In forming the little metal curls, think of making a ball of ice
cream with a scoop. You dig the scoop into the ice cream and bring
it forward to form the ball,
G’day. Yes, all fine and dandy and easily visualised. BUT! It
isn’t those little balls which form the important part of the setting.
No? No it isn’t. When a graver is pushed into the metal toward the
setting hole, it does indeed form an ‘ice cream scoop curl’. At the
same time the metal in front of the graver is stressed so that just
a fraction before the setting hole is reached a tiny lump is formed
which protrudes past the circumference of the hole, and it is this
which forms the restraining part of the ‘star’ or ‘bead’ setting.
You see, if the setting hole is made correctly, the stone seats with
the girdle a little below the surface of the metal, with a conical
portion for the pavilion to safely sit upon. Which is what setting
burrs are for. (Why the burr has a conical and then a parallel
portion) You will also see that the little protuberance beyond the
circumference of the seating, made by the graver, will hold the stone
far more safely than that little weak curl of metal which is
subsequently shaped into a ball with the beading tool(s). That is
done solely for decorative purposes.
It is difficult to make one’s own setting burrs; they are not very
expensive and every jewellery tool provider can supply them at very
reasonable cost. (even I can afford some) But it is easy to make a
beading tool. Simply take a piece of what we call silver steel, or
what you call drill steel rod (carbon steel) and using a dental ball
shaped burr - or at a pinch even a small twist drill - or both - to
make a hemispherical hollow in the end of the rod. Grind the rod to a
taper, harden and temper it properly, and voila!! a beading tool. Use
it to shape and burnish that ‘ice cream curl’ to a nice ball.
Details of hardening and tempering appear in the Orchid archives. Or
if you really don’t want the hunt, email me. Happy pave or star or
bead setting and cheers, –
John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