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First Cab Setting

Hi Everybody:

I have resolved my soldering and fusing issues and made my first
wide band ring. I set a 5mm ruby cab in it this morning and had a
couple basic questions. I picked ruby because it is a hard stone (too
expensive for my beginner projects I know, but I didn’t think I could
hurt it)

First, after using (probably over using) the bezel rocker to set
(should have switched to the burnisher), I noticed a couple of
"