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Fabrication frame like setting

I hope I can ask this so that someone can understand what I am
asking. I want to fabricate a piece which has some bezel-set jewels
(in this case the jewels are enamels). I want a piece of metal to
cross over the top of one of the jewels from one side to the other
side. I can get as far as supposing that I can fabricate the piece
with the metal all soldered in place and still be able to slip the
jewel into its setting but I can’t figure how I would be able to
access the bezel in all spots to burnish it down and finish it

I have seen stones set with metal ornamentation on top of them and
have always wondered how that was accomplished.

Is it magic or is there a trick to setting a jewel “under” a
fabricated piece of metal?

Here are some links to show a few examples of what I am talking
about with the metal on top of the gem except that I am wanting the
metal to go all the way across the gem:

See DSCN1425_2.jpg on

and Ghost Orchild on Ghost Orchild

I assume these two was examples were fabricated and then bent over
the enamel after fabricating?

Here’s another one: Moon Flower on Moon Flower

J. (Sue) Ellington

I am wanting the metal to go all the way across the gem

In the pieces you posted, other than the last one, the metal parts
are an irregular bezel, and bent into place. The last, the jewel is
slipped under the bit of metal at the top.

To have metal go all the way across, it must be held mechanically. I
use overlays in my titanium and silver pieces-- the overlay is held
in by the bezel.

You could also probably construct the overlay so that it is soldered
on one side and folds over the jewel like a cover over a book
(assuming you’re planning an organic, vine-like form like the
examples) then is caught under other bezel-parts on the far side.


Is it magic or is there a trick to setting a jewel "under" a
fabricated piece of metal? 

Ways to do this are, as you suppose, to bend the metal into place
over the finished bezel after the bezel is set, or to design the
bezel so that the gem slips under a section. In some cases, that
hidden section does not then have to be a burnished over bezel (your
moon flower example is one such. The hidden part of the bezel isn’t
visible, so you don’t actually even need the bezel to fully extend
under that part, only appear to do so. If it does extend under that
part, it need not be burnished over fully, if you cannot reach it. In
many cases, you can reach the bezel from the side or even the back,
especially if you use self made burnishing tools, which can easily be
much smaller than a standard burnisher. Old burs can be bent and
ground, etc, into small tools that will reach almost any area you can
see, for example.

Other options are that the gem, though it appears normally bezel
set, may actually be set from the back. The bezel if fully formed to
it’s finished shape during fabrication (before the overlays are
added. The gem inserts from the back, held by another bezel, or
prongs, or whatever. Sometimes it’s done with an “insert” layer that
holds the gem up into the setting. That insert layer then can itself
be held with rivets, small prongs, or another small bezel that may
not actually look like a bezel to a casual glance.

And another way, often found in antique work where sometimes the
overlay totally wraps over a gem or enamel, or otherwise is such that
the gem cannot be slipped under it in any visible way, is simply that
the gem is set first, and then the entire overlay is added, but
affixed with cold connections, ie rivets, screws, or some such. That
connection method would then only be visible from the back, and in
some antiques, is itself then hidden by some additional construction
added to the back. With enamels, low temp (lead) solders are another
means to attach overlays when needed. Often found on antique work of
various types, both original work, and as a repair method. Somewhat
distateful to modern jewelry standards, but nevertheless useful at
times, and some of the modern versions of low temp solders (Tix, Stay
Clean, etc) are higher performance materials than the classic
tin/lead solders once used.

And then, of course, there are the most modern and high tech methods
of affixing things while avoiding issues of heat. Overlays can easily
be affixed after setting a bezel if you happen to have, or can
contract out work with, a laser welder, or one of the various types
of capacative discharge welders (PUK, or others). These can weld an
overlay onto a gem setting without risking damage to the gem or
enamel. If you don’t have one, you may be able to find local
jewelers or workshops that do, who’d be willing to help you do that
part of your assembly. If you can’t find such locally, feel free to
email me. I’ve got a laser, with which I happily do work for other
jewelers around town when they need…

Peter Rowe


Set the enamelled pieces from the back. Claws would suffice but a
bezel would be more far more elegant.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing


I know Felicia’s work and her gold is cast and the enamel is
inserted from the back. It is also set from the back in a reverse
bezel setting.

I hope this helps. If you want to contact me off line please do.

jennifer friedman

Ask and ye shall receive! Thanks for all the great answers. Now the
only obstacle is learning something new, which I try to do on a
regular basis.

J. S. (Sue) Ellington

By looking at the examples you listed, I’d be fabricating the
framework to fit the enamel, inserting it from the back to the
front, and closing it down from the back.

Sandi Graves, Beadin’ Up A Storm
Stormcloud Trading Co (Beadstorm)