Making the bezels!

A 'bezel' is the frame around my jewellery.  I do purchase some of my bezels - if the description says 'silver-plated alloy' that means that it's a bezel I've purchased.   But lately I've spent a lot of my time learning to make my own bezels.   So far I've been working in pigmented resin, and in resin with metals powders mixed into the (this is called cold-casting) - but I have started to work with what they call 'Metal Clay' - which is a very fine metal powder with some additives mixed in that you can manipulate like clay, but then fire in a kiln to get a fully metal piece.

All of the bezels I make follow the same basic pattern though:

  • Come up with a 3D model of the piece:   I use open-source 3D modelling tools to create the models - I primarily use Inkscape for building 2D shapes and curves, and I primarily use Blender to build the 3D models
  • 3D model of a pendant
    3D print the model and finish as needed: I use a 3D resin printer (a Sonic Mini 8K for those who are interested) to print the 'master' of the pendant design, a 3D printed rendition of a pendant bezel - ready to be molded
    Create a silicone mold of the model:   I create a silicon negative of the master by pouring a liquid silicone over it, which cures in a few hours. A silicone mold of the pendant bezel
    Fill the mold - either with resin and pigments, or metal clay.   With metal clay, it needs to dry for at least a day, and then the bezel is taken out of the mold and fired into a kiln to turn it into solid metal. a pendant mold filled with bronze metal clay