jobs and you will therefore have this time available. I tell my students that they need to plan their time and work fast, smoothly and efficiently…

Article
Diamond Setting Applications

What is one of the causes of a “rippling or jagged” effect around an inside cutting edge in a Gypsy or Flush setting? How can this be avoided? When an edge of a cutting tool (of any shape) glances over or hits a facet it will ride above that face. In…

Article
V Prong Setting

Several shapes of stones have pointed ends, including marquise, pear, heart, and princess. Because these points are often thin and fragile, it is important to protect them with a prong. This is particularly important on rings where the stone…

Article
Diamond Setting Hints

When setting a series of diamonds in a row, I use a 156C and just touch the inside wall of the hole. This way each and every diamond will sit at the same level and be correctly placed.

Article
Repairing Broken Chains

The difficulty of chain repair lies in the fact that the chain is made up of fine wires. These wires heat up quickly when trying to melt the solder. Two problems develop. The first is if the wire link gets too hot, it will quickly melt as you are trying…

Article
Reconditioning Beading Tools & Dot Punches

Beading tools and dot punches lose their form and become dull as you use them. You can recondition a tool at least ten or twelve times, or you may need a special size, or perfect polish for a particular job. They can be reconditioned fairly easily.…

Article
Fabricating a Crown to Fit a Stone

Often jewelers are called upon to hand fabricate a crown to fit a stone. This is necessary when either the stone is a non-standard shape, or the crown needs to fit a particular design. Although one will seldom hand fabricate a simple round basket…

Article
Fit to be Sized

Before sizing any ring, examine it carefully and compare it to the information on the job envelope. If you see any damage or potential problems that are not marked clearly on the envelope, inform the store manager or sales clerk who took in the…

Article
Separating Work and Home

Often craftspeople start out making craft objects in their living space, a kitchen, a living room, and sometimes continue working in them even when they have grown to the point that they need a separate studio. It is not wise to share one’s living…

Article
How Jewelers Approach Work Materials

This diagram shows how jewelers approach working in the field in terms of how they relate to the material. The approaches chosen will ‘filter’ the results available, that is that what kind of work you do is partly a reflection of the way you approach…

Article
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, other RSIs and the Jeweler

Carpal tunnel syndrome is only one of many kinds of repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) and cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs). RSI, CTD and ‘overuse syndrome’ are reasonably interchangeable in meaning. Carpal tunnel syndrome is, however,…

Article
Safety Issues and Litigation

After writing my recent safety book something unexpected happened. I had a number of calls from lawyers about safety issues. These guys were suing jewelry store owners in different places in the US. The litigation was on behalf of the store’s…

Article
Studio Lighting Considerations

How you light your shop, illuminate your working area, experience the reflection from surfaces and the paint you choose for the walls all have an effect on your ability to work in your studio. Poor lighting can strain the eyes, contribute to…

Article
Platinum Bench Tricks

This project is dedicated to bench tricks that make working with platinum-or working at the bench in general-easier. This is the first installment of a periodic Platinum Bench series.

Article
Tweezers Tips and Tricks

Tweezers are a constant in a jeweler’s life, particularly in these safety conscious times. Tweezer use can help reduce your contact with nasty dermatitis causing chemicals. For example, when used for handling objects in solutions such as…

Article
Suggested Gem Setting Tools

This article lists the basic tools someone learning stonesetting might want to have around. One would of course add to this list..

Article
Organize Your Bench

The next time you sit down at your bench, don’t think of it as just a bench. Think of it as the cockpit of a plane. That’s right, a plane. Sure, there are differences: Instead of dials, switches, and throttles, you have files, saws, and burnishers.…

Article
Bead Stone Setting – Bead It!

