In other words,would the size of the stone make a difference when
using 14K bezels.
Its not the size of the stones per se, its the amount of bend you
have to seduce the metal to. A short radius bezel is under more
stress when setting. That is, the metal has to crush somewhat because
you’re basically taking a 6mm(for example) circle and mushing it down
to 5 or 5.5 or something. Metal stretches OK but shrinking is
It seems counterintuitive but a thicker material bends more easily
in the case of bezels. I haven’t quite figured it out but that’s my
observation. Maybe it has to do with the inner and outer walls being
more closely integrated…any stress induced to one transfers
directly to the other. Whereas a thick bezel has all that gooey gold
to disperse the stress. I dunno, I’m not an engineer.
But what can you do to alleviate the problem since you have the
bezel strip already? You can cut a relief inside the bezel at an
appropriate height, this gives a weaker place where the strip can
bend. Tricky though, cut too deep and the strip will want to fold
along the relief giving you a dishonorable bezel. Or, make the bezel
deliberately a bit too large. Now you can whack away at it without
the fear of chipping the girdle, well, reduced fear anyway. Also how
you hammer the bezel has an impact(no pun intended). A natural
inclination is to start hammering at the base but sometimes its
better to start near the top, since the top has the farthest distance
to go. The ‘slack’ in the area below where you’re hammering acts a as
kind of buffer zone allowing the compression I mentioned before. If
you’re hammering from base up you are concentrating the stress
further and further up til the top edge gets very stiff and resistant.
If springiness is the culprit, alternate where you hammer. Don’t try
to chase the bezel round n round in a circumferential progression.
Tap in one spot then 120 away and so forth. Hold the hammer handpiece
at a steep angle s= o the force is as much down as across. Bring the
bezel in in little steps, so that you don’t wind up with a very
difficult ‘flap’ that refuses to disappear.
all I found was verification that one is asking for trouble trying
to work with 14K bezels
After having worked mostly in 18K for a long while I admit that 14K
gives me trouble now and then, mostly because I just rush to use 18K
technique without thinking before doing.