Choosing a Lake or Riverstone
by Judy Larson
Lake and river shores are a great place to collect rocks to use in jewelry. Currents and waves continually tumble stones creating a smooth, matte finish. Many are beautiful while still wet but lose their appeal when dry. A rock tumbler and medium can be used to further smooth and polish the surface of the stones.

Be aware that you are not allowed to remove items from State and National Parks and Monuments and land. Unless you have permission, you should also not remove stones from private land.
Instructions
When searching for stones, remember that they need to be thin enough to be held in place when bezel wire is pushed in around them, so they should be relatively flat. If you find one that is too thick but you love and can't pass up, the back may be able to be ground down a bit. If you do this, you MUST wear a respirator and eye protection. Wash and rinse your collected treasures and let them air dry.
Judy Larson's Choosing a Lake or Riverstone - , General Education, Design, , choosing a pebble or stone for jewelry
It is helpful to think of a stone in terms used to describe a cut gemstone. The bezel wire must be wide enough to cover the girdle-the dotted line on the stones. It should also be wide enough to cover a bit of the crown-the crown and table on a rock round into each other. The arrows on the rocks show how high the bezel wire must be to capture the stone. In most cases, the height of the girdle around the rock will not be the same. Many times this will not be a problem, as in the first rock. If one end of the rock is too thin, it can be raised in the bezel with a small shim of metal soldered to the backplate.
Judy Larson's Choosing a Lake or Riverstone - , General Education, Design, , choosing a pebble or stone for jewelry
Judy Larson's Choosing a Lake or Riverstone - , General Education, Design, , choosing a pebble or stone for jewelry
The girdle on both ends of this rock are the same height. Viewing from another angle, the girdles on each side of the rock are much higher than the girdle on either end. The bezel wire needs to be wider to accommodate the side girdle height, the higher of the two.

This stone will rock when pushing the bezel wire in, so e6000 can be your friend. In most cases, glue is not used when bezel setting cabochons, but stones are another matter. Leveling stones is not new. Stones, nuggets and thin cabochons in early turquoise jewelry were set with cushions of sawdust, and sometimes cardboard shims, under them. E6000 does not mold, cushions the stone, and fills the gaps around the stone as well as holding it in place. After the glue is set, pushing the bezel in is easy because the stone does not move.
Judy Larson's Choosing a Lake or Riverstone - , General Education, Design, , choosing a pebble or stone for jewelry
Judy Larson's Choosing a Lake or Riverstone - , General Education, Design, , choosing a pebble or stone for jewelry
Design around the chosen stone
Make several copies of your design. Do the following to give you a better idea of what different metal options may look like on the final piece.: Leave one design plain. Color the other one in as if using mixed metals. I like using good quality water color pencils as they are a bit softer than regular colored pencils so they impart deeper color more easily.

Make the bezel for the stone before designing. After drawing around the bezel on paper and sketching in things like twisted wire around the bezel, the size and shape of the backplate for the stone is easier to determine.
Judy Larson's Choosing a Lake or Riverstone - Design around the chosen stone, General Education, Design, , choosing a pebble or stone for jewelry
Judy Larson's Choosing a Lake or Riverstone - Design around the chosen stone, General Education, Design, , choosing a pebble or stone for jewelry

Materials

28 Gauge 3/16" Fine Silver Bezel Wire
H9-28BZL
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $10.88
  • Gold Club Price: $8.16
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26 Gauge Red Brass Bezel Wire - 10FT
H30-3B
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $13.20
  • Gold Club Price: $9.90
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24 Gauge Dead Soft Argentium Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H19-24SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1 Inch
  • Price: $41.83
  • Gold Club Price: $31.37
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Tools

WireJewelry - Essentials Jewelry Pliers Set with Case, Set of 5
G15-21
  • G15-21
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $124.95
  • Gold Club Price: $93.71
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  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): Design, General Education