Be Prepared – Have the Right Jewelry Glue on Hand
It’s happened to many of us. You’re getting ready for a special night out, take out one of your favorite jewelry pieces to wear and oh no – a stone falls out! Although I store my jewelry very carefully, on occasion I may find a loose stone when I’m ready to ship jewelry to a customer. That’s why I always inspect jewelry carefully before shipping it. If you have the right jewelry glue on hand you’ll be ready to quickly and easily fix that favorite piece.
Why a “Super” Type Glue is Not the Best Choice
You may be tempted to use a “super” adhesive. If your jewelry has a break in the metal, it might work for this purpose. Most jewelry makers, however, find that these super strong glues don’t dry clear, and have a rather rough finish. Because they aren’t designed to repair jewelry, they don’t have the “give” a good jewelry glue should have. If you drop your jewelry after the repair, the piece or the stone(s) might well shatter.
Here are some of the most popular jewelry glues that jewelry makers use to create and repair jewelry.
1) G-S Hypo Cement
G-S Hypo Cement jewelry glue was originally created for watch makers, who use it to attach watch crystals. It’s very durable and dries clear. The tube has a long narrow tip, which allows for precise application. These features make it a favorite among jewelry makers. It’s often used to attached beads and pearls to jewelry wire. The applicator allows you to place small quantities of glue inside beads without creating a mess, and helps eliminate waste. It can be used with sealed or painted wood, plastic, glass, ceramics, metal, rhinestones, and all types of cabochons. It takes about 10 minutes to set and is fully hard and dry within an hour.
Clear here for purchasing information: G-S Hypo Cement Jewelry Glue
2) Aleene’s Jewel-It Embellishing Glue
Designed to permanently adhere jewels and embellishments to fabric, Aleene’s Jewel-It jewelry glue is great for use on washable and non-washable fabrics. The best choice for those who craft and sew, Jewel-It can also be used to set all kinds of jewelry stones: rhinestones, glass, plastic, and more. It sets quickly and dries clear and flexible. Jewel-It holds stones securely, which makes it a great jewelry glue, and it’s also a great general purpose craft glue.
Jewel-It can be used with jewels, plastic beads, glass beads, rhinestones, pearls, and sequins. When used with glass or metal, allow the glue to sit for ten minutes before setting the stone. If using Jewel-It on fabric, let it dry 24 hours before wearing or using, and let it cure for 7 to 10 days before washing.
Clear here for purchasing information: Aleene’s Jewel-It Jewelry Glue
3) E6000 Clear
E6000 is a high-performance industrial strength adhesive. It adheres to more surfaces than virtually any other adhesive and makes a great jewelry glue. You can use E6000 with wood, metal, glass, fiberglass, ceramics, masonry and concrete. It also adheres strongly to leather, rubber, vinyl and many plastics. It dries to a clear finish, making it an exceptional craft and jewelry adhesive. Jewelry makers like to use E6000 to attach metal jewelry findings, and to seal end knots on bead strands. Because it dries like rubber, it acts as a shock absorber, which protects pieces when they are dropped. It is safe to use with almost every type of gemstone.
E6000 starts getting tacky in approximately 2 minutes and begins setting in approximately 10 minutes. A full cure takes between 24 and 72 hours. It’s a great all-purpose adhesive that dries to a clear, waterproof finish. E6000 also comes in an easy-to-use spray bottle (see video below).
4) Epoxy 330 Clear Adhesive
Epoxy 330 works well when bonding gemstones to metal findings, which makes it a good choice as a jewelry glue. Crafters like it because it provides a polished look and bonds gem materials to metal findings, such as pendant bails, with a quick setting time. Epoxy 330 dries clear, so it also works well for creating inlay mosaic type designs.
Epoxy 330 comes in two tubes – one is the resin and the other is the hardener. You must mix the two together to create the glue. It is great for bonding glass, ceramic, stone, metal and other materials seamlessly back together again. The adhesive hardens in 15 minutes and finishes setting in two hours. Epoxy 330 can be exposed to a heat lamp to harden in 10 minutes.
Click here for purchasing information: Epoxy 330 Clear Adhesive
Some Tools and Tips for Resetting Stones
If you don’t have specialized jewelry tools, there are some common household items you can use. When replacing stones I like to have toothpicks, a toothbrush, and tweezers handy. I also like to place some paper towel or a flat piece of plastic over my work area, and a damp cloth or paper towel ready for any cleanup. To clean out the cup that holds the stone, I use a toothpick to remove old jewelry glue. The toothbrush can get into the smallest spaces to remove any dust and dirt, and the tweezers are great for picking up stones.
When applying jewelry glue, I like to use a toothpick to get a little bit of glue out of the tube and apply it to the cup. It works much better than squirting the glue out, which often results in too much glue. You only need to place a small amount into the cup – don’t use too much, fill the cup about half-way, as the glue will spread when you insert the stone. Place the stone using the tweezers, then press it into place gently using another clean toothpick and let it set.
Holding small rhinestones with tweezers can be awkward, so there’s a trick I sometimes use. Take a small piece of clear tape and roll it over so you have two sticky sides. Place the tape on your finger, then pick up the stone with the other sticky side of the tape. It usually holds the stone long enough to place it in the cup, but will easily come off once the stone is in the cup with the glue. Some people like to use a Wax Rhinestone Picker Pencil to pick up small stones. There’s also a great tool named Crystal Katana Tool from Beadsmith that has gotten great reviews from those who need to quickly apply many tiny stones.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you’ve never repaired jewelry, use some old junk jewelry for your first experiment. That way, you can practice on one or more pieces that you don’t care about and learn from any mistakes you might make.
Whichever glue you decide to use, read the directions carefully. Some glues require that you allow them to set for a few minutes before applying stones. If you don’t allow the proper setting time, the stones will adhere, but may fall out later on. Strong, industrial type glues, like Epoxy 330, require appropriate ventilation, due to the strength of their chemicals.
If you’d like to learn more about vintage jewelry, check out the recommended books on my site: My Classic Jewelry List of Vintage Jewelry Books.
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Thank you, Christine 🙂
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