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Bezel setting inner ring position


#1

Inner ring (bezel setting), where is it supposed to sit under the
stone?

Hi there! I have finally overcome my fear of setting a faceted
stone, ina bezel setting. The first couple of attempts, I tried
soldering a round wire to the inside of the bezel. But ran into a
couple of problems getting the wire to stay level. Sometimes it
would ride up. So I decidedto try using a second piece of bezel wire
(shorter of course), as the seat. Am just curious as to where this
inner wire is supposed to hit the stone? Maybe I am using too thick
sheet, but I find that it sits much lowerdown on the stone that I
would have thought, meaning that if I were to place the stone on it,
without the outer bezel, the stone can be rocked from side to side.
Yet when I assemble it all together, it seems more stable. Still, it
doesn’t seem like I am doing it right at all.

I also have a second question: I left the inner wire inside the
bezel while constructing the rest of the ring, and accidentally
fused it on an angle, to the outer wire. (Am using Argentium). Which
kind and size of bur wouldbe good for carefully trimming down a
portion of the inner wire? Many thanks!


#2

Rosamond,

The inner wire should be placed so that when the bezel is brought
over the stone it finishes at 10 percent over the crown. now I would
measure with you dividers the distance from the table top to the
girdles lower edge. Add 1mm to that because you would allow for your
pavilion.

I would mark this with your dividers on the inside of the bezel wall.
Use a small ball bur to cut a slight notch into the wall on the
inside following closely the mark. Make your wire 18 ga. or one mm
to fit the inside with a slight snap into the ball bur indentation.
Solder these together. Cut your seat mimicking the girdle. Set the
stone using bezel pusher working opposites to tack first. Start at
one end. then the other. check level. tack one width. check level.
then tack the fourth. Work the bezel down between these tacked edges
working opposites again.

I would cut the excess of the wire you mention in the second question
away with a ball bur.

Happy Setting.

Russ
The Jewelry CAD Institute


#3

Rosamond- When we bezel set faceted stones we make a bezel thick
enough to cut a stone seat and then set the stone. Fewer steps than
soldering a wire inside and once you get good at cutting a level
seat your job will be easy.

I like my students to practice on silver and CZs.

Cut the seat with a setting burr. I always periodically rotate my
work when drilling or cutting a seat so I cut it level. On the top
of the outside of the bezel, bevel it so that when you start to
hammer the metal will fold in towards the stone. With a chasing
hammer and a punch, take light hits and slowly work the metal evenly
all the way around. Just before it is all the way down on the stone
then take a graver and bright cut the inside edge of the bezel where
it would meet the stone to make it nice and smooth and crisp looking.
Finish bringing down the bezel. Smooth out the outside of the bezel,
polish and you’re done.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#4
The inner wire should be placed so that when the bezel is brought
over the stone it finishes at 10 percent over the crown. 

!0% over crown! So 10 pointer looks like 7 pointer after setting.

1 carat diamond, 6.5mm in diameter becomes 5.85mm.

But it even worse than it appears. One carat diamond has surface
area of 33.18 mm^2, while 5.85mm diamond has 26.87 mm^2. That is
reduction of 19% of returned light. Does everyone fully appreciate
the loss of value? It is a classical example how gemstone becomes
less valuable after been set.

I have said it over and over again. Bezel setting is not trivial,
not trivial at all.

Leonid Surpin
Studioarete.com


#5
Just before it is all the way down on the stone then take a graver
and bright cut the inside edge of the bezel where it would meet
the stone to make it nice and smooth and crisp looking. 

That was a particularly good tip Jo, doing the bright cutting just
before the bezel reaches the stone. I will usually use a flat graver
to bright cut, but very slightly blunt the corner that could touch
the stone on my oil stone. I’m careful never to touch the stone, but
a little insurance never hurts. I sometimes bright cut the bezel
after it’s all the way down, but Plan A is to do it just before
that. I would second Jo’s method of skipping the inner ring and just
make the bezel thicker, then cut your seat.

Mark


#6

Jo, thanks for the detailed on bezel setting of faceted
stones. From your description of the process I can see where you are
an excellent teacher.

I do have a couple of questions.

I have a number of faceted stones waiting to be set. Is there a rule
as to the best gauges to use for different size stones? Would larger
stones requre a thicker gauge?

