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The Best Book on Bezel Setting Gemstones in Metal Clay, Lisa Barth's "Designing From the Stone"

Updated on October 31, 2016
Margaret Schindel profile image

Margaret Schindel is a jewelry artist and internationally known expert on metal clay techniques. PMC certified in 2006 by Celie Fago.

This pendant shows how Lisa Barth extended the distinctive patterns in an ammonite fossil cabochon stone onto the backplate of this pendant's fine silver metal clay bezel setting.
This pendant shows how Lisa Barth extended the distinctive patterns in an ammonite fossil cabochon stone onto the backplate of this pendant's fine silver metal clay bezel setting. | Source

Lisa Barth Teaches Her Signature Metal Clay Bezel Techniques

"Designing From the Stone" Is the Next-Best Thing to Taking a Class From Lisa in Person!

Lisa Barth is a world famous metal clay and wire jewelry artist, a sought-after teacher and a talented author who is best known for her unique gemstone bezel settings in metal clay jewelry. She is highly respected and admired both by her students and by other jewelry designers and clients who appreciate the artistry in her fine wearable art jewelry. In her book, Designing From the Stone, Lisa shares her considerable expertise, techniques, and unique approach to designing bezel set metal clay jewelry with metal clay artists who are unable to attend one of her classes and workshops in person. And she writes just the way she teaches in person, in a clear, easy-to-understand and supportive manner that will have you making your own one-of-a-kind gemstone bezel settings for your metal clay jewelry.

Let Your Gemstone Cabochons Inspire Your Bezel Setting Designs

Lisa's unique approach to designing gemstone jewelry in metal clay is using the stone itself as inspiration for the jewelry design. Hence the book's straightforward title and subtitle, Designing From the Stone: Design Techniques for Bezel Setting in Metal Clay Using the Stone as Inspiration. Sometimes the patterning in a particular gemstone will inspire an echoing or related texture on the metal surrounding the bezel-set stone. Other times, a stone evokes a particular visual association. A great example of this is the pendant on the book's cover; the stunning labradorite cabochon reminded Lisa of the ocean and inspired the unusual and clever bezel setting with an adorable silver turtle poised to enter the water.

After seeing three different examples of the entire process end-to-end, you'll be ready to apply everything you've learned to your own bezel set silver metal clay jewelry designs inspired by your gemstones.

Note: All the projects and bezel setting techniques in the book are designed for use with fine silver metal clay. They also can be adapted for use with sterling silver clay, but the increased shrinkage of the sterling silver metal clay could create challenges.

Bezel set Swedish Blue stone silver pendant
Bezel set Swedish Blue stone silver pendant | Source

Have you ever make a piece of metal clay jewelry with a bezel set stone?

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You'll Appreciate the Clear, Easy to Understand and Well Illustrated Step-by-Step Instructions and Tips for Creating Custom Silver Bezel Settings for Any Gemstone

She'll show you how to make each custom bezel using tabbed fine silver bezel wire to ensure that the bezel is securely and permanently embedded in the metal clay base. Lisa is a fantastic teacher, both in person and in print, and reading this book is the next best thing to attending one of her highly sought-after metal clay bezel setting classes.

As a metal clay artist myself and the Senior Editor and Technical Editor of Metal Clay Artist Magazine (now online as Creative Fire), I am fortunate to know Lisa Barth personally and professionally. She sincerely cares about making sure her students are successful, and that desire is evident in the clear and detailed information and expert tips she shares in this book.

Learn How to Analyze Your Gemstone's Shape, Texture and Color and Decide Which Features You Love Most About It and How to Emphasize Those Elements in Your Bezel Setting and Backplate Design

Lisa explains how to make and use paper templates, work in layers, extend the design harmoniously from the front to the back for a design that is unified when viewed from any angle and think about bails as integral parts of a jewelry design.

She also teaches you how to mold placeholders for your stone from jeweler's investment to ensure that your bezel will still fit the stone perfectly after it has been kiln fired in the silver metal clay.

You'll also learn how to fire, finish and add a liver of sulfur patina to your piece and, finally, how to bezel set the gemstone and customize the fit to the stone if necessary.

Three Detailed, Step-by-Step Projects Teach You How to Integrate All the Techniques, Principles and Lessons in the Book

This book is more than just a master class in creating custom silver bezel settings for metal clay jewelry with world renowned teacher Lisa Barth; it's also a master class in jewelry design.

Lisa goes into the elements of design: color properties, color associations and color theory; line; shape; texture; form; value; and space. She also explains the principles of design: balance; emphasis; repetition; contrast; movement; rhythm; and unity.

