Regarding 14kt bezels, yes 14kt is more difficult. It requires
technique, skill,and a little more patience. There is a lot of opal
jewelry, including doublets, that have 14 kt bezels, and they are
If you are fabricating, make the bezel to fit the stone as closely as
possible, the stone should be snug but not have to stuggle. After
soldering the bezel to the base, if it is too snug you can remove
some material from the inside, be careful to not get the stone stuck
while fitting it. Use a burr and make a concave from the middle of
the inside of the bezel to just below the edge. Don’t remove any
material from the edge. You can shape or thin the outside if need be.
You will have to be careful to not go through the side, from the
inside or outside.
When you go to set the stone, hopefully we know it needs to be
annealed at this point, the piece of jewelry must be in something to
hold it where the piece does not move, a vise is best, engravers
block can be used, but you must push against the opposing side with
as much pressure as you are putting on the side where you are moving
metal so the metal does not develop its springiness. In the least
amount of moving the metal, go around the stone and make sure all
sides are up against the edge of the stone. Then at a 45 degree
angle, push the metal against the stone so it touches the stone at
12, 6, 3 and 9 centering it, then all other edges. You must use the
effort required to do this in one or two pushes. The next thing you
want to do is go pretty much straight down, use a burnisher at a
very sight angle from horizontal, tip up.
If you cast a piece, you can basically do the same thing. Within
reason, snug fit, and as long as you concave the inside, the top will
move over to the stone. Pushing down can move the center of the bezel
away from the stone, but the edge is against it. Polish carefully,
don’t remove metal from the bezel at this point.
Hope this helps someone out there. Anyone else with a tip that works