I have no problem burring a seat for round stones, using my stone
setting burrs. Oval, square, and other shaped stones are an entirely
different matter. How does one ream out a seat for them?

Alma


#7

Thanks Alma-

It depends really on your design and how you want it to look after.
As with any setting you never want to cut your seat more than 45-50%
of the thickness of the metal holding it. We use a combination of
burrs and gravers. Establish the seat with a small ball or bearing
burr and then if it’s big enough to fit a graver inside then cut the
rest of the seat with gravers. You can also use setting burrs as
well. Remember to be sure to relieve the points of any stones like a
marquise, pear, or princess cut with a tiny ball burr so that the
point floats and the stone is secured by the metal on the sides net
to the point.

A good secure setting is a much about the seat as it is about the
metal on top of the stone.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#8

My apologies to Jo Haemer. I have only just read your reply to a
question which was directed to you personally, after sending a
response to a post made by someone else, so I hope I haven’t stepped
on your toes. Fortunately our methods are similar, although they do
differ in one regard.

I have worked using both “make setting thicker and cut seat
afterwards usinga setting burr” and “make setting and solder in a
separate seat” methods, and while the former method is absolutely
fine for a round stone, I have found it difficult to impossible to do
this for princess, pear, triangle, trillion, marquise and heart
shaped stones. So I have found it necessary to make aslightly smaller
and shorter in height inner bezel which acts as a seat when soldered
in. I always file an angle on the top edge of the inner bezel, for
the stone to sit on and I turn the stone, setting and inner bezel
upside down and use the stone as a guide to where the inner bezel
must fit inside the setting. Place the stone upside down on a clean,
flat surface, up-end the setting onto it, and then slide the inner
bezel, top, filed edge first, into the back of the setting. I
sometimes need to give it a soft tap with a nylon hammer if the fit
is particularly tight. When it reaches the pavilion of the stone,
that’s where it sits. Carefully remove the stone and solder the inner
bezel in place. I solder from the back too, as it’s both easier and
neater. ioften need to do a little sanding on the setting’s
back/bottom edge, to make the setting and inner bezel one neat, level
unit. This always leaves me with a setting that fits the stone, with
the seat usually the right height to turn just the bezel over onto
the edge of the girdle. I do sometimes have to sand a little off the
top - it depends on the stone’s angles - so that there is not an
excess of bezel which would obscure the stone. For me, personally
this method works well for all shapes of stone, including round, as I
have found difficulty in cutting seats level and without gouging
wells into the bezel wall! Cutting the seat in the corners of fancy
shaped settings, I have found impossible. Obviously I have far less
experience than you do, hence my limitations.

In answer to another question that arose out of this topic, bigger
stones doindeed require thicker metal, if nothing else, for the
visual balance to beright, but also for structural integrity.

Helen
UK


#9
I have said it over and over again. Bezel setting is not trivial,
not trivial at all. 

Nor are they difficult - so long as you have common sense. [] The
vast majority of problems I see with bezel settings (and it often
includes jewellers with many decades experience), stem from the fact
that the bezel material is far too thin (so that the jeweller can
"roll" it onto the stone with one hand!) and too tall for the stone,
so that it is not only ugly, obscuring far too much of the stone, but
there are also gaps where it has not been possible to close the
bezel, as it springs back out in another area, while being closed.

The above, I have learned by my own mistakes, experience and common
sense. There seem to be so many myths when it comes to bezel
setting, such as the notion that you have to saw/file notches in any
bezel setting which has corners, or file the corners lower! This
myth creates some of the ugliest bezel settings I’ve ever seen and
it is simply not necessary. As long as you have made enough room for
the corners, on the inside of the bezel setting (and haveconstructed
the setting using thick enough metal), you can neatly set princess,
triangle, trillion, pear, and even sharp-pointed marquise (navette)
shaped stones. Heart shaped stones can also be set, without the aid
of ugly notches (even at the cleft), so long as the metal being
turned onto the stone is the bare minimum needed to secure the stone
and still show the maximum surface area of the stone.

If you are making jewellery out of really thin sterling (or
particularly fine silver), and closing bezels using one hand, while
holding the jewellery inthe other, then for really neat, much
stronger bezels, think about completely rethinking your setting
procedures.

  1. Make bezel settings out of thicker metal (I personally use 0.5mm
    to 1.0mm sheet depending on the size of the stone to be set).

