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Bezels on a bracelt



I need to solder bezels all over a rounded cuff bracelet. If
anyone can offer me some tips it would be appreciated. I know I
can’t solder the bezels on a flat sheet of silver because then I
will not be able to hammer out the bracelet shape. I guess I would
have to slightly bend and distort the bezels so they conform to
the contours of the bracelet. What is the “proper” method?



Dede, this is the same problem as soldering bezels on rings–how
do you fit the bezel to a curved surface? Once you solve this
problem, you can apply the solution to a whole host of other
types of situations.

I bend my bracelet (or ring) to then desired shape. Then I fit
bezel wire around my chosen stone and solder the circle closed.

Next I use a cratex wheel on a polishing motor. Very carefully
and SLOWLY, I begin to grind down the bottom of the bezel circle
that will fit on the rounded surface. I “grind a little, and
look a lot.” That is, I frequently put the bezel on the surface
to check the fit. Wherever the bottom of the bezel touches the
bracelet–but there are still places that don’t touch–I grind
down the “high” spots that do touch.

Grinding the bezel tends to deform it, so I frequently reshape
the bezel circle around the stone. So the process is: gently
grind bezel highspots, reshape bezel around stone, check bezel
against the surface of the bracelet, look carefully, – over and

Periodically, you need to gently file away the burs fron the

You’ll need a little thicker bezel wire to withstand the motor.
You could do all this shaping with a hand file, but the cratex
wheel is much faster.

Virginia Lyons


Hammer out your bracelet shape first, then, make your bezels.
You can, more than likely, file the bottoms into the curved
shapes you need. I would use higher bezel than normal, your
stone won’t sit in a curved bottomed cup without some sort of
padding (I’d use sawdust to prop up the stone.) Have fun!!!


DeDe, This is what files are for! Mizzy wheels work great on this
too, but go slow. Grind the base of the bezel to match the curve
of the bracelet then solder them one at a time to the bracelet.
If the curve is really strong you may have to solder a small
strip of wire along the inner base to keep the stone from
wobbling in the setting.


Hi DeDe.

Bezels on a curved surface requires simply time and patience.
What you pretty much have to do is make the cuff bracelet, make
the bezels of a wider strip of metal than is necessary, and use a
half-round file to gradually shape the bottom of the bezel to fit
– a very lengthy process. If there is a faster way to do it, I
myself would like to hear it, but as far as I know it’s just time
and patience. Hope this helps.



Since I am relatively new at this, I don’t know what is
"proper," but I’ll tell you the procedure I was taught to make
bezels to be soldered onto a ring shank. First, you make the
bezel to fit the stone – obviously, the top and bottom of the
bezel will be parallel. Then measure the outside diameter of the
bracelet and find some item of the same diameter (for my ring I
used the handle of a dapping punch) – in this case, maybe you
can use a bracelet mandrel – I know they make them oval as well
as round, the only problem would be dealing with the taper of the
mandrel). Tape a piece of sand paper around the mandrel and
sand, moving the bezel lengthwise each bezel until it takes on
the curve of the mandrel you are using. Afterwards, all your
bezels should fit nicely on the bracelet and be ready for
soldering. I hope this made sense! N. Morvillo


I usually use a large rounded file to make the underside of the
bezel have a matching contour to the bracelet (or ring). Just
make sure the bezel sits flush. I use .999 bezel wire, so it’s a
"bottomless" bezel and the fine silver files very easily. I
suspect this may be harder with pre-made bezels. The alternative,
if your piece is from fairly heavy sheet, would be after you
shape the bracelet, file flat the areas on the bracelet where
each bezel will go. This will require a little extra clean up &
polishing. Good luck

Amy O’Connell
Amy O’Connell


Hi DeDe, Hi DeDe, I don’t know if there is a ‘proper’ method but
let me tell you what I learned from a museum school. The teacher
was trained in the European apprentice system. I was hoping that
there was a ‘trick’ that would make it easy. Here is what she
taught me. You make your bezel (choosing step bezel or not, as
usual) and make sure that the stone can fall into it, and fall
out of it when you pick the bezel up. Then you start filing the
bottom of the bezel until it matches the curve of your bracelet.
Then, just solder it on. It’s that one little sentence about
filing that is the devil. She said there wasn’t a trick. You just
use a curved file and trial and error. If anyone knows of a
secret, I am all ears. kathi parker