Bench Jewelers often use different methods to accomplish the same work. I believe the end results are what is important, not the method used to get there. In jewelry work the ends often justifies the means. This is not more evident than in bead…

Article
Platinum Finishing/Polishing Process

Opinions differ considerably when discussing the ease or difficulty of polishing platinum, but most agree that when a piece is well polished it tends to stay that way. Herein I will be covering the main points regarding platinum finishing,…

Article
New Gem Identification Techniques

This is an exciting era for gemologists. High-tech analytical techniques now make it possible to identify trace elements, treatments, and origins of colored stones that could only be guessed at decades ago. For example, when the gem world…

Article
Platinum Durability vs Scratching

There is a major difference between durability and scratch resistance. Platinum is very durable. When scratched, the scratch actually displaces the metal, leaving ridges on the edges of the scratch. This is where durability comes in. Whereas…

Article
Tips on How to Master Soldering

Soldering is probably the most commonly used and least understood operation performed in the jewelry industry. Most jewelers know how to solder a joint closed, as well as join parts together, but if asked what is happening in the process, few…

Article
Platinum Fabricating & Stamping

This paper is aimed mainly at the small- to medium-sized jewelry manufacturing operations interested in working with platinum group metals. Preparing the melt, the melting process, forging, rolling and finally some manufacturing techniques…

Article
Gemstone Exploration Techniques

The most widely-used gemstone exploration techniques today are ground-penetrating radar, known as GPR; trace-element analysis, which involves seeking signature elements as clues to where gems may lie; and use of a device called a ‘terra…

Article
Tips for Creating Jump Rings

Jewelers use jump rings extensively as chain components, connectors, and linking devices for multiple construction problems. Here are a few tips and methods for creating jump rings.

Article
Evenly Heating Pieces for Soldering

One of the most difficult aspects of soldering is to heat the piece properly so that the solder will flow. For jobs involving small items, such as soldering the seam on a jump ring, this entails concentrated heating in a localized area, Most times,…

Article
Avoiding Melting Soldered Seams

Soldering is a delicate and sometimes difficult process especially when you need to solder very close to a previous solder seam. Without extra care, you can easily melt that prior seam and dislodge the parts. One solution is to drop down a temperature…

Article
Color Coding Solder Chips

Let’s face it, not every snippet of solder winds up in your work. Some pieces fly away during clipping, while others jump on the floor or fall into your catch pan, never to be found again. You might even accidentally spill one tray of solder snippets…

Article
Methods of Closing Jump Rings

In high volume production operations, many jump rings need to be closed one after another. For such fast paced operations, pliers simply won’t do. Factory workers need efficient tools for closing jump rings. One such tool consists of a ring…

Article
Cutting Jump Rings

Once you’ve wound jump rings around a mandrel, what’s the best way to cut them apart? Some craftspeople use hand-held side cutters, but there is one problem with this method – it cuts only one side of the wire flush. Therefore, you have to cut the…

Article
Choosing the Right White Gold

The popularity of white gold has us all looking to the most perplexing gold we use. Perplexing a variety of ways. Why would we want to ‘colorize’ gold at all? Design creativity of course, but the color purists (you know who you are) have their say…

Article
Working with Topaz

The primary issue with topaz that must be remembered at the bench is its one perfect cleavage direction. Hammering or putting pressure on a topaz runs the risk of cleaving the stone into pieces. Routine stone tightening on a prong set topaz can…

Article
Working with Pearls

Both natural and cultured pearls are formed when an irritant lodges in a mollusk. The mollusk then deposits layers of nacre, covering the irritant and producing a pearl. In a natural pearl, the irritant may be organic or inorganic matter. In…

Article
Jewelers’ Stories About Working with Findings

When a commercial finding isn’t quite right but making the component by hand seems like reinventing the wheel, creative modification comes into play. That’s what designer Jayne Redman of Cumberland, Maine, encountered when searching for…

Article
Tips for Repairing Pearl Jewelry

When taking in a piece of pearl jewelry for repair, it may be necessary to remove the pearl to avoid damaging it. Since most pearls are held in place with glue, you can remove them by gently warming the jewelry piece. You want the part near the pearl…

Article
Firescale Prevention During Vacuum Casting

Firescale has been the scourge of sterling silver casters since the first silver was poured into a mold. It has been a thorn in the side of silver fabricators. Fortunately there are ways to prevent fire scale while silver soldering. This paper…

Article
Soft Hammers and Shaping Tools

Jewelers spend hours fixing damage that they themselves did to the metal. Soft hammers and shaping tools limit the injuries to the metal being worked, with the best quality of all (the least damage to metal while still shaping it) being paper…

Article
Project Management for Jewelers

I came up with this system to solve some production and prioritizing problems at a small custom jewelry store. We used this system mainly for custom jobs, however it can be adapted for repair or stock production as well.