  2. When measuring the stone’s height, only allow about 0.5-0.66mm
    above the girdle for faceted stones, and a “smidgen” above where the
    profile changes shape for cabochons. Faceted stones are more
    complicated, as the setting will need a seat either cutting into it
    (if it’s made thick enough), or soldered into the setting, slightly
    below the top edge.

  3. The neatest setting can only be achieved if the top edge of the
    bezel is sanded really flat, and maintained without disturbance.
    This is the part of the bezel which frames the stone nicely after
    setting.

  4. Set the jewellery in setter’s cement, thermoplastic or similar,
    in a vice, engraver’s ball or similar, so that you have both hands
    free. One for a hammer and the other for a setting punch of some
    description.

  5. Close the bezel in the usual way, ie 12, 6, 9, 3 o’clock, going
    round again, a few times, until the bezel is neatly closed and
    compressed. The setting punch/hammer can also be used to "burnish"
    the setting if force is appliedlaterally as well as inwards. I do
    this to remove any tool marks that may have been made and to make
    sure that the thickness of metal has compressed evenly all round the
    setting.

  6. Loupe with x10 jeweller’s loupe or similar, on a regular basis,
    to highlight the areas which need more work.

  7. Hopefully this step won’t be needed, but any persistent tool
    marks can befiled/sanded/polished out after setting.

On a side, but related note, I am even more convinced about the need
to use thicker metal, and to avoid thin, fine silver for bezels,
after witnessing the wear on a thick silver ring that has been worn
constantly for less than a year. I made a heavy, thick, heavily
hammer textured sterling ring for my daughter last March after her
boyfriend died. She wanted to wear it on her wedding finger to feel
closer to him, and to avoid unwanted attention from othermales. She
has worn the ring constantly ever since and the hammered textureis
all but worn away!!! Anything softer than sterling, whilst it may be
physically strong enough to hold a stone, will suffer scratches and
general wear and won’t retain a neat appearance.

My apologies for the above essay!!!

Helen
UK


#10

Helen- My toes are just dandy.

I’m with you on the “rolled” one handed bezel setting. I’m shocked
at how many students have been taught to use a bezel rocker instead
of the hammer and punch method. Thanks for putting in the 3-6-9-12
o’clock bit. I forgot to put that in. It’s so important to do
opposites in prongs and bezels.

I’m also really big on rotating work as I file, drill and cut seats
to even out the tendency to lean one way or another. I just stand
over my students and drive them crazy. “Rotate, rotate, rotate,
rotate.” It’s so annoying that they master the rotating habit
quickly.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#11
Nor are they difficult - so long as you have common sense. 

And you have been trained correctly and I don’t mean watching a
suspect video on you tube.

I see very few bezel settings that are done correctly.

There should be NO gap between the bezel and the stone.

I repeat NONE. This is when louped.

With a cabochon the edge of the bezel should be flat (unusual
profiled stones may be an exception) when looking side on and be
highly polished.

With soft stones the edge can be polished with a felt buff in a
flexi- drive using Hyfin.

Soft or brittle stones should not be set in rings, the reason is
obvious.

.5mm should be the minimum bezel thickness…7mm sterling is much
better.

The exception is opals that should be set in fine silver or 22kt.

Richard


#12

Thank you, Helen, for your instructions. Since I’ve started making
more open-backed bezels, I’ve been searching for details regarding
estimating bezel height, as well as that of the seat. Your
suggestions will surely be helpful.

Linda in central FL


#13

Great points Helen and Jo! I wish to add a few tips for cutting a
seat for square or pointed stones using gravers.

The inside corners of the setting are where the shavings all bunch up
and are difficult to break free. As Jo says, the very tips of pointed
stones must be free-floating, yet covered by the bezel.

Cutting a ‘V’ directly downwards at the corner, so that the ‘V’ is
slightly outside the final dimensions of the stone point, and deep
into the seat so that the point of the stone has no seat,
accomplishes two cutting the bezel inner wall and the seat, the
shavings will break free with a click as the graver reaches the ‘V’.

