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Bezel setting a shark's tooth


#1

I have been asked to bezel set a rather large shark’s tooth.
Normally, on a stone with an uneven back, I would cushion it with
sawdust. This is to be worn as a talisman while surfing and since it
will get wet, I don’t think the sawdust is a good idea.

Does anyone have a good suggestion as to something I could use to
cushion the tooth against the back plate? Something that will hold up
to getting repeatedly wet.

Thanks for any help!

Linda Blumel


#2

linda -

a good suggestion as to something I could use to cushion the tooth
against the back plate? Something that will hold up to getting
repeatedly wet.

the best material is E600 adhesive; it sets quickly but never
hardens into a backing that could crack with prolonged wearing. it
makes whatever is set on top of it self-leveling - won’t shift as
sawdust does (sawdust is biodegradable so it breaks down before too
long) don’t roll over the bezel until the adhesive has set - if any
oozes up, let it dry/set, trim and pull off before rolling over the
bezel - i’ve used E600 under bezel set stones - especially my - opals
for years - it is by far the best stone padding-leveler-security.

good luck -
ive


#3
Does anyone have a good suggestion as to something I could use to
cushion the tooth against the back plate? Something that will hold
up to getting repeatedly wet. 

When setting cabochons in mountings I’ve made that have solid backs,
I’ve been using pieces of neoprene from an old wetsuit a friend of
mine was going to discard. I’ve also used pieces of old mouse pads.
They make great cushions and I don’t think they’ll rot as quickly as
sawdust.

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL


#4

cork sheet you can buy it at lowes in a large roll will last a
lifetime it allows for you to file it thinner to back the correct
height and it cushions my cameos quite well :slight_smile:

Teri
Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry
www.corneliusspick.com


#5

Hi Linda:

Does anyone have a good suggestion as to something I could use to
cushion the tooth against the back plate? Something that will hold
up to getting repeatedly wet. 

I use E6000 quite a lot to fasten a piece of leather to the back
side of a cabochon. This holds the cab in place just enough for me to
get the stitching securely going around the base. Anyway, I noticed
that when it dries, E6000 is a bit “springy” and am wondering if this
might work for your project. This sounds very interesting and I am
wondering if you would follow a procedure similar to bezel-setting a
"bullet" shaped stone? I am thinking that the tooth has an oval base
and tapers out to a point gradually and you are putting the oval base
into the bezel.

Good Luck
Kim Starbard


#6
Does anyone have a good suggestion as to something I could use to
cushion the tooth against the back plate? Something that will hold
up to getting repeatedly wet. 

Since it’s for a surfer, a piece of wetsuit neophrene might do the
trick. It could be from one of the surfer’s own wornout/outgrown
wetsuits for extra “wa”.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL
@Ron_Charlotte1 OR afn03234@afn.org


#7

Neoprene works great as a cushion and it’s designed to get wet. If
you can get some old wet suit scraps it will all fit with the surfing
talisman. All surf shops have neoprene scraps for repairing old wet
suits.

Jeff Georgantes
Dartmouth College


#8

I have to bezel set a tusk - I am approaching this as a very large
bezel, and am thinking that the base will be sterling and the 'cup’
edge should be fine sterling so I can shape it around the irregular
wall of the tusk but I’m not sure what thickness this should be and
if I should cushion the tusk against the bottom. Does anyone have any
similar experience and can offer me advice? I will check through the
archives, but are there any books that can help me with this large
project?

Thanks,
Regards,
Sarah
Botswana


#9
Does anyone have a good suggestion as to something I could use to
cushion the tooth against the back plate? Something that will hold
up to getting repeatedly wet. 

A good quality silicone caulk will solve your problem.


#10

Hey Sarah… Check out this page…
http://tinyurl.com/lmqft

I recently set a dog tooth for a client and decided to do something
similar to what you are thinking. I glued the tooth into the bezel as
well as carved a groove with a file for the bezel to hold. I (filed)
smoothed out the irregularities so that the bezel would fit snug. It
came out great and the client loved it. at least this might give you
an idea as to what the final product will look like. I also used
rubber as the chording so that it could withstand water. (not sure
about salt water??)

Good luck…
Shauna Gilardi
www.designsbygilardi.com


#11

Bezel setting a shark’s tooth can be kind of tricky. The front side
of the tooth often has area “above the gumline” to set against. The
back side is usually flat. (Obviously this varies a lot from tooth
to tooth). I like to use a product call QuikPlastik by Polymeric
Systems (available at Home Depot with the glues in the paint
department). It comes on a card in a tube as a two part putty. You
knead the two parts together and then you sink the top of the tooth
into it and shape it how you like. The nice thing is that you can
build up the area above the gumline on the back a smidge, giving you
the ability to bezel set easier (because you have something for your
bezel to grab onto). As a hardened plastic, you can carve it or sand
it with your standard tools if you need to take an area down a bit,
or you can add more on if you need to build it up. After I build up
the sides of the tooth, I like to stand the tooth point up on a
piece of scrap to get the tooth at a good angle to the base. Then you
just let it harden and do your bezel setting.

I’d be interested in hearing how others set their shark teeth.

Jim


#12

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. At first I was thinking to build-up wax over
the root and then cast that as a cup to hold the claw, but that was
looking pretty ugly.

