Deep drawing small bezels

While I usually make my own bezel cups because the stones I cut are not standard and I need a thicker wall, there are times when I would just like to use a manufactured bezel cup. This is especially the case for a smalI line of inexpensive bracelets that I make. I am generally not very happy with the quality of most purchased bezel cups and they don’t always fit the size stone that I am setting. I have been researching deep drawing, but don’t find much on simple smaller objects like a bezel cup. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to draw simple bezel cups or where to look for information on the tooling needed? Thanks and stay safe…Rob


This was covered in the Santa Fe Symposium papers 2002 and 2020. The 2002 paper covers all forms of deep draw and is available at no cost on the SFS website.

We’ve made many bezel DD die sets from 6.2mm up to 1.5” in 20 and 18 ga. If you learn the principles and have a good precision lathe and a heat-treat kiln then you can make them to suit your needs.


Bonny Doon Engineering

this may be a crazy idea, but! you could custom make using chasing (to mark shape) and repousse (to “deep draw” the cup) technique and a few proper shaped small! punches…check fit often as you anneal?

It could be fun! I am loving chasing and repousse!

i suggest the smaller pitch bowl for better access to small parts…can use pitch on wood base, on sandbag…

Saigne Charlestein sells punches individually, and has xs sizes…and he has good tutorials on youtube for understanding concepts…and has good pitch!

And of course there are Victoria Lansfords tool set, which i find i use almost exclusively, for small work (but no curved punches in set)

and you could make your own punches, in the special sizes you need…

it is amazing how metal stretches! anneal often!


Phil…I have a Bonny Doon 20 ton press and use it all the time. I have also looked at your deep draw video. I will look at the papers, but I am also looking at wire dies of the correct size and and punches that I can make on my lathe. Appreciate your thoughts about this idea…Rob

The only hurdle will be the first draw, the redraws can be done with standard draw plates. The first draw must orient the punch, die, and metal disc perfectly concentric to each other, otherwise you get a lopsided draw.
The easiest way to do this is to machine the die in a lathe and add a recess to the entrance which snugly fits your metal disc. Then turn some acetyl to fit over the die with a bore that fits the punch. Sandwich your disc and press.



Bonny Doon Engineering


I understand the need for a recessed area that is concentric with the bore of the draw plate. My thought is to have this machined into the face of the die. I would put the die into the chuck of my lathe and the punch into the jacobs chuck on the other end. Then, with the die spinning slowly and the disc in place on the die, slowly push the punch into the disc forcing it into the die. If this doesn’t work, then there is always my press. I would need to put a piece of pipe under the die allowing space for the punch to fall after it clears the die. This is all probably a waste of time as I don’t need a lot of bezel cups, I just like to solve my own problems and I have too much unstructured time on my hands during this Covid19 quarantine that keeps my brain working. Thanks…Rob

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The geometry of a wire die is different than what’s needed for the initial draw, you want to reduce your diameter by no more than 40% of the disc size, and have a more obtuse die angle than a wire draw plate. Keep in mind wire draw plates are engineered for redrawing, not for deep-drawing the initial draw.
I’d be happy to send you photos of our commercial bezel draw dies.


Bonny Doon Engineering

Hi Rob,

I teach jewelry making and lapidary and have a small school. in N.M. I help students make bezels of all different shapes and sizes. I think I can suggest other solutions that may work better because you probably have such a variety of sizes and possibly odd shapes if you cut your own stones.
Have you thought about using tubing for smaller stones? You can cut it different lengths and either solder it on to a base or make a ledge to support the stone with a stone setting bur. Make a shelf with a smaller piece of tube that is either soldered in place or inserted inside to act as a shelf before you set the stone. There are quite a few sizes and thicknesses of tube available including fine silver tubing. You can hammer tubing to stretch it or pull it down smaller with a draw plate to change the size and thickness. Small adjustments can be made with dapping punches or chasing tools. Santa Fe Jewelry Supply has some thicker bezel cups with higher walls and a wider variety of bezel strip available that any other supplier.
For larger stones it is faster if you work on multiples at one time and do it in an assembly line. The advantage of fabricating bezels is that I feel it would be faster and more flexible than trying to take standard shapes and adjust them to stones that are not all the same. I have come up with ways of doing things faster but it would be helpful to see some examples and know more about size, shape, and how you want your bracelets to look. Can you post photos of what you want to do?

Marilynn…Thanks for your reply. I do all the things that you suggest and have for nearly 47 years. I like to solve my own problems and spend all together too much time on projects like this. I am a retired school administrator and jewelry is a hobby business for me and not my retirement income. As a result, I have a lot of time on my hands and even more now that we are homebound. I have a line of fairly small, inexpensive price point bracelets that I make to sell in a couple of my stores. I use manufactured bezel cups to keep the time and cost down. The manufactured cups that I buy really leave a lot to be desired, so I will check out Santa Fe Jewelry supply. I also like to make my own tools hence my interest in deep drawing. Phil convinced me that it is more complicated than just wacking a small disc into a hole drilled into a piece of scrap steel. The process is, however, fascinating. I have a design in my head for a tool to make small bezel cups that I will bounce off of Phil once I get it on paper. You can see some of my work on my website

I like to make heavy fabricated bezels with 1-2 mm wide walls that I move over the stone with a hammer and various brass and steel punches that I have made. I usually hold the piece in thermal-setting plastic on an engravers ball. I like this look a lot better than a thin roll over bezel. It is a lot of work and the clean up can be a problem around softer stones, but I have figured it out.

Both my brother and I learned from our father who learned from Native American smiths near the Chilocco Indian School in Oklahoma during WWII. Dad worked at the school and Mom was a nurse. We grew up to the sounds and sights of Dad making jewelry and selling it to all of our friends mother’s. It was very embarrassing. I eventually got over the embarrassment and have been making silver jewelry ever since. Otherwise I am self taught and would love to spend time in a more formal setting like yours. I have learned a lot, but still have a lot to learn. Thanks for your reply…Rob

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Phil Poirier: Thank you so much for adding the information that’s contained in the Sante Fe Symposium pa
pers! Such a wealth of information on a subject that is pretty obscure. I had a friend/mentor who worked for Case and also had experience in doing deep draws for Zippo lighters. I wish now that I had asked him more questions, but luckily you have filled in some gaps. Thank you again!