Bracelets and Cuffs

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How to curl the edges of cuffs.

Nancy LT Hamilton

Last updated: 11/2/20,  4/15/17

There are several tools on the market for bracelet bending.


“I have made a thick ring shank with an 8mm jade set in a bezel. I was very happy with the end result. However, I would like to know how to make irregular edges on a ring shank or cuff that appear to roll upward or inward (not sure which is correct) See photo.”

  Cuff by Ocean Girl, Leslie Shattuck.


The cuff pictured looks like reticulated silver over copper. Is this the type of edge that you are talking about? Those edges are probably curled by melting and/or curled with a little assist from round nosed pliers.

As far as anticlastic or synclastic curling, you should check out Creative Metal Forming by Betty Helen Longhi and Cynthia Eid. Also, see Foldforming by Charles Lewton-Brain for other forming/forging techniques.

Some links are via my affiliate link to Amazon. (See note at end).*

  You can use a dapping punch shaft, rod or jump ring mandrel and hammer around that. Lubricate the form for easier removal. It would probably be easier to do this before shaping into a cuff or a ring.  Lubrication can be beeswax, Jewelers Lube solid, Liquid Bur Life or other types of lubrication.

You can use pliers – although, you might want to dip them in Plasti-dip or wrap with tape to protect the metal. Pliers can be utilized after shaping, of the cuff,  is done but it will be more inconsistent and harder to control. If you shape after curling the edges, care must be taken to keep the curl from being crushed by the mallet. You can purchase pliers that have Delrin jaws. I don’t like the pliers with nylon jaws as I’ve found that the material breaks apart rather quickly.

Another idea, and probably the most permanent (while still being removable), is using thermoplastic to cover the tips of your pliers.  I just found this thermoplastic sheet that might work well for covering 1/2 round and flat pliers.  I have not tried this product yet but, I’ve ordered some to try out.   You can create a cone (learn how in my video: How to Make a Cone.) for your pliers, from the sheet.  I’d cut out the cone shape and then heat the plastic and then apply it to the pliers.  Rio Grande sells a Jett Ballistic Fixturing Compound, that contains Kevlar for added durability and strength.  I have not used this product yet but, have also ordered it to try out.  Rio also sells Jett Sett Basic which is a very durable and versatile tool for jewelers.

You can also use pitch and chasing & repoussé tools to create rounded/curled sides too.

Another method involves hammering a 90° angle on the edge and then “curling” that over by using the mallet.
I have a video: Fusing Silver and Reticulation on Copper that might help you to create reticulated silver on copper. Soham Harrison has a video on how to make a “wavy-edged” cuff that might help too:  Wavy Edge Anticlastic Bangle.

See also, Michael Good’s:  Anticlastic. A good article on the process from a man who really understands the process.

Hope all of this info helps!

*Side note: By purchasing through my affiliate links, you are helping to support the free services I provide.

Shaping Cuffs with Bezels

flower cuff 1  My Flower Cuff


I’ve learned so much from you and others like you who take the time to share their skills.
One video tutorial I’ve searched and searched for is: how to bezel set stones on a cuff.
Not just one stone in the center of the cuff, but smaller stones, bezel set the length of a cuff  – around the curve of the wrist.
Are the bezels soldered while the cuff is flat, then gently shaped and, finally, the stones are set?  I am assuming that any shaping would distort the bezel shape and the stone would no longer fit.


When creating the type of cuff you have in mind, be sure you have enough room to maneuver and push the bezel over the stones. Putting the bezels very close together requires some tricky setting.  You could try making a prong/bezel setting.  Sort of 1/2 regular bezel with the top have sawn to create prongs. Or, you can solder wire to the sides of the bezel to create prongs. I just released a video with Craftsy on creating this type of setting.   The video is called:  Prong Settings from Start to Finish.
 Smaller settings will sit better on the cuff than large ones.  Large settings will probably not sit flat as the curvature of the cuff will leave some of it hanging in the air.  The important goal is to make sure that the back of the bezel or the walls of the bezel come in full contact with the material of the cuff.
As you’ll see, from my answer to a previous question, the bezel should be soldered on after forming.

Shaping Cuffs


Can you give me any tips and guidance in shaping a bracelet (cuff)? What kind of mandrel to use, how to solder or add embellishment to it? Are there any standard sizes ?


There isn’t one standard size of cuff – use whatever size fits comfortably yet, meets your design vision.  Of course, there are common ranges of sizes but, widths can be varied.  Here’s a link to a small chart of bracelet sizes at Jewelry Making Journal.   Here is a link to a tutorial on making them.

On average, cuffs are around 6″ long.

As far as forming cuffs, you can form them over full tin cans, ax handles, bracelet mandrels – oval or round – anything that is the right size and shape and will support the work while you hammer.  I like to use oval shapes because the arm is actually more of an oval.  But, many also make them round.
Have you ever made a ring on a ring mandrel?  If so, it is the same process:  if the mandrel does not have parallel sides, you need to flip it over, every once in a while to make sure that it’s the same size on both ends.
Items should be soldered on or riveted on after shaping – otherwise, they could be crushed and their presence will affect the forming of the cuff.  You can pattern, patina, or etch before shaping though.
Please see my pages:  Ring, Bracelet, and Bezel Mandrels and Mandrel Holders for more information.

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