Article
The Art of Self Promotion

The art of self-promotion is less about celebrity than it is about perseverance. Breaking into print doesn’t take a magic touch or fabulous connections in the publishing world. It does take attractive work, some basic materials such as photos…

Article
Practical Wax Modeling Techniques

To begin with I highly recommend this book of technical information and procedures for anyone wanting to learn wax modelling techniques (as always given patience and practice in carrying out the exercises). There is very little available…

Article
Box Clasp Fabrication

One of the most important types of closures used in jewelry is the box clasp. This clasp and its many variations are usually built into jewelry such as bracelets, necklaces, and chains. However, as an exercise, this project demonstrates the…

Article
Trade Show Marketing Tip

At most trade shows, you could stock up on enough pens, notepads, tote bags, and keychains to start a thriving second business as a flea-market dealer. The problem with such giveaways isn’t that they aren’t useful; it’s that there are so many…

Article
Gemstone Chemical Coloration Techniques

The most important detail in the preparation of gemstone for chemical coloration is that it be clean. Oil and grease, especially, must be entirely removed. I have found it practical to keep a bucket of detergent solution (ordinarily laundry…

Article
The Costs of Learning Hand Engraving

When you’ve made the decision to learn hand engraving, you have basically 3 options: Spend little or no money but lots and lots of time. You can get by spending very little on one book (Meeks) and the most basic hand tools. Hammer ‘ chisel or hand…

Article
Art vs Craft

The Art versus Craft issue is a complex question and one that has bedeviled creators a great deal in the last fifty years or so. I once heard a gallery owner say that the difference between an art object and a craft object is $3000. The American Craft…

Article
Build an Advanced Jeweler’s Bench

This sophisticated bench costs a little more and is a bit more difficult to make than the one on the preceding page, but the extra effort will be repaid by years of efficient work. Use this pattern as a starting point, but feel free to make changes…

Article
Build a Basic Jeweler’s Bench

This bench has been designed so it can be made from easily available materials without sophisticated woodworking equipment. People with woodworking skills might use these ideas as a point of departure.

Article
Safety Notes for Jewelers on Pitch, Chasing and Repousse

An ancient system of working metals, this procedure uses steel punches to manipulate the metal while it is fixed onto a pitch or tar-like material. There are traditional pine-resin pitches and modern petroleum-based ones. The petroleum-based…

Article
The TAO of Bur Goodtip

Bur Goodtip, a legendary bench jeweler shows how sometimes a tool is not just a tool… We are taking a break on the back porch of his home and studio. I have spent the last five days up here with Bur, one of the great-but-largely-unknown repositories…

Article
Goldsmithing Health Hazards

This article briefly reviews issues of studio safety and discusses ways of recognizing risks in the studio and reducing hazard by substitution of materials or processes. Hygiene: In the Workshop and Personal Hygiene, Safety with Equipment…

Article
Potentially Harmful Metalsmithing Substances

In every aspect of my daily life I am, and have been for quite some time, concerned with promoting and maintaining my health. This concern naturally carries over into my working environment. The following article lists potentially harmful…

Article
Patination Safety Considerations

Jewelers use so-called -oxidising- solutions to darken metals like silver, copper, brass, nickel silver, bronze and, with specialized mixtures, on gold. Metalsmiths patinate both large and small objects, as well as jewelry. We usually…

Article
Slicing Wax Slabs

A drill press (either a full size, miniature, or Foredom) with an end mill or cylinder bur can thin down wax slabs quickly and accurately. Position the bottom of the cylinder bur or end mill slightly higher than the desired thickness of the finished…

Article
2 Tips for a Successful Jewelry Collection

In times of increased price competition and global producers, cooperation with designers is also an important factor for large jewelry companies in order to develop new collections in a rapid and targeted manner. Increasing numbers of companies…

Article
Lapidary Work Safety Precautions

Goldsmiths sometimes do a little rough and ready lapidary work with emery and leather sticks or even polishing compounds on a hard buff. Some goldsmiths, however, are lapidaries as well as jewelers. Lapidary work involves the grinding of…

