Jewellery using mixed metals and stones with Laura Ngyou

Ref: SLW13020

About this course

Explore combining metals and learn basic stone-setting techniques. Develop an awareness of design issues arising from combining materials and how to plan your work to overcome these.

Course Description

Explore the effects created by combining different metals in one piece of jewellery and learn basic stone-setting techniques. You will also develop an awareness of design problems and solutions that arise when combining several materials together, and learn correct planning and design awareness when embarking on a piece.

You are encouraged to make one or more pieces of work based on the examples and demonstrations given. You might just want to spend the course experimenting and making numerous test pieces for use in future projects, or you might want to bring work in progress, where advice and guidance is needed as to how to proceed in order to find the best solution, but work has to be relevant to the course content, where metals are combined and/or stones are used in simple settings only.

Materials and techniques covered:

• Soldering base metal sheet on silver sheet, dealing with different material thickness and the problems that may arise

• Soldering wire on silver sheet (copper, brass or gold)

• Rolled inlay and puzzle inlay using soldering, piercing and the rolling mill to inlay base metal/gold into silver

• Making a bezel setting for a cabochon stone using fine silver or gold, and setting the stone

• Finishing surfaces using oxidisation, pumice and surface texturing with different abrasives

You will be shown samples and test pieces made by the tutor using all the combined metals, with a talk about the techniques used. The tutor will also demonstrate how a basic bezel setting is made on a silver ring and how the stone is set. You will then embark on your own pieces after discussing them with the tutor, so planning can be done properly.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course, the tutor will supply polymorph setting cement, 2mm cubic Zirconia stone, bubber burrs and heart burrs, some hard and easy silver solder, pumice powder and Scotch bright pads.
  • The College will supply emery paper of different grades, white tack, brushes, pencil, pen, paper and square dowel.

What students need to bring

  • (The College has a good supply of tools for you to use in the workshop.)
  • ● Any images for inspiration are welcome. (The tutor will provide specially selected books from the library.)
  • ● You are encouraged to bring as many materials as you would like to use as possible, especially if you intend to use gold, as well as your own tools if you have any.
  • ● Silver sheet and wire and tube and the same in any base metals (copper, brass)
  • ● Gold sheet and wire, in 18 carat and above, 18 carat medium/hard gold solder. AND/OR
  • ● Fine silver bezel strip and fine silver sheet (0.5mm or 0.6mm thick and large enough to fit all the stones you wish to set on and extra).
  • Tools
  • Ring vice
  • Setting tools: Bezel pusher or rocker and burnisher
  • Wooden dowel approx. 3cm diameter and 10cm long
  • Steel tweezers
  • Assorted needle files
  • Borax cone and dish (for soldering silver and gold) or easy-flo flux if using base metal
  • The shop does not stock gold, but you may want to work with it. A useful supplier of tools and metals: Cookson Precious Metals, Hatton Garden.
  • Please bring any tools you have, any stones or metal. If you want to use gold, please buy it beforehand. 9 carat gold is a difficult material to work with, as it can discolour. The tutor would therefore recommend gold of a higher carat (not stocked in the shop). The shop stocks a great selection of copper and brass if you decide to use base metals.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Silver can be purchased from the College Shop, which stocks a range of sheet, wire, rod, tube and findings. These will be available in set sizes and lengths suitable for a wide range of projects.
  • Copper and brass sheet and wire
  • Silver solders
  • Available from tutor:
  • The tutor will bring a selection of stones. Try to avoid very soft ones as they are harder to set. Flat pebbles are a great alternative and also fossils have been used by previous students which are often cut flat on one side and polished. Please plan to use simple cuts that can be set in a rubover setting and not irregular sculptural material.
  • Setting cement and dowel can be bought from the tutor if required.

Additional information

This is a short questionnaire to make your time at West Dean as enjoyable as possible. Please email your answers to [email protected] 1. Your experience – it would be very useful to know how much jewellery you have made before, whether you have attended any courses etc. 2. Interests/hobbies or any skills 3. What do you want to achieve on the course – it would be great if you could make some sketches of pieces, notes, maybe think of different colour combinations of metals and stones. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toed shoes or sandals.


Laura Ngyou

Laura trained at Middlesex University and the prestigious Bishopsland Workshops in Oxfordshire. Her work is experimental, manipulating metal to create reimagined natural landscapes sympathetic to a gemstone’s individual character.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Interested in a career in metalwork?

Our Foundation Degree in Metalwork will enhance your employment prospects, give you the skills to set up as a self-employed craftsperson or allow you to continue to higher education. Encompassing both silversmithing and blacksmithing, you will learn practical skills, material properties, placing your work in a broader context and historic metalworking techniques. Find out more