See Some of Lisa Barth's Unique Bezel Set Gemstone Jewelry in Metal Clay

Lisa also is a terrific photographer and she kindly has given me permission to include some of her photos of her bezel set gemstone metal clay jewelry to give you an idea of the types of jewelry you'll be able to design and create after reading this book.

Photo credits: All photos of her work are copyright Lisa Barth, all rights reserved, and are used with her permission.

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lisa Barth sketches a rough setting and backplate design around the ammonite fossil to echo and extend its pattern onto the silver with syringe clay.Here you can see the transformation of the rough sketch into the finished ammonite bezel setting and backplate.This shows how the backplate shape and texture echo the lizard skin ammolite pattern and continue on the integrated bail and onto the pendant back.I love how the coiled chambers of this polished ammonite fossil extend onto the backplate, enhancing the feeling of motion from the spiral pattern.This exquisite backplate echoes the lacy delicacy of this exceptional Russian amber stone accented with a blue sapphire.This sunset jasper stone set from the back creates a color-banded sky behind the dimensional forest trees balanced by a smooth, polished silver frame.This Indian Paint Stone pendant's backplate is a terrific example of echoing the stone's pattern onto the surrounding backplate through texture.
Lisa Barth sketches a rough setting and backplate design around the ammonite fossil to echo and extend its pattern onto the silver with syringe clay.
Lisa Barth sketches a rough setting and backplate design around the ammonite fossil to echo and extend its pattern onto the silver with syringe clay.
Here you can see the transformation of the rough sketch into the finished ammonite bezel setting and backplate.
Here you can see the transformation of the rough sketch into the finished ammonite bezel setting and backplate.
This shows how the backplate shape and texture echo the lizard skin ammolite pattern and continue on the integrated bail and onto the pendant back.
This shows how the backplate shape and texture echo the lizard skin ammolite pattern and continue on the integrated bail and onto the pendant back.
I love how the coiled chambers of this polished ammonite fossil extend onto the backplate, enhancing the feeling of motion from the spiral pattern.
I love how the coiled chambers of this polished ammonite fossil extend onto the backplate, enhancing the feeling of motion from the spiral pattern.
This exquisite backplate echoes the lacy delicacy of this exceptional Russian amber stone accented with a blue sapphire.
This exquisite backplate echoes the lacy delicacy of this exceptional Russian amber stone accented with a blue sapphire.
This sunset jasper stone set from the back creates a color-banded sky behind the dimensional forest trees balanced by a smooth, polished silver frame.
This sunset jasper stone set from the back creates a color-banded sky behind the dimensional forest trees balanced by a smooth, polished silver frame.
This Indian Paint Stone pendant's backplate is a terrific example of echoing the stone's pattern onto the surrounding backplate through texture.
This Indian Paint Stone pendant's backplate is a terrific example of echoing the stone's pattern onto the surrounding backplate through texture.

A Superb Example of How to Teach Jewelry Techniques in Print and Pictures

"Designing From the Stone: Design Techniques for Bezel Setting in Metal Clay Using the Stone as Inspiration" by Lisa Barth is not only one of the best metal clay jewelry books I've ever read, it's also one of the best jewelry making and design books I've ever read, period.

Whether you're a metal clay jewelry artist or someone who is interested in designing and creating beautiful, professional jewelry using fine silver metal clay, bezel wire and gemstone cabochons, this book is a must-have for your metal clay and jewelry making library.

Learn More Ways to Set Gemstones in Metal Clay

I've written a comprehensive and detailed guide to setting gemstones in metal clay that covers a wide range of different stone setting techniques including bezel, gypsy, layered and other settings for stones that can be fired in place and for those that must be set after firing.

© 2013 Margaret Schindel

Was My Review of Designing From the Stone Helpful? Do You Want to Learn to Make Silver Jewelry From Metal Clay Using Lisa Barth's Bezel Setting Techniques?

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    • Margaret Schindel profile image
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      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks, Sandy! I adore Lisa's work. It's even more beautiful when you see it in person. And she's very thorough with her explanations of her techniques so that others can use them successfully to make their own stone-inspired metal clay bezel settings for their gemstone jewelry designs.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 2 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Wonderful review. The jewellery is interesting and beautiful.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image
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      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you, Gayle. You'll LOVE Lisa's book. Her lessons on the elements and principles of design are as valuable as her unique approach to designing bezel settings. Thanks so much for your visit and your comment!

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 2 years ago from Kansas

      Great review Margaret. This is a book on my "to-get" list now. I've always wanted to try bezels with metal clay.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image
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      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks very much, Barbara! I can't take credit for the jewelry, though - that's all the work of my talented jewelry artist friend Lisa Barth. :)

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 2 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Margaret, another gorgeous page and update - the jewelry is beautiful - you sure are an expert at your craft

    • Margaret Schindel profile image
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      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      @a2article: Thank! Glad you enjoyed the article.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image
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      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      @PriyabrataSingh: So glad you enjoyed these metal clay gemstone setting techniques and Lisa Barth's wonderful book!

