Bracelets and Cuffs

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Shaping Cuffs with Bezels

flower cuff 1  My Flower Cuff

Question

I’ve learned so much from you and others like you who take the time to share their skills.
One video tutorial I’ve searched and searched for is: how to bezel set stones on a cuff.
Not just one stone in the center of the cuff, but smaller stones, bezel set the length of a cuff  – around the curve of the wrist.
Are the bezels soldered while the cuff is flat, then gently shaped and, finally, the stones are set?  I am assuming that any shaping would distort the bezel shape and the stone would no longer fit.

Answer

When creating the type of cuff you have in mind, be sure you have enough room to maneuver and push the bezel over the stones. Putting the bezels very close together requires some tricky setting.  You could try making a prong/bezel setting.  Sort of 1/2 regular bezel with the top have sawn to create prongs. Or, you can solder wire to the sides of the bezel to create prongs. I just released a video with Craftsy on creating this type of setting.   The video is called:  Prong Settings from Start to Finish.
 Smaller settings will sit better on the cuff than large ones.  Large settings will probably not sit flat as the curvature of the cuff will leave some of it hanging in the air.  The important goal is to make sure that the back of the bezel or the walls of the bezel come in full contact with the material of the cuff.
As you’ll see, from my answer to a previous question, the bezel should be soldered on after forming.

Shaping Cuffs

Question

Can you give me any tips and guidance in shaping a bracelet (cuff)? What kind of mandrel to use, how to solder or add embellishment to it? Are there any standard sizes ?

Answer

There isn’t one standard size of cuff – use whatever size fits comfortably yet, meets your design vision.  Of course, there are common ranges of sizes but, widths can be varied.  Here’s a link to a small chart of bracelet sizes at Jewelry Making Journal.   Here is a link to a tutorial on making them.

As far as forming cuffs, you can form them over full tin cans, ax handles, bracelet mandrels – oval or round – anything that is the right size and shape and will support the work while you hammer.  I like to use oval shapes because the arm is actually more of an oval.  But, many also make them round.
Have you ever made a ring on a ring mandrel?  If so, it is the same process:  if the mandrel does not have parallel sides, you need to flip it over, every once in awhile to make sure that it’s the same size on both ends.
Items should be soldered on or riveted on after shaping – otherwise, they could be crushed and their presence will affect the forming of the cuff.  You can pattern, patina or etch before shaping though.
Please see my pages:  Ring, Bracelet and Bezel Mandrels and Mandrel Holders for more information.

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