Katy Beh Jewelry

How do you make your jewelry, Katy Beh? (part 3)

Katy Beh Jewelry 22k Custom Fine New Orleans

I'm a maker

I exclusively use 22 karat yellow gold in making my jewelry. I alloy the gold myself in my studio.The process is slow but deeply rewarding. I’m devoted to the ancient craft of classical goldsmithing, even if it limits the number of pieces I can make.
The current catch phrase for this kind of totally-from-scratch work is artisan. You know…artisanal bread, cheese…BEER. Only the finest jewelry is made entirely by hand.

    I use jeweler's shears to cut the gold sheet into ribbons specifically measured for each gem. Then, I shape the ribbon around each gem creating a bezel. A bezel is like a collar.

      The anatomy of a triple half round band. From an ingot, I draw wire down to a half round profile. Then, three pieces of the wire are shaped into three rings. I fuse these joints - a process that literally melts the two ends together.

      The sleeve is made from flat sheet gold. Each of the bands must fit perfectly around the inner sleeve; as well as match up to its mate. Then, the bands are stacked up on the inner sleeve and soldered into place. A section of the completed band is removed to make room for the bezel group using a jeweler's saw.

        The back sheet is curved to fit more comfortably on the finger so a mirroring curve is filed on the bottom all of the bezels according to their position on the backsheet - all still perfectly level on top.
        All positioned into place; the stones fit smoothly in the bezels and sit flush on the backsheet. The band is soldered on last.


        Liquid flux will bubble and fix the bezel in place when heated it up. Binding wire secures positioning. Solder chips In the lower bezel will flow at a slightly lower temperature than heat high enough to melt the gold. The top bezel is already soldered and the seams protected with a paste preventing them from re-flowing.

          The last torch task is soldering the bezel group to the band. The ring is positioned upside down using gravity to make sure it's a perfect fit. Finally, all the soldering is complete and the ring soaks in a heated acid bath to remove all the oxidation and hardened flux.

          Setting the gemstones

          First, an inner bezel is made from fine silver for each stone. This design has the bezels on a curved back sheet so like the outer bezels, the inner bezels are curved to fit. Also, a thin piece of silver is placed behind each stone to reflect the true color of the gem. Clockwise: rose quartz, ruby and pink aquamarine.
          Using hand tools, the top thin edge of the gold bezel is carefully pushed over each stone while the gem sits on the shorter ledge of the inner bezel.





            The finished show stopper!

            I thoroughly loved making this ring. Working in 22k gold is divine. The colors, the juxtaposition of shapes, shades and textures of the gems...this is what makes a piece of Katy Beh Jewelry. That, and my signature on the inside.