If the corners of the stone are 90 degrees, then I cut the
vertival-down cuts with a 60 degree or less graver. For finer pointed
stones such as marquis and pear, a narrower graver is needed. Narrow
gravers are naturally weaker at the cutting edge, and these downward
cuts are tough on the graver, thus the sharpening angle needs to be
’blunt’…closer to 90 degrees than 45 degrees. A small radius on the
profile/section of the narrow graver will make it stronger, but then
the down cut needs to be a little deeper in order to clear the sharp
point of the stone.

The down cuts can preceed the horizontal cuts in degrees, what I mean
is you can cut shallow down cuts, then horizontal cuts until the down
cuts are gone, then more down-cuts and so on. This makes life easier
for the graver point, and for me, ends up in a better final fit.

Regards, Alastair


#14
Nor are they difficult - so long as you have common sense. And you
have been trained correctly and I don't mean watching a suspect
video on you tube. 

I haven’t been trained. I’ve trained myself by the wisdom of Orchid,
readinglots of books and my own few years of experience (read
mistakes and learning a lot from them).

I agree with everything you said about bezels.

Helen
UK


#15

[*] Russ Hyder - I am a complete novice in this area : when you say
to solderthe 18 ga wire (do you have a preference on shape of wire),
and then cut aseat, is that because the stone needs more than just
the wire ‘ledge’ to stay steady? What thickness of bezel wire do you
recommend as well as size of bur?

[*] Jo - what do you use to hold the ring such that it is level and
stable? Also do you still make a second, inner bezel? And
thirdquestion, just curious at to why you would use a graver with the
stone in its setting vs. before starting the setting? (can you tell
that I don’t owna graver and don’t know how to use one, yet). I was
having fun running various types of burnishers over the edge, but
that would have been the outer edge, not inner. Fascinating! So much
to learn!

[*] Mark - thanks for the tip re. blunting the edge of the graver

[*] Helen - I have a couple of questions for you, re. #3 (sanding
the edge flat). I hadbeen cutting an angle into the bezel wire prior
to setting the stone, using a file, to make for a nice looking (I
thought) finish… and to thin out the metal a little bit bec I have
yet to get all of the metal down without some work (I don’t use fine
silver). I suppose that by starting with it thick, you are able to
remove the tool marks (I have very little finesse inmy technique at
this point) and get that nice, bright edge later. One thing that i
had noticed is that if I messed up the bezel at all, it was a
challenge to get the edge back, if I had already angled the bezel
prior tosetting. Second question, for setting a pointy or sharp edge
cab (not faceted stone), how do you make sure that there is enough
room in the bezel to not have excess when setting? I have ended up
with some pretty weird corners, not quite snug enough on the stone
and slightly rounded.


#16

Hope it might be helpful. It is not definitive.

See my Ganoksin blog 'On Your Metal’
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1ub

David Cruickshank (Australia)
jewellerydavidcruickshank.com.au


#17
Helen- My toes are just dandy. 

I’m glad about that Jo.

I'm also really big on rotating work as I file, drill and cut
seats to even out the tendency to lean one way or another. 

And I forgot to mention that! I also rotate the work as I go.

I need to try the graver technique to cut seats, although I don’t
understandhow it’s possible to cut a level seat into a tube or any
other shaped setting, or how you would neatly remove the necessary
(small amount of) metal above the newly cut seat. I can see that if I
do my usual technique of soldering an inner bezel into the setting, a
graver would make a nice, even seat, using the top of the inner bezel
as a guide for the graver. This would be a more professional result
than me filing the strip at an angle before forming it and soldering
it in place. I must admit to being a little nervous about trying
this, even though I do have setting gravers set up and ready to use!

Any tips would be greatly appreciated thanks.

Helen
UK


#18
I have a couple of questions for you, re. #3 (sanding the edge
flat). I hadbeen cutting an angle into the bezel wire prior to
setting the stone, using a file, to make for a nice looking (I
thought) finish. and to thin out the metal a little bit bec I have
yet to get all of the metal down without some work (I don't use
fine silver). I suppose that by starting with it thick, you are
able to remove the tool marks (I have very little finesse inmy
technique at this point) and get that nice, bright edge later. One
thing that i had noticed is that if I messed up the bezel at all,
it was a challenge to get the edge back, if I had already angled
the bezel prior to setting. 