Article
Platinum Jewelry Advanced Joining Techniques

Joining is a very important production technique in the field of jewelry production. Therefore it is useful to know, what kinds of different joining techniques are possible. This paper will give you a rough overlook on joining techniques…

Article
Hydraulic Press Safety Precautions

Goldsmiths began to use hydraulic presses in small shops in the 1940s in North America. Factories have used hydraulic presses for making blanking out parts and forming pieces for some time, and presses in the 150 to 200 ton range are not unusual…

Article
New Efficient Bench Applications

Pre-finishing, finishing, polishing and re-finishing have all been tasks usually done with a flexible shaft at the bench and/or a motor away from the bench. This article features methods and procedures used for a variety of these projects…

Article
Making a Multi-Grit Sanding Stick

BW Simon in Spartanburg, South Carolina, made this handy tool for finishing jewelry. I would like to thank him for allowing me to share this bench trick with you.

Article
Perfect Finishing Tools and Techniques

Our castings can be flawless, our assembly precise, and our settings secure — but let any surface go a bit rough, a little uneven and wobbly, and the jewelry is judged to be inferior. Ironically, even the ultimate finish begins to deteriorate…

Article
Palladium Q&As

Its no secret that palladium has captured the attention of the industry. In 2005, purchase of palladium for jewelry use worldwide shot up by 54 percent, according to Johnson Mattheys Platinum 2006, and this past year has seen a proliferation…

Article
Using Coils To Bend Tubing

Many tools sold in model/hobby stores can be used for jewelry making. During a recent visit to a hobby shop, I found these tube bending coils, which model makers use to build models that require bent tubing. Jewelry makers will find these coils…

Article
Drilling Tips and Techniques

We all drill, all the time. We take drills and what they do for granted, but reviewing the obvious doesnt hurt — and there may be a nugget of new information that is brought to light.

Article
How to Refuse Big Orders

Refusing a big order may sound like a business mistake, but sometimes saying no pays. Sales do not equal profit, It is incredibly easy to not make any money. Breaking a deal down into its crucial components, whether its the sales price or conditions…

Article
3 Ways to Use 2-Part Epoxy Resins

Available in a wide variety of formulas, epoxy resins are used in jewelry making as adhesives, as coatings, and for casting. This reference article outlines the safety requirements for mixing and working with epoxy resins and introduces…

Article
Practical Approach to CAD/CAM

Once more the realm of engineers and number-crunchers, CAD over the years has become more user-friendly and artisan-intuitive. Similarly, small-shop, multi-axis CAM systems allow more jewelers to experience the technologys potential…

Article
Handling Stakes and Anvils

Shaping a bezel on stakes is a process of forming the metal by stretching. First the metal is bent with pliers to fit the gem, forming a shape smaller than the stone while following its contour. The gauge of the sheet metal chosen is slightly thicker…

Article
950 Palladium Bench Guide

The palladium bench guide reviews the working characteristics of palladium for the jewelry bench staff and provides an overview of the unique advantages and benefits of palladium jewelry for managers, sales professionals and consumers.…

Article
Pickling Notes

Jewelers treat soldered objects with dilute acid solutions to remove oxides produced from heating and soldering as well as glassy flux residues. This process is called pickling. I believe the term comes from the chemical jewelers once used…

Article
Jeweler’s Workday: Sitting and Looking at the Bench

In the Jewelers Bench Book, the MJSA/Ganoksin project published in spring 2008, there is an extensive look at what happens in the working space, where you sit and move as a goldsmith. Two of the areas addressed including sitting and looking…

Article
Tricks for Hollow Rings with Miniature Stakes

Make the inner band the desired size first. 18 or 20 gauge is about right. Next make the bezel or inlay unit if it is an integral part of the design. Cut a paper template of the desired ring shape from stiff paper that fits over the inner band. The top…

Article
Millimeter Gauge Layout Technique

Meticulous planning and tedious layout are a big part of a goldsmiths life at the bench. It usually pays dividends to thoughtfully plan gemstone layout for graver setting. If youre off by just 0.1 mm in one direction or another, you can sometimes…