I have asked the owner for permission to cut a piece off the root
end to give me a flat base that I could set a bezel around. I am
thinking 2-part epoxy resin for support inside a wide fine silver
bezel. I think that might also work with a tusk, but perhaps use a two
part silicone as a cushion.

Nanz Aalund
Associate Editor / Art Jewelry magazine
21027 Crossroads Circle / Waukesha WI 53187-1612
262.796.8776 ext. 228


#13

Bezel setting a shark’s tooth can be kind of tricky. The front side
of the tooth often has area “above the gumline” to set against. The
back side is usually flat. (Obviously this varies a lot from tooth
to tooth). I like to use a product call QuikPlastik by Polymeric
Systems (available at Home Depot with the glues in the paint
department). It comes on a card in a tube as a two part putty. You
knead the two parts together and then you sink the top of the tooth
into it and shape it how you like. The nice thing is that you can
build up the area above the gumline on the back a smidge, giving you
the ability to bezel set easier (because you have something for your
bezel to grab onto). As a hardened plastic, you can carve it or sand
it with your standard tools if you need to take an area down a bit,
or you can add more on if you need to build it up. After I build up
the sides of the tooth, I like to stand the tooth point up on a
piece of scrap to get the tooth at a good angle to the base. Then you
just let it harden and do your bezel setting.

I’d be interested in hearing how others set their shark teeth.

Jim


#14

Nanz,

Bezel setting dead animal parts always gets me. 

It’s always interesting to think about the strange things that have
come our way. Let’s see I’ve set puppy teeth, shark teeth, bear claws
(they DO get nasty on the ends), human teeth (yes for two different
customers, unrelated, within the same two month period),
tyrannosaurus rex teeth, pieces of shale from the top of Mt. Everest,
pieces of the Berlin Wall (ok so these last two aren’t animal related
but still pretty cool) and I once had to do an appraisal on a monkey
skull (long and complicated story not worth repeating).

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-234-4392
@Daniel_R_Spirer
www.spirerjewelers.com


#15
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…


#16

Hi Jim,

I'd be interested in hearing how others set their shark teeth 

Long time ago, way back when in '73, I exhumed a buried shark my dad
had caught and collected the teeth and vertebrae. The vertebrae made
interesting beads. I made a choker out of the teeth by drilling a
hole at the bottom of each tooth and wired them together. It didn’t
take too long to realize I was going to gradually end up with a
severed head! So, I transferred the wired teeth to a length of
leather with snaps for a much safer and comfortable choker. I still
have it, the white teeth on the dark suede looks pretty cool and
makes quite the statement!

Marta


#17

It is extremely important that I lodge this little reminder in the
archives. At least a decade ago, a good friend had an elk tooth set
alongside a diamond for his fiance’s ring. A slip with a for-metal
buff or brush put a big, ugly gray/black mark on the set tooth.

Keep any and all rotary metal finishing stuff away from teeth,
bones, ivory, antler, and similar materials. Finish metals first, and
then do setting so well that little, if any, follow-up finishing is
needed.

Any polishing on bonelike materials needs to be done with white
compound (Fabulustre) and dedicated brushes/buffs. Basically, treat
it like platinum.

Enough being the catcher in the rye.

Dan, IJS


#18

Dear Shauna and Nanz,

Thanks for the advice. I checked out your website Shauna which is
lovely -

great photos and lovely jewellery. However, the tusks I have to set
are elephant tusks - the client wants the large ends capped in
sterling silver. As I said, I am approaching these as two large
bezels - they are approx. 14cms in width. I think the base should be
about 19ga sheet, but I am not sure what thickness to use as the
’bezel’ wall and whether they should be ‘cushioned’ into the bezel or
just fit flush into them - can anyone help? The client wants the
bezel wall to be quite substantial. Nanz, you said to use a two-part
epoxy resin to cushion the tusks into the bezel - is this the same as
a two-part epoxy glue? I agree that the wall should be fine silver.

By the way, this is legal elephant ivory with a legal license and
the trophy company will make sure the edges of the tusks are flat for
the silver caps.

Thanks again for your advice.

Regards,
Sarah
Botswana


#19

Hi, My name is Kat Gannon.

I think I have only posted once or twice. Anyway in reference to the
shark tooth thing.

I have found the best way to set them is to create a setting that is
a T in the back and then mount it like a stone. This way there is no
damage to the tooth by drilling. Use a heavy gg wire I think I use
16 then when you bend the wire around you can use the vector setting
method to tighten.

Okay have had a lot of call for this and I have quite a few shark
teeth when I was a teenager I had the opportunity to live in spain
and every day this was entertainment in the late 70’s spains tv was
terrible.

Any way hope this helps. Kat


#20

Sarah, when I lived in South America, a friend returning from Africa
gave me a hippo tooth mounted as a bottle opener. The cap on the end
(containing the opener part) was made of cast pot metal. Diameter of
the tooth (around 15 cm long) was approximately 4 cm and the bezel
wall was 2mm thickness and the height was 2 cm, the base was more
like 3mm thick. I don’t know if this will help you but could show you
what the proportions should be. After I lived in Nairobi I felt so
badly about a hippo being killed to make bottle openers that I gave
the thing away to someone doing scrimshaw but I vividly remember size
and thickness of the metal.

Donna in VA