Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire

by Judy Larson
Sometimes the idea on paper just does not seem to work when some of the parts are ready and set on the sketch. My idea to use small gold-filled charms and shape them around the silver bezel just seemed unfinished. A bit more gold in the form of a twisted "rope" around the necklace bezels was all that was needed for a more finished look. FYI: The gold-filled embellishments are charms and bead caps that have been shaped and embellished to use in the design.
Instructions
Sometimes I fit the twisted wire around a bezel before soldering the bezel and twisted wire frame in place on a backplate, especially if there will be several more layers of embellishments added to the finished design. However, because the stones used in the bezels here are not flat back cabochons, I was afraid I would distort the bottom edges of the bezels when fitting the wire around them. The EASIEST way to work with the bezel is to solder it in place on a backplate first, then add the twisted wire frame.
Read through the tutorial before starting the project. Follow all safety precautions for the space you are working in as well as all safety precautions pertaining to the tools and supplies you will be using to complete the project.

Make bezels for the stones being used. Solder them in place on the backplates. Since Argentium is used here, there is no need to pickle. If sterling silver is being used, the piece must be pickled, neutralized in baking soda water, rinsed again, and dried before continuing.
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , bezeled stone necklace
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , bezeled stone necklace
The size and length of wire used to make the twisted "rope" depends on the design, stone size, and the bezel size and height. Here, one long piece of 22 gauge round gold-filled wire, folded in half with the fold end inserted into the drill, was tightly twisted. If the two wires are not twisted together tightly enough, they will separate and come apart when cut in short lengths. However, it should not be twisted so tightly that it no longer looks like a rope.
Try upping your game: Measure the diameter of the twisted wires. Choose another plain round wire that is the same diameter and length. Anneal it. Twist the two wires together.
Pro Tip: It may be easier to do this if the ends of one wire are soldered to the other wire first.
Tip 1: There is a fine line between just enough and too much twist. When the twist becomes too tight, generally the twisted wires will no longer remain straight. Slight bends and bumps will appear. It is then time to quit twisting.

Tip 2: Twist varying wire gauge ropes to keep on hand to use in your projects. Store them in the same bag as the wire gauge used to make the rope so more of the same size can be made when it is needed.

Tip 3: Tightly twisted finer wire will look a bit more delicate while a thicker twisted wire gives a heftier appearance to a piece.
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , twisting wire
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , twisting wire
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , twisting wire
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , twisting wiire
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , keep twisted wire on hand
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , add twisted wire to a bezel
Twisting wire work hardens it. It must be annealed to make it easier to shape around smaller bezels. Argentium does not need to be fluxed, but all other metals can be fluxed to prevent fire scale. Personally, I flux anything gold-filled, whether it is alone or is on the top or the bottom of a piece being heated.
When the twisted wire ends will be covered with embellishments, it does not matter what they look like. Flush cut the ends and they will be fine, like the top twisted wire in the first photo. Examples of flush cut twisted wires in use are in the second photo. However, when the full circumference of the twisted wire around the bezel will show, it is important to disguise the cut ends. Cut the twisted wire ends at an angle, following a twist line - blue lines on the middle wire in the first photo. When the ends are overlapped, the cut will seem to disappear-blue arrow on the ring in the first photo. Examples of flush cut twisted wires in use are in the third photo.
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , twisted wire
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , twisted wire on bezels
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , twisted wire on bezels
Hard solder will not flow until after Argentium reaches its melting point. Since I use Argentium sheet and wire, the only time hard solder can be used is on a bezel seam. This must be kept in mind when connecting layers and pieces together in multiple steps. Here, the fine silver bezel has already been soldered in place on an Argentium backplate using medium paste solder. The piece is clean and ready to be worked with.

Loosely wrap the twisted wire around the bezel. Cut a piece a bit longer than needed. Shape the wire to fit the bezel using small or large Wrap "N" Tap pliers and flat nose soft jaw pliers. The cylinder sides of the Wrap "N" Tap pliers will help curve the wire while the padded side prevents the twisted wire from being compressed in any way. It is easiest to overlap the wire ends on the longest straight side -arrows in the first photo - or where they may be less noticeable - by the loops in the second photo.
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , adding twisted wire to bezels
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , setting a stone in a bezel
Place the twisted wire frame around the bezel. Use an ultra-fine point retractable Sharpie to mark the backplate where the twisted wire frame ends will overlap - first photo. Remove the twisted wire frame. Place dots of medium paste solder on the backplate around the outside of the bezel, with a bit extra at the overlap site. Note: Yes, medium paste solder has already been used to secure the bezel to the backplate. There will be no problems using it again to secure the frame in place.
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , adding twisted wire to a bezel
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , solder the wire to the bezel
Press the frame into place making sure to press the frame overlap into the extra solder. This will solder the ends together. Use a paper towel or Q-Tip to push the dots of paste solder under the twisted wire and into it. Use a toothpick to remove excess paste solder left on the backplate around the outside of the frame.
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , adding twisted wire to a bezel
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , solder twisted wire to a bezel
Place the assembly on a soldering surface. Use a torch head on a butane canister to heat the piece until the solder flows. Since solder follows heat and paste solder for silver is being used, be very careful to not pull the solder up over the gold-filled wire. Also remember, flux will help prevent fire scale.

Pickle the piece, then neutralize it in baking soda water and rinse it again. Dry the piece before continuing.

Check for any loose areas on the frame that may need to be soldered again. Repeat Step 9 if needed.

If embellishments are to be added, use easy paste solder. If the embellishments must be added in two steps, it is fine to use easy solder in both steps.
Judy Larson's Embellish Bezels with Twisted Wire - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, , embellished bezels

Materials

22 Gauge Round Dead Soft Argentium .940 Silver Wire
H19-22D
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 5FT
  • Price: $10.53
  • Gold Club Price: $7.90
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22 Gauge Round Dead Soft 14/20 Gold Filled Wire
H4-22D
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 5FT
  • Price: $17.56
  • Gold Club Price: $13.17
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Tools

3.6 Volt Automatic Wire Twister (Cordless Screwdriver)
G5-15
  • G5-15
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $42.97
  • Gold Club Price: $32.23
Out of Stock
C.H.P Milano Italian Flush Cutter, 5 1/2 Inches
PLR-487.00
  • PLR-487.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $16.97
  • Gold Club Price: $12.73
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Multi-Size Wrap 'N' Tap Pliers, Large Barrels
PLR-746.03
  • PLR-746.03
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $29.95
  • Gold Club Price: $22.46
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Blazer ES-1000 Angled Head Micro Torch, Black
TRCH-1002
  • TRCH-1002
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $74.95
  • Gold Club Price: $56.21
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  • Category: Metalwork
  • Technique(s): Butane Torch Techniques, Twisting