Article
Knife Making Techniques for Jewelry Design

My dad was in the Navy during World War II and was among the personnel who entered Japan shortly after the war was over. The Katana he obtained in Japan, which hung on the wall of my childhood home, now often decorates the wall of the custom jewelry…

Article
Comparing Buff Prep Methods

Myth: Singeing buffs to prep them is faster and more effective than raking them.
There are as many people in favor of raking as a buff preparation method as those who prefer singeing. So armed with two brand new, six-inch stitched muslin…

Article
Beading Tool Tips

Like most bench jewelers I do a lot of bead setting and like most
bench jewelers I take pride in my work. When I bead set I want crisp
and clean beads. Recently, I was setting one pointers into white
gold skirts that would become…

Article
Organize Bench Workflow with Trays

There are numerous mass production processes that bench jewelers can adapt and use to streamline their studio jewelry work. One of the organizational approaches used in factories is keeping parts in velvet-lined trays and moving them from…

Article
Magnesia Blocks Myth Debunked

Myth: Magnesia blocks are superior soldering surfaces to charcoal blocks: A topic that seems to raise a fair amount of spirited discussion and strong opinions is what is the best soldering surface: firebrick, charcoal, magnesia, solderite…

Article
Textile Techniques in Jewelry Making

Fabrics and precious metals would seem to be total opposites, like hot and cold or yin and yang. However, despite their obvious differences in hardness, they do possess similar properties-specifically, both are pliable and elastic, and…

Article
6 Basic Wire Skills to Make a Necklace

The links in this 16-in. (40.6cm) necklace are forged so they become flat and work-hardened. The pearl in the featured necklace is held in place merely by the tension between the wire loops in the pendant. Four styles of links define the spare…

Article
Vector Tightening to Secure Gemstones

Gemstones that become loose in their settings can cause damage to both the gem and the setting. A regular inspection of jewelry can catch this problem in its early stages, before too much damage is done. Vector tightening prong-set stones is…

Article
Creating a Rotary Burnisher

Jewelers have been going green for many years by recycling old or worn-out tools into something new and useful. Setting burrs, normally used to cut seats in prongs, can’t be used once they become worn or damaged. But instead of throwing them…

Article
Goldsmith Jewelry Finishing Trick

Every bench jeweler has experienced the frustration of trying to sand and polish a nearly inaccessible area on a piece of jewelry. The goldsmith who can detail these small corners and crevices can bring his or her work up to the level of fine jewelry.…

Article
Creating a Whip Burnisher

A worn-out bristle brush can easily be recycled into a useful tool called a whip burnisher or rotary hammer to improve or even eliminate minor imperfections and surface porosity in castings and other metal surfaces.

Article
How to Make Equally Sized Beads

In this project, I will demonstrate a clever method of making equally sized beads. These beads can be used for granulation or decoration, or they can be soldered inside rings to keep the rings from turning while worn.

Article
Inside Ring Polishing

Trying to get a really high polish on the inside of a ring can be frustrating. Because inside ring buffs have such a small diameter and the surface speed is quite low, it takes a long time to get much done. In addition, the heat from the extended use…

Article
Using Acid Bath on Used Tools

Bench jewelers hate to throw out used tools. By training and by nature we try to conserve the materials we use. An unfortunate side effect is that old burs and dull files tend to collect on our benches. All is not lost, however. There is life in those…

Article
Sneaky Goldsmith Tricks

The best ‘Sneaky Goldsmith Tricks’ involve taking mundane, everyday items and repurposing them as goldsmith’s tools. Two classic tricks that are valuable to detail-finish hard-to-reach spots involve a wooden toothpick and cotton packaging…

Article
Hammering and Forging Safety Guidelines

Goldsmiths and silversmiths use hammers frequently in their work, silversmiths especially. A regular trade goldsmith might use a bench hammer with a ring on a mandrel twenty or more times a day. Blacksmithing operations use coal fires, gas…

Article
Methods to Effectively Bend Tubing

Jewelers need to bend tubing for various constructions, including neckpieces, earrings, catches, and cuff links. Normally, precious metal tubes are quite thin (between 0.3 and 0.5 mm) because of material cost. At these thicknesses, tubes…

Article
Oval and Marquis Gemstone Layout Method

Accurately laying out an oval or marquis stone in wax can be tricky business. We learned this foolproof method for getting a perfect layout every time after years of difficulty.

