Metal and Gemstone Jewelry: Learn Beginning Inlay with Jeff Fulkerson

  inlay cuff bracelet by Jeff Fulkerson
Jeff cuts & sets the stones in this cuff in his DVD.

I was honored (and excited!) when Jeff Fulkerson sent me a copy of his new metalsmithing DVD, Beginning Inlay, for review. I've enjoyed Jeff's projects in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine and his top-rated One-Hour Bracelets video, so I already knew he was a masterful instructor and I looked forward to learning something new from him.

In short, Jeff's inlay video combines making metal jewelry, which I love to do, and cutting stones, which I sooo badly want to do. I really need to ask Santa for some lapidary equipment this year!

Stone inlay is an artistic, very hands-on way to create jewelry featuring the limitless colors and textures that gemstones provide. Typical gem-set jewelry is great, but inlay can be even better–it's much more stone, much more color, much more oomph!

tall inlay cuff bracelet by Jeff Fulkerson  
I love the different heights in this one!

6 Fascinating Facts About Inlay

Before I watched Jeff's new Beginning Inlay video, I didn't realize that . . .

1.  . . . inlay differs from regular bezel setting cabochons in that you form the metal first and then you cut the stone to fit into the metal.

2.  . . . stones in inlay jewelry don't have to be flush or the same height, like tiles–in fact, I think it's really interesting when they aren't.

3.  . . . creating metal channels for inlay can be as simple as soldering a frame onto a back plate.

4.  . . .  flush inlay is achieved in situ, meaning the grinding and polishing is done after stones are fitted and glued into position on the metal form.

5.  . . . making metal channels needed for inlay is achievable with your basic soldering and metal forming skills, by using frames cut from sheet or building channels using triangle-shaped wire.

build an inlay cuff bracelet with triangle wire frame
 a triangle wire frame for an inlay cuff bracelet

6.  . . . there are different styles of inlay, including flush inlay, pillow inlay, edge inlay, and mosaic.

  silver cross frame for inlay
a basic frame for inlay

After watching Jeff's video, you'll have a thorough understanding of creating inlay jewelry, from preparing the stones to forming the metal to the final polish. Jeff demonstrates the detailed lapidary work involved in inlaying a cuff bracelet and provides an explanation of:

  • how a stone's hardness affects your inlay work
  • how to create inlays using stones of varying hardness
  • the difference between intarsia and inlay
  • how to properly and neatly epoxy the stones in the channel
  • how to cut, grind, polish, and fit your stones for inlay
  • how to form the metal channel/s for the stones
  • lots of inspiring examples of the various styles of inlay or "channel work"
  • inlaying metal for protection and added interest
  • the tools, equipment, and materials you need to tackle stone inlay
  • safety practices for inlay and working with stones, and more.

Watch a preview of Jeff's Beginning Inlay DVD:

  pillow inlay cuff bracelet
pillow inlay

"That's the beauty of it," Jeff says of making inlay jewelry. "You can make your metalwork the way you want it. Now you control your metalwork and you control your stones." If you're ready to tackle making inlay jewelry yourself, you can order Beginning Inlay with Artist Jeff Fulkerson. It's 88 minutes of high-quality video, expert instruction, and entertaining tutorials on a beyond-basic gemstone jewelry-making technique!

Learn more about Jeff Fulkerson and see his spectacular work at

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