Image of Ebony pendant with hawk eye stone in silver bezel set
June 08, 2023

Embracing the Jewelry Journey: When Doing It All Wrong Turned Out Just Right

I embarked on my jewelry-making journey around two and a half years ago, fueled by excitement and passion. About six months into this creative adventure, a new idea sparked within me—I wanted to incorporate gems into my wooden pendants. Being an artist, designer, and sculptor by education, but not a jeweler, I had unwittingly neglected some common sense practices. It never occurred to me to start with the stone and then design the piece around it.

Naturally, finding the perfect stone to fit my design proved to be a challenge. Months passed, and I eagerly awaited the opportunity to attend a gem show within a reasonable distance. Finally, the day arrived, and I immersed myself in the vast expanse of the trade show, tirelessly searching for a stone that would work. It was there that I discovered a striking Hawk Eye stone, albeit imperfect. Nevertheless, I saw potential and was willing to put in the extra effort to make it fit.

A brilliant idea emerged—I decided to enhance the piece by filling the tiny gap between the stone and the wood with a silver outline. This unforeseen twist, though unplanned, promised to elevate the piece's overall quality. To accomplish this, I needed to learn the art of bezel setting the Hawk Eye stone.

Over a year had elapsed since I began the original piece when I finally made time to take a class and rent bench time at a remarkable local jewelry studio.

Hawk Eye Stone In Silver Bezel In Process

At long last, I achieved the skill to bezel set the stone. At this stage, I abandoned the idea of creating metal prongs to hold the stone, as it would detract from the clean silver outline I envisioned. Instead, I soldered arms onto the back of the bezel, textured them with knurles, and secured them into perfectly aligned holes in the ebony with epoxy.

All in all, it took nearly two years to complete the initial project with the stone.

Silver Armatures being soldered onto the back of a bezel setting.

In contrast, after attending the gem show, I finished another stone piece where I had designed the wood around the stone, and it merely took a few days. The experience taught me valuable lessons and unintentionally honed my skills, which will undoubtedly shape my future jewelry-making endeavors.

The moral of this story is clear—I am immensely grateful that I did not give up on the piece once I realized the unnecessary hardships I had imposed upon myself. In the end, the piece emerged better for it, and so did my skills, influencing my future creations in profound ways.