Article
Modified Split Mandrel for Finishing Round Bezels

A bench jeweler typically uses a split mandrel to sand and finish the inside of a ring. Various grits of abrasive papers can be cut to size and inserted into the slit of the mandrel, where they are held by friction during the rotary filing process.…

Article
The Art of Anticlastic Raising

Transforming a single sheet of metal into an undulating organic form using only a hammer and stake is the art of anticlastic raising. When the hammer hits the piece of sheet metal resting on the stake, the metal rises into curves or coils, its…

Article
Basic Spiral Braiding
[Step by Step] This five-strand spiral braid is made using one of the many textile techniques that Professor Arline Fisch demonstrated at the “Textile Techniques in Metals” workshop at the Bead’Button Show in June 2006. The simplicity of…

Article
Ring Sizing Tips and Tricks

Ask a seasoned bench jeweler how many rings he or she has sized and they’ll probably give you a figure in the quadruple digits. The following is a compilation of tips and tricks to help you perform this mundane task better and faster.

Article
Giving New Life to Old Burs

By Old burs can serve a number of useful purposes in daily bench work. Here are two tips from jewelers at Chris Ploof Studio in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, for giving new life to old burs.

Article
Tip for Improving Casting Quality

Every caster has seen his or her fair share of investment inclusions. You’ll be polishing a casting when suddenly a whole will pop up with a bit of investment inside. You then have to dig out the investment and fill in the hole with wire, using a…

Article
Touchstone Method for Testing Karat Gold Purity

There are a few scientific methods for precisely determining karat gold purity, some destructive (fire assay) and others nondestructive (X-ray florescence). Both methods require costly equipment, special procedures and a well-lit and…

Article
Creative Uses for Duct Tape at the Bench

Ask any bench jeweler the best way to secure a band-aid to his or her cut finger during a day of working at the bench, and duct tape is bound to enter into the equation. Most jewelers have used duct tape to bind cuts and secure various pieces of equipment…

Article
Debunking Three Myths About Sawing

In thinking about the daily tasks that I undertake at the bench, I realized how easy it is to fall back on old habits, and to make assumptions and generalizations, particularly about the accuracy of things that I was taught early on in my career.…

Article
Enameling Techniques for Beginners

After you learn to apply enamels by sifting, wet packing, brushing on crackle and firing the base coats, you are ready for some of the simple techniques that require only a feel for color. You can design a piece by repeating one technique or learning…

Article
How to Make Sharp Corner Cuts

Sawing is an essential skill for a bench jeweler. This article will show you a technique that will increase your sawing speed and accuracy when you need to make sharp corner cuts and reduce your likelihood of breaking delicate saw blades. …

Article
Overcoming Tool Limitations

True tales of how jewelers overcame out-of-the-box limitations – Most people who work with their hands become tool mad, and jewelers are no exception. They scoop up new tools, shop garage sales for used ones — and then often alter what they…

Article
Proper Studio Light

Do not get caught in the dark – make certain your shop is well lit. In the jewelry shop, two types of lighting are used. 1. Ambient or General Lighting. 2. Task Lighting. It is best to have a combination of the two in your shop. It is best to have a combination…

Article
How to Make Hoop Earrings

Tom Dougherty of Studio 2015 in Woodstock, Illinois, had an interesting process to share about making hoop earrings from tubing. He learned the process from Kenneth Guth, a neighboring goldsmith and acclaimed knife maker. By all accounts,…

Article
How to Sharpen Drill Bits

Small, fine drill bits used for jewelry making will become dull with normal use. Worn cutting edges make tasks more difficult and time-consuming and can cause costly accidents, including damage to jewelry and gemstones or even injury. Maintaining…

Article
Spiral Cut Technique for Rubber Molds

n this installment we present a mold cutting technique called a spiral cut, which is designed to facilitate the successful release of a cage-like wax model from a mold.

