Daily Wire Tip Oct. 16: Gluing Crystals to Gemstones

By on October 16, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
October 16, 2010

Question:

Do you know what type of adhesive would work to apply small flat back crystals to a gemstone (such as turquoise)? I want to incorporate this into my wire work pendants.

-Wendy in North Jersey, New Jersey

Answer:

To adhere something like the flat back crystals you mention, you will first have to "rough up" the spot on the cab where you would like to put it. To do so, you might use a fine diamond burr on a Dremel and then I would recommend using E6000 as the adhesive. You may wish to try adding a spot of this glue to the back of one of these crystals first, to see if it reacts in any ill way, as some mirror finishes will dissolve with certain glues.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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8 Comments

  1. avatar

    Anna-Marie

    October 16, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Another thing–turquoise is very porous and can be discolored by foreign substances. I would be wary of any solvents present in the glue.

  2. avatar

    Kaytee

    October 16, 2010 at 8:44 am

    How about Hypotube Cement? It’s supposed to be safe for the mirror finishes on the back of crystals. The biggest problem I’ve had with it, is getting the top back on….

  3. avatar

    Sandra Parril

    October 16, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I’ve used Hypo cement for this, works well. But some stones seem to be slightly oily, and hypo cement does not always hold for the long run. I find epoxy or E6000 works better, but NEVER super glue of any kind, as this does dissolve the mirror backing.

  4. avatar

    Jenn

    October 16, 2010 at 10:50 am

    I pretty much use Goop* brand glue for everything, almost, Ive found that it bonds almost perfectly with pretty much anything and Ive never seen it leave discoloration or fog glass or plastics. The active chemical in it is perchloroethylene, if you’re searching chemical specifics. I’ve used this glue on gems, wood, metal, china, and even bones and shells with excellent results.

  5. avatar

    Joe Barela

    October 16, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I use a 2 part epoxy for these type problems and when U mix the epoxy allow it to sit until it starts to harden but is still workable and it will stick and stay put better without the chemical components penetrating as far into the turquoise. Use an epoxy that says “dries clear”. I like 5 minute epoxy and 15 minute epoxy. Note: there will be some waste and it takes practice to know how much to mix. Also note that coated(mirrored) crystals are not a good choice for this application because the coating is sensitive to all glues even water based glues. This means that even though some glues will work and make it stick to the other components, the coating becomes the weak link in the component and the crystal can break loose leaving the coating and glue on the sub component. If U want to use coated crystals I suggest U incorporate into your design a drilled crystal and drill a hole through the turquoise and then wire wrap them together or use a ball pin through the components to attach them together. This will also add an additional dimension to the design. If your design intent is to just to use low profile flat back crystal components to add a stylish design to the turquoise then do not worry about weather the crystal is coated or not and just experiment will different glues on one piece of turquoise and see what works best keeping in mind that “time” will let U know if the components will fail. Look for any discoloration that appears over time and let the component assembly test piece sit in the direct sunlight like on a window sill or the dash of your car. the bright sunlight will accelerate the test time as almost all glues gradually degrade in natural sunlight.Personally, I guarantee all my designs and if a design fails for any reason I have a policy that my customers can return the item for repair or replacement. I find this a very good way to know what works and does not work and allows me to improve my designs and retain customers who will become loyal and tell their friends bringing me new customers. It also saves me a lot of money in the long run because I do not repeat the same mistakes and continuously improve my designs.Note: Hypotube cement does work but be sure not to put too much on as it does have aggressive chemicals in it and if it spreads beyond the underside of the crystal component onto the visable outside of the turquoise it will discolor it. This is true for all glues though even “dries clear epoxy” That is why it is necessary to do the experiment and expose it to sunlight. Let us know what U find works! God bless!….JB

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      October 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm

      Wow Joe! Thanks for the tutorial : )

  6. avatar

    Traci

    October 16, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Wow Joe that was great! Thanks so much for the sharing of your knowledge! God Bless

  7. avatar

    Anne Duffy, Austalia

    October 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    I agree with Anna-Marie, turquoise is very porous and can discolor. I’ve set crystals into my cabochons by drilling a small hole into the cabochon and using a very tiny amount of Loctite 406 instant adhesive using a tooth pick. This adhesive is recommended for use on difficult to bond materials. For availability please check out http://www.loctite.com.au. I also use this adhesive when I set paua into bone carvings that still require some sanding and polishing. It is clear when dry. Take care as it is a very strong adhesive and virtually impossible to remove.

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