DeDe: You need to look at a few things first. Are the stones
your setting cabs or faceted? How big are the stones, are they
calibrated? How high is the wall of the bezel? Are you making
the bezels? Even if you bend the bezels will there still be
enough wall height left in the bezel to secure the stones? How
curved is the bracelet and how thick is it? Is the bracelet
domed? What direction are the stones going to go? Once you
solder the bezels on, can youcarve away some of the bracelet to
allow the bottom of the stone to sit lower and level? If the
stone sits in the bezel and rocks the potential to snap the stone
in half or chip the bottom of a faceted stone as you roll the
bezel over it is greater. Perhaps your design allows you to
expose the bottom of the stone? Having asked all these questiones
and a few more of myself before I even start, I’ll tell you that
7 out of 10 times I usually contour the bottom of the bezel to
the bracelet, Especially, if the stones are smaller and the
bracelet doesn’t have too great a curve. But every job is
different and may require a different approach. Since your
fabricating the bracelet body, experiment. Take a small piece of
scrap material and bend it to the shape of your bracelet and see
what happens when you bend or contour or even countersink the
bezel. You may find that the distortion of bending isn’t a
problem or that by bending you loose to much of the wall and the
stone bottoms out. Same is true if you conture the bottom of the
bezel our countersink it, the stone bottoms out and you can’t
secure it, because the body of the bracelet bulges into the
center of the bezel. Then you have to cut away some of the
bracelet. You’re lucking in that your creating from scratch and
can experiment, take that opportunity and do so. I’ve worked in
a shop were someone who didn’t know what it took to put together
the pieces, handed you and envelope with a bunch of pieces they
had ordered and said, “here put it together and make it look like
this”. I had a habit of hoarding bits and pieces from other
similar frustrations and most of the time never used half the
items in the envelope, but then the Gods smile on fools and
little children. Good luck, let us know what method you finally
use. Leslie


Hi Dede - I recently treated myself to a 7 3/4" crossing file.
It has a nice shallow curve and works well to shape the bottoms
of the bezels to fit on a curved surface. Also, treated myself
to a 7 3/4" barrette file another jewel of a tool! That’s all.


What has worked for me is to place sandpaper on the bracelet
it’s self and use the piece as your file. This will give you a
very close fit with just a little work with a file to adjust for
the size difference caused by the thickness of the paper. Before
filing, fill the bezel with a sawdust and wood glue mix to help
keep it’s shape.



Thinking out loud, is there such a device that can pattern out
the curve in order to better cut the bezel to shape? The earlier
suggestions seemed a bit labor intensive. I know there are
devices with multiple pins to assist in wood for moldings and
corners. Is it possible one of them could be used to determine
the exact curvature, locked into place, opened flat and traced
onto the open bezel strip?

There even should be a mathematical solution to mate the bezel
to the curve.



DeDe: The technic I have used when I wanted to solder multiple
bezels to a curved bracelet, was as follows: Construct the
bezels with an inner seat for your stones, but much taller than
you need. After curving the bracelet (without the bezels), trace
the outline of each bezel onto an Avery label, and position this
tracing at the place on the bracelet you desire, attach it to the
bracelet, and then pierce out an opening in which you can fit
the bezel. With some minor adjustments you can slide the bezel
into the opening and then solder them in place at the height you
desire. If carefully done you will not even see a seam at the

Just another way to go, which I favor! Hope this helps.  



Hi Folks,

In dentistry we use a high intensity counter indicator fluid.
It is to a dental tech what prussian blue is to a tool and die
maker. A coating of this in the area where you want to place
the bezel will cover it with a thin film of red marker which
dries (quickly). When you place the bezel the high spots will
have red “spots” to indicate where you need to adjust. You can
reapply as needed and it washes off with water. The product is
called Liqua-Mark and it comes in several colors. You can find
it in any dental lab catalog. It also works well if you are
trying to fit something in or through a hole.



Skip Meister
N.R.A. Endowment &
Certified Instructor
in all disciplines
Certified Illinois D.N.R.
Hunter Ed, Instructor

I need to solder bezels all over a rounded cuff bracelet. If
anyone can offer me some tips it would be appreciated.

DeDe -

As long as the bracelet surface is going to be textured after
you solder the bezels in place, the best method I’ve found to
accomplish this is to wrap your bracelet mandrel with a very
fine grit sandpaper or abrasive and carefully cut away a thin
crescent shape from the bottom of the bezel by rubbing the bezel
very slightly back and forth along the length of the mandrel at
the point where you’d want to affix the bezel to the bracelet.
This should make the bezel sit perfectly on the bracelet.
However, if it still needs to be trued up a bit I’ve had good
luck using one of the finer 3M finishing sheets pulled tightly
around the bracelet itself to remeve just a little more metal to
get a snug fit.

