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

 Meet Gail. Since writing this blog, this lovely lady has found her forever home.

I would love to make a one of kind ring for you, too!

Katy Beh Jewelry How-to        Katy Beh Jewelry How-to

I am inspired by making!

There aren’t many of us classical goldsmiths out there, but whoa…we are a passionate bunch.

  • 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.
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  • 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.
Katy Beh Jewelry 22k Gold New Orleans Katy Beh Jewelry 22k Gold New Orleans
  • Measure twice, cut once. The golden rule and even more golden for jewelers.
  • 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.

New Katy Beh Jewelry New Orleans

    Katy Beh Jewelry 22k Gold New Orleans

    • The anatomy of a triple half round band. From an ingot, I draw gold wire down to this half round profile. Then, three pieces of the wire are shaped into three rings.
    • I fuse these joints - a process that doesn't use solder and makes for a super strong joint. Fused joints are not at risk of opening when heating the gold again to solder other joints.
    Katy Beh Jewelry 22k Gold New Orleans

    • 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.
    • Another dollop of 22k gold is put through the rolling mill to flatten and ultimately be the backsheet for the bezels.
    Katy Beh Jewelry 22k Gold New Orleans
    • A section of the triple half round band is removed to make room for the bezel group using a jeweler's saw.
     Katy Beh Jewelry 22k Gold New Orleans Katy Beh Jewelry 22k Gold New Orleans
    • Because the back sheet will be curved to fit more comfortably around the finger, a mirror curve must be filed on the bottom all of the bezels according to their position on the backsheet - and still be 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.
    Katy Beh Jewelry 22k Gold New Orleans
    • I need to solder on this bezel in one shot. It's curved and the liquid flux will bubble and shimmy it out of place when I heat it up.
    • One move and the curve will be off.
    • The solder flows at a slighty lower temperature than heat high enough to melt the gold.
    Sometimes, one needs to get ugly before finding her true beauty.
    • Although I rarely use it, this design requires securing the pieces tightly with binding wire. 
        Katy Beh Jewelry 22k Gold New Orleans

        • No gaps allowed! The bezels must lay exactly on the curved backsheet.
        • The seams of the previously soldered bezel are at risk to flow again, so a mask is painted on these connections to protect them from heat.

        • Once all of the bezels are soldered to the back sheet, the element is cleaned up to prepare for soldering on the band.
        Katy Beh Jewelry 22k Gold New Orleans
        • The last torch task is soldering the finished, cleaned up bezel group to the band.

        Again, measure twice, solder once. 

        Again, no gaps allowed.

        • I do this step with the ring positioned upside down using gravity to make sure it's a perfect fit.
        Katy Beh Jewelry 22k Gold New Orleans
        • Finally all the soldering is complete and the ring soaks in a heated acid bath to remove all the oxidation and hardened flux.
          Katy Beh Jewelry Classical Goldsmithing
          • Demonstrating setting the stones is worthy of another blog,
          • (The video demonstrates the process, however is little long!)
          • First, a second inner bezel is made from fine silver for each stone.
          • This design has the bezels on a curved back sheet so like the gold bezels, the inner bezels are curved similarly. Also, a thin, flat piece of silver is placed behind each stone to reflect the true color of the gem.
          Finally! Setting the gems!
          Clockwise: rose quartz, ruby and pink aquamarine.
          • Using hand tools, the top thin edge of the gold bezel is carefully and methodically pushed over each stone while the gem sits on the shorter ledge of the inner bezel.

          Katy Beh Jewelry 22k Gold Rose Quartz, Ruby, Pink Aquamarine

          Katy Beh Jewelry 22k Gold Rose Quartz, Ruby, Pink Aquamarine

          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.
          Katy Beh Jewelry 22k Gold New Orleans Rings
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          Browse through Look Book and get inspiration for your forever ring.
          Katy Beh Jewelry 22k Gold New Orleans Look Book