Forgive me Ros, I’m not 100% sure what the question is, but I can
say that the method I use will differ from what other people do, in
some way or other. I know some people do like to do things like
angle the outside of the bezel, partly to make it thinner so that
they can turn it onto the stone more easily. I don’t do this
personally, because it’s not necessary if using the hammer and
setting punch method of bezel setting. If you like the effect it
gives to your finished settings, then go for it. It may be part of
your signature look. But whatever you do, make every effort not to
disturb the neat topedge of the bezel. You don’t want nicks or tool
marks in that. Personally, Ilike to preserve the entire thickness of
the metal in the top edge, sandingit nice and flat/level, and not
disturbing it at all (apart from obviously “pushing” it over
sideways onto the stone), as that is the edge that frames my stones.
It looks even nicer if you go round with a small burnisher after
setting, being very careful not to scratch the stone, to make a more
reflective inner edge.

Yes, using thicker metal does mean that you can more easily
eradicate tool marks, should you be unfortunate enough to have made
any, but for the vast majority of the time, if all goes well, there
are no tool marks to get rid of in the first place. But for sure, if
your metal’s too thin and you cause toolmarks, then you run the risk
of breaking through the bezel when trying to remove them - I did
this a few times in my early months of metalsmithing, until I
realised that for numerous reasons, I needed thicker metal.

Second question, for setting a pointy or sharp edge cab (not
faceted stone), how do you make sure that there is enough room in
the bezel to not have excess when setting? I have ended up with
some pretty weird corners, not quite snug enough on the stone and
slightly rounded. 

I think the problem is a combination of the bezel being too "long"
for the stone (ie excess length when calculating bezel length around
the stone), and not quite thick enough metal - also it must not be
too tall. If you form yourmetal and solder it closed and do a trial
fit, if the stone fits snugly andthere are no gaps, there should be
no excess, AS LONG as the bezel is also not too tall. This is
crucial. It should only be tall enough that there is a very small
amount of metal more than where the profile of the stone changes
from upright to angled - sometimes difficult to judge, but I just
eyeball it with the stone sat against my steel ruler, with the
stone’s base sat at a major point on the scale and I can simply see
how many millimetres tall it needs to be.

If the bezel length and height are correct and the stone fitting
snugly, butyou are still getting funky corners that won’t close,
then I would definitely suggest it is a metal thickness issue. Thin
metal is much more springy than thicker metal, and it work hardens
more quickly, so when trying to set the stone, you work around it in
the usual 12, 6, 9, 3 manner, but find that just as you think you’re
almost done, you get gaps appearing, because as soonas you push the
bezel in in one position, it springs out again either side of where
you pushed it in!!! This is cured by using a thicker bezel strip.
There is more thickness of metal to accommodate compression forces -
“squish factor”. Imagine a sponge. when you squeeze it, it
compresses. The same (but obviously to a lesser extent) with a
thicker bezel. This extra thickness actually takes up the
compression forces you’re applying, so that the metal turns over
onto the stone, gets ever so slightly thinner, but does NOT spring
back out, creating gaps.

Sometimes, however, when setting really sharply pointed stones, no
matter how much you try to compress the metal neatly at the corners,
even after thereare no longer any gaps around the stone after
"turning" the bezel - check with your loupe (and assuming all issues
above have already been addressed), there may still be be some funky
looking excess metal on the outer edge of the corners that just
won’t compress. This is again where thicker metal is a distinct
advantage. The metal can quickly be filed/sanded/polished back to a
neat profile, without the risk of filing right through, once happy
with all of the above. Some people like to file notches or cut slits
into bezel corners before setting, to avoid such problems, but
personally, I find them reallyugly. Most times, that’s how they were
taught so feel it’s the only way. I prefer to close to bezel onto
the stone, with regular inspections with the loupe, until there are
no gaps whatsoever, and only then go around and file the corner back
to the correct profile, flush with the adjacent sides, if necessary.

One of the best things I did when developing my bezel setting
technique, wasto go all over the Internet, looking at images of
bezel set jewellery. You’ll be shocked at how many bad examples
there are, but it will tell you what aspects of bezel setting you
don’t like, and you’ll be able to work towards making sure you don’t
make the same mistakes yourself.

I’m SO sorry for the lengthy reply, but I find it really difficult
to explain all the little details without being so wordy.

Regards,
Helen
UK


#19

Hi

After I have soldered the inner bezel, either tube or wire, I use a
hart burr to cut the seat.

I use 4mm and 5mm burrs and don’t set anything smaller than my
mandrels.

Richard