After you solder the bezel in place, if you’re not using a
stepped bezel be sure to either solder a wire inside so the
stone can lie flat or pack the bezel with sawdust. I only add
this last bit since I’ve actually sat up at 2 in the morning
trying to set a stone and every time I pushed on one side, the
other side popped up … and when I pushed on that side, the
other side popped up … It was frustrating, but kind of

Hope this helps,

Got Fish?
Amy & Phillip’s Amazing Aquaria


I find that contouring the bottom of the bezel “free hand” like
this is difficult with anything other than very small bezels,
since the inevitable deformation of the bezel shape makes fitting
difficult. So I make bezels that will need this fitting a bit
higher than needed, and then, after the bezel is shaped perfectly
to the stone, I imbed about the top half in a shellac stick,
leaving enough of the bottom exposed to be fitted to the curve
it will be soldered on to. I rough out the shape with a rotary
file in a flex shaft. VERY fast. Mere seconds. Because the
bezel is supported well by the shellac, it doesn’t just deform.
Might bend a tad at the most exposed edges, but this is easily
straightened again with pliers or a burnisher, since the shellac
keeps the basic desired shape of the bezel. After it’s roughed
out, then a half round file, such as an “inside ring” file
usually will fit the rest of the curve quite quickly. Generally,
I can fit a bezel, even fairly large ones, to a curve in this
manner is just a couple minutes, max. Would take me longer than
that to just go to the polishing machine and try to figure out
where I’d left the cratex wheel, and cratex wheels or grinding
wheels in general heat up the metal a lot more, so you HAVE to
work a bit slowly or your burn your fingers… If I need to, I
can sometimes use an emery cylinder (the things I use to sand
the inside of ring shanks) to touch up the fit, but usually, the
file’s done it quite well already. You do, then, have to wait a
bit while the last remnants of shellac dissolve in a jar of
alcohol (in the ultrasonic it’s quick) after you remove the bezel
from the shellac stick. but generally, there’s something else
on the bench I can do while I’m waiting.

Peter Rowe


Jim, I have made bezels for rings and bracelets before and have
had to reshape the bezel I file. I can’t wait to try your idea of
woodshavings and glue it sounds like a great idea! thanks Eileen


G’day; There has been a lot of how-to about getting bezels on a
curved surface. One question that doesn’t seem to have been asked

  • or answered - pertains to the question constantly confronting
    all work with small bits and heat. How the hell do you hold it
  • whatever it is and what’s to be done to it - without
    compromising the job or the holder? If a bezel is to be a
    ’bottomless’ one, and is to be made of a soft metal like fine
    silver of high carat gold to help in the job of burnishing over
    on to the stone, then that bezel is certainly going to distort
    with filing or even sanding. I find the lapidarist’s urge to
    dop everything has worked so well for thousands of years that I
    use it a lot. I get a piece of wood dowel a little bigger than
    the bezel and coat it with dopping wax (available from lapidary
    stockists) I warm the bezel, warm the dop stick and press the two
    gently together. Now I can sand, file, and generally commit
    mayhem (within reason!) on the bezel without distortion. When
    it is time to attach the bezel to the main job, it is easily
    removed from the dopstick by warming in meth spirit.

I am in the process at present of making a silver mounted
walking stick as a present for a very old friend - an excellent
amateur jeweller who has recently gone almost blind. The silver
is a very wide ring that covers the place where the stick joins
the handle, and will be about an inch diameter; a steep curve.
But because he retired from owning an orchard, I intend to place
on the ring a stylised apple and pear in jade and carnelian. The
stones are of course, virtually very shallow cabochons, and to
avoid ostentation, must have a low profile. Therefore the backs
of the stones will have to be curved to match the ring, as will
the bezel, and the part of the ring where the stones rest will
have to be polished to give highlights to the polished 'apple’
and ‘pear’. So they too will have to be dopped in order to do the
shaping on grindstones. Incidentally, the stick and handle are
carved from wood taken from native bush adjacent to his old
orchard which he loved. Cheers, –

       / /
      / /
     / /__|\
    (_______)  In sunny temperate Mapua NZ -

Autumn’s here…


Hi All, The method I use, is to rough out the curve to
approximately fit the

ring shank or bracelet / cuff curve with a file, then using
double sided tape, stick some 400 grit to the bracelet or ring
shank then finish the bezel to fit by sanding. Remove the tape
and emery then solder. Cheers Brian [ In the Antipodes ]


Thanks everyone for the input on bezels on a bracelt question.
I actually have used Ddule method of piercing (or sometimes
drilling) an opening for the bezel in hollow body pieces I make.
It never occured to me to file the back side of a bezel to fit a
piece (duh! I always do things the HARD way - instead of the
logically way).

Anyway, thanks!