Bezel setting dead animal parts always gets me. I recently
received a grizzly bear claw from a native Alaskan friend. The root
(which was the part ripped out of the dead animals paw) is so
irregular that I can't fit a bezel to it.
I don’t know about setting shark teeth, but I do set a lot of bear
claws. It first must be sawed horizontally to remove the knobby part
of the root. That means the knobby part of the root will be waste.
Remove any dead tissue from the rest of the claw that can be easily
removed with a scraping tool. Use a cratex wheel to remove any
stubborn parts (use a mask from here on). Use a hard felt with
tripoli or white diamond to remove any irregularities, but use a soft
touch so you don’t remove the outer layer of claw itself. Polish with
a soft muslin wheel and Zam or rouge. You can now bezel set it on
the root part, as it has an area that is not tapered. If you have
problems with getting it to grasp, you can serrate the bezel. I don’t
use any epoxy to set the claw, because all will soften the claw and
make it gummy.
I’m not keen on setting dead animal parts either, and would not wear
something like that. Just can’t get into the idea, and I am Native
American. But I do get many commissions for claws of all types of
animals (cougar, badger, bear), as well as teeth (elk), and antlers
(mostly sheds that I carve). I set these for both Native Americans
for totems and fetishes, and Anglos for trophies. Oh yes, and I have
set human baby teeth. Hmmm…