Article
Quality Assurance Benchmarks for Jewelers

Fine jewelry represents much more than its trade value in diamonds, gemstones and precious metals. It is a personal representation of the owner’s lifestyle, status, emotion, recognition, commitment and more. That significance only amplifies…

Article
How to Make a Riffle File

Every now and then when you are fabricating a piece or polishing a casting, a hole or hollow will pop up that needs to be filed and smoothed. You can usually get at it using a bur and abrasive tools in your flex-shaft. But when you just can’t reach…

Article
Bench Jewelers Can Take Sniper Lessons

As the target comes into focus and the operator aligns the crosshairs, elements of the world slowly cease to exist until the only things left are the target and the operator’s breath. As the rhythm of her respiration cycles — breathe in, breathe…

Article
Ergonomics for Bench Pin Modifications

Ergonomics is the safe and effective relationship between a worker and the work environment. For the bench jeweler who spends hours working with a bench pin, it is important to make it work efficiently and effectively for you. There are many…

Article
How to Modify Prong Pushers

Many stone setters would agree that one of the most challenging aspects of prong setting is getting the prongs down tight on the stone. It’s easy to take this process for granted. If it’s done well, you might never notice. But doing it poorly can…

Article
Graver Detailing and Sharpening

A sharp graver can improve cutting performance at the bench. There are several approaches to use when detailing a graver, including the following.

Article
What to Know About Heavy Metal Testing

Before you submit any jewelry item to a lab to test for heavy metals, you’re going to need to do a little homework. Current state and federal laws regulating lead and cadmium levels in jewelry have mounted hurdles that jewelry makers must clear…

Article
How to Modify Wooden Ring Clamps

One persistent daily challenge a bench jeweler faces is trying to figure out the best way to hold onto tiny, delicate objects while performing mechanical operations such as sawing, filing or burring bearings for stone setting.
There…

Article
How to Use the Conduction Soldering Technique

The soldering process, used extensively in all aspects of jewelry manufacturing and repair, joins two or more pieces of metal together and when done properly, will result in a virtually undetectable seam. A better understanding of the soldering…

Article
How to Handle the Flexshaft

In the course of my 30 years in the jewelry industry, I can recall many instances of damaged equipment and potentially dangerous situations caused by how the handpiece is connected to the flexshaft. Here are a few observations that can make…

Article
Perfectly Fit Bezel

Joints that fit well make soldering a snap. The next time you need to solder or fuse a bezel, try using a separating disc, which has even abrasive sides, to slice through the bezel stock first. This quick procedure minimizes gaps and ensures a…

Article
Design Layout Tip

Designing stock pieces for my jewelry store has never been more fun than it is now that I have a laser welder in my shop. When I was learning to use the laser, one of the trainers gave me a fun tip for assembling my designs that I love to share with other…

Article
Transform Nails To Riveting Tools

Soldering is a quick and easy method for joining metals. But sometimes two metals require a connection for which soldering is not an option. Rivets or cold connections are the perfect answer and can add a striking detail to your construction.…

Article
Bench Tools Maintenance Schedule

Take a look around you. Chances are there is a flex-shaft or a dust collector you’ve neglected because you’ve been too busy making jewelry. As you put your heart and soul into your work, don’t forget to take a little time to give some TLC to your…

Article
Palladium Annealing and Soldering

If you’re just starting to work with palladium or interested in taking the leap, you should know a few critical details about its working characteristics. Palladium isn’t difficult to work with; it’s just different. Combining some gold habits…

Article
Royal Flush Stone Setting

A sign on the side of a plumbers truck read, In our business a Flush is better than a Full-House. Thankfully this is not the type of flush this article is about. Instead, this article is about a style of setting small stones that has become very popular…

Article
Basic Sawing Techniques

In this article, we will continue our Back to Basics Series with an article on Sawing techniques.

Article
Homemade Flex-Shaft Guard

Homemade flex-shaft guard using a soft drink plastic bottle, a solution to the annoying and potentially hazardous problem of breathing dust from polishing and rubber wheels used with your flex-shaft.

Article
Basic Filing Techniques

Over the years, bad habits creep into our work procedures. Periodical review of our techniques is needed to assure us that these “bad habits” are not allowed to continue to effect the quality of our work. In this article, we will continue our…

Article
Jewelry Making Tricks

Check out this list of 19 jewelry making tips and tricks for preparation, cleaning, setting, how-to’s and more.

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