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      a2article 3 years ago

      impressive. i like the way.

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      PriyabrataSingh 3 years ago

      Great work and i love the magic behind the art of perfection.I will try some.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image
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      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      @Susan Zutautas: Thanks so much, Susan! If you ever decide to try creating metal clay jewelry, let me know. I'd be happy to help you get started! :D

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Beautiful pieces! I would love to try my hand at this craft.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image
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      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      @SusanDeppner: Thanks so much for your lovely and kind comment, Susan! I really appreciate it. If you ever decide you want to give jewelry making a try, just let me know and I'll be happy to help you get started in the medium of your choice. :D

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Great review and amazingly gorgeous jewelry! I'll leave the jewelry making to the artists, though it might be fun to give it a try!

    • Margaret Schindel profile image
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      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      @hgb282: So glad you enjoyed this introduction to metal clay, hgb282! I've written many other lenses about creating metal clay jewelry that you might be interested in looking at. Thanks so much for your kind comment and your visit! :)

    • hgb282 profile image

      hgb282 3 years ago

      Beautiful jewelry. Very artistic medium. I had never heard of metal clay before so I googled it. "Metal clay first came out in Japan in 1990".

    • Margaret Schindel profile image
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      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      @jura: Thanks, jura! I hope you have a wonderful time trying these shoe painting and embellishment techniques. :)

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      jura 3 years ago

      Great lens I will try some of a technicks

    • Margaret Schindel profile image
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      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      @lewisgirl: Thanks so much, Lewisgirl! I hope it inspires you to try some of Lisa's wonderful techniques to make your own unique bezel-set gemstone silver jewelry designs. :D

    • lewisgirl profile image

      lewisgirl 3 years ago

      Very inspirational!

    • Margaret Schindel profile image
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      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      @kislanyk: Thanks so much for your kind feedback, Marcia! Lisa is just awesome and, as you know from her wire wrapping tutorials, she's also a terrific teacher. Just let me know when you're ready to get started with metal clay. I'd love to be of help! :D

    • kislanyk profile image

      Marika 3 years ago from Cyprus

      A great review Margaret, I love Lisa's work and I've done several jewelry pieces from her wire wrapped turorials. Granted, I haven't started yet with metal clay, but it's something I'm looking forward to learning. As I'm looking forward to her new wire wrapping book based on her now famous bracelet. Hurry up Lisa! :)

    • Margaret Schindel profile image
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      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      @Gypzeerose: Rose dear, what a truly lovely compliment!!! Big hugs to you!!!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 3 years ago

      As you probably know by now, I am one of your greatest fans. I always like to come to see what you are up to even if I will never try the craft. Pinned to my board "Crafts I love."

    • Margaret Schindel profile image
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      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      @CrazyHomemaker: Thanks so much for your feedback, CrazyHomemaker! I'd love to see your jewelry some time. :D

    • CrazyHomemaker profile image

      CrazyHomemaker 3 years ago

      Yes I would! I make a boho style jewelry and chain maille jewelry. I love 'playing' (as I tell my hubby) with my stones and metals.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image
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      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      @Diaper Bag Blog: Thanks so much, stajo82! I really appreciate your kind comments on my review of Lisa Barth's wonderful book, Designing From the Stone.

    • Diaper Bag Blog profile image

      Stanley Green 3 years ago from Czech Republic

      Superb ... I love gemstone jewelry presented here... And you have really nice pictures ... thumbs up !!!

    • Margaret Schindel profile image
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      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      @Diana Wenzel: Thank you so much for your very kind comments, D.! Lisa is not only an incredible artist and teacher but also a very sweet lady who is modest about her creative gifts. I'm delighted that I could introduce you to her work! :D

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      Exquisite! I want that turtle bezel piece featured on the book cover. Stunning works of art. Thank you for introducing me to this extremely talented artist. Wow.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image
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      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      @Lorelei Cohen: Hi Lorelei,

      I'm betting you could make some terrific gemstone jewelry, given your love of rocks and gemstones and your artistic eye! Fine silver metal clay is a wonderful jewelry material that allows you to create nearly any design you can think of even if you don't have prior metalsmithing experience. Please PM me any time if you'd like to know more about creating silver jewelry from metal clay set with natural or manmade/lab gemstones. :D

    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      I love gemstones. When I was a kid my greatest wish was for a rock tumbler but a gift that was not to be realized. I still enjoy rocks and gemstones but have never tried my hand at making anything from them.

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