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[Favorite tips] Fitting a stone in a bezel

Hi Orchid,

One of my favorite tips is, when fitting a stone in a bezel and I
need to get a stone out of a bezel, I use that gumming stuff that
they call paper tack. It is like silly putty. It grabs the stone and
pulls it right out of the bezel. I use this stuff for many other
things besides holding paper on a wall. Roxan

Dear Roxan,

Have you ever tried the old Indian trick of removing stones from ring
bezels using a mallet and a mandrel ? You simply put the ring on the
mandrel and sharply tap the other end of the mandrel with a rawhide
mallet or hammer. It works every time for me! ( Be sure you loosen
the bezel first and also make sure that the stone falls onto a
resilient surface…carpet, etc.)

You might also want to make yourself a bezel loosener by taking an
old half round file and rounding off the end to a spade shape and
polishing it. It fits nicely down into the space between the stone
and the bezel and you can free up the stone without marring the

Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.

Ron, both of your ideas of removing bezel set stones are brilliant.
And, once again we orchidians have learned something new from your
experience. However, I have a question: About your suggestion of
removing a bezel set stone without marring the bezel (and I assume
not marring the stone also): What do you do if the metal is burnished
flush to the stone? Robert R. Wooding

Dear Robert,

You asked what I would do if the bezel were burnished flush to the
stone…A long journey begins with the first step. Ergo, it is
important to discern the best starting point for inserting the tool.
I always start at the flatest side so that the edge of the tool is
least likely to mar the bezel. In some cases I use a straight edge
razor blade to separate the bezel from the stone and allow the
insertion of the tool. Obviously it would be a very daunting task if
the bezel were thick as in a hammer lock cast gold bezel. In this
case you have to weigh the fragility of the stone against the
probability of damage. Another factor is that the tip of the tool
must be sharp and both sides should be well polished. Using this
technique with Opals or Emeralds should be accompanied by
encantations…Thanks for your complimentary comments…Ron
at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.