Large CZ Setting

CZ Setting

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Original Post
I have been making post earrings because, well, thank goodness, they are coming back into fashion. I prefer to wear posts over drop-and-dangle earrings, especially in the studio. I have been using 7 or 8 mm round Cubic Zirconia (CZ) for these earrings, as shown in the 8 mm chocolate CZ studs below. Here is how I set large and round CZs in metal clay with consistent results.

16-1218b CZ set 2

As a metal-clay artist you likely collect small things. I collect anything that has a round end on it. To set 7 mm CZs I selected the pen cap at the bottom. I used the PMC Syringe barrel for the 8 mm CZ studs above.

CZ Setting 1

Here is my pen cap next to a black 7 mm CZ. I hardly ever measure for things like this; I eyeball ‘em.

CZ Setting 5

I wanted a clean end to the pen cap, so I cut off the part that secures the pen into the pocket.

CZ Setting 6

You will see in subsequent steps that I needed a hole in the small end of this shaper, so I drilled a hole.

CZ Setting 8
CZ Setting 9

I also needed a tool for making a smaller hole, a hole that was less than 7 mm in diameter. I used this spring-loaded brass hole punch. Again, approximating and eyeballing. The size was not that critical; it just needed to be slightly less than the CZ’s diameter.

CZ Setting 10

Here is my black CZ upside down. I used it to determine how many cards or slats thick to make my setting. This thickness of my rolled clay needed to be at least two cards more than the height of the CZ.

CZ Setting 11

I would be using this small piece of glass to press the CZ into the wet clay, so I put a thin film of olive oil on it.

CZ Setting 12

I oiled the in- and out- side of the shaper, as well as the brass hole punch.

CZ Setting 14

Then I rolled the clay with a flat surface on top.

CZ Setting 15

I used the shaper to cut a round. When I picked this up I positioned it just above another surface and blew into the top hole, so the round of wet clay slid out to rest on the new surface.

CZ Setting 16

I had then two rounds of wet clay.

CZ Setting 17

I used the brass hole punch and punched out the centers.

CZ Setting 18

I wet my finger with water and smoothed the top of the clay. If there were going to be cracks from drying out, this was where they would likely occur. So, I smoothed the tops and purposefully left them wet.

CZ Setting 19

I set the CZs on top. 

CZ Setting 20

I used a rubber finger and started pressing the CZs into the holes. I used the rubber finger because I could see clearly how and where I needed to push them to get them started evenly.

CZ Setting 21

I placed my oiled glass on top of the CZs and used the glass to press the CZs into the clay. When I could see the wet clay evenly against the glass, I stopped pressing.

CZ Setting 22

Here they were then, ready for the drying. In the photo the lower CZ looks wetter than the top, but both are wet and pushed evenly into the clay. I set these on the coffee mug warmer, and you can dry yours however you dry your clay—dehydrator, coffee mug warmer, room temp, etc.

CZ Setting 23

Here was how they looked on the back.

CZ Setting 24e

Below are the results. In the photo, the top CZs are not sanded. The bottom CZs are sanded, cleaned up, and made ready to be incorporated into whatever I would be making.

CZ Setting 24f

If you want to learn more about post earrings, using stainless steel and sterling silver posts, check out a course on Post Earrings at I Love Silver.

A course that details how to make the 8 mm chocolate CZ studs as shown in the second photo in this Tidbits & Tricks is soon to be published at I Love Silver

For other online courses in metal clay, go to I Love Silver, where you learn how to design and create your own silver creations.

© Kris A Kramer 2019