This week we have been looking at stone setting.
The first project was to make a simple bezel setting. Bezel settings are one of the most comm0n settings, especially within contemporary jewellery as they allow you to set almost anything.
Here are a few internet gleaned examples of some beautiful bezel set jewellery pieces to show you what a bezel is:
Now, here comes the how to bit!
Simple Silver Bezel Set Ring
(Materials and instructions given are for an 8mm circle stone set into a D-ring shank)
8mm circle cabochon (or whatever inclusion you want to set!!)
D-shaped silver wire (long enough to fit your ring size and approx. 4mm thick (your thickness is based on your preference))
Square-shaped silver wire (long enough for the inside of the bezel and approx. 1mm thick)
5mm silver gallery wire/bezel wire strip (long enough to fit around your stone)
0.7mm silver sheet (just larger than the size of your bezel/stone)
Various grades of emery paper, files and steel wool
Solder, flux, heat pliers and torch
Pickle, toothbrush, pumice powder and brass brush
Water bowl and fine paintbrush
Round and flat-nosed pliers
Blue tack/stone setting tool
Pendant drill and diamond burrs
This is my stone. It is an 8mm rutilated quartz. Therefore all my measurements and instructions will fit in with this rounded stone. For any other the size and shaped inclusion the basic instructions still apply.
1. I’ve used 5mm bezel wire. This is too big for my stone, which is a good thing as it means I can sand it down to the perfect size. The top of the wire, when finished, needs to sit just above the lip of your stone. So, starting out with wire that is too high is beneficial, as it leaves room for error.
2. Use a piece of scrap wire to measure your stone. Cut a strip of wire to fit your stone.
3. Take your round-nosed pliers and curl your strip of silver inwards. Be careful not to mark the metal.
4. File the edges until they are flat and sit against each other.
5. Solder your strip together. As you can see this one doesn’t quite meet up at one end. This doesn’t really matter because that will be the end that I sand down.
6. Repeat steps 3-5 with the square wire and the ring shank.
The bezel is on the left. The square wire in the centre should fit neatly inside the bezel, so use the wire you measured your stone with to ensure this wire is to right size. The ring shank is on the right, it is D-shaped wire and has been measured to fit my middle finger (use a ring-sizer to measure your own and cut the wire to size).
Pickle and clean up all metal.
7. Once you have all three parts cleaned up, form them around a ring mandrel until they are perfectly round.
8. Cut your sheet metal to size. Place bezel wire on the top in the centre, and then place square wire inside the bezel. The two should fit neatly (place the bezel over the stone before this step to ensure it fits. If any part is too small, take it back to the mandrel and hammer until it fits. If the parts are too big, you will need to cut and re-solder them). Cover the edges in flux and add small fragments of solder evenly around inside and outside of the bezel cup.
9. Solder the three parts together.
10. Pickle and clean up the soldered metal.
11. Saw the excess sheet away. Be careful not to cut into the bezel. It’s better to cut too little away than too much!
12. File along the edges until you can no longer see the join. And sand the top.
Now the bezel is ready to be added to the ring shank.
14. Before soldering you might want to flatten out the part of the ring being soldered with a file (it makes the bezel sit evenly on the shank). After filing, apply flux and a segment of solder to each side of the shank and solder.
15. This is what it looks like before being cleaned in the pickle.
This is what it looks like after coming out of the pickle!
16. Using a pendant drill and a variety of burrs, clean out the inside of the ring and remove any impurities as these will offset your stone.
17. At this point you can drill a hole into the bottom, centre of the bezel cup. If the stone is translucent, light will come through the hole and play with the translucency in the stone. Alternatively polish the inside to a high shine.
Ensure the full ring is polished and clean before moving on.
18. Place your ring into the ring clamp.
19. Pop your stone onto a blob of bluetack and insert it into the bezel carefully, the bluetack should help you fit it in straight but you still need to ease it in carefully because if the stone doesn’t go in straight your setting will be offset and it is very very difficult to get the stone back out at this stage.
20. Using your bezel pusher tool, push in the sides of the metal without touching the stone (or it will scratch), you might need to hammer it gently if your metal is quite thick, otherwise the pressure from your hand should be enough. Start at 3 o’clock then move to 6, then 9, then 12, go back to 2, 4, 6 and 8 and finally 1, 5, 7 and 11 o’clock and continue to follow these steps until you metal is fully pushed over and straight.
I hope you found this little tutorial useful! If you have any questions please comment below. Hopefully I’ll have more tutorials for you soon…. are there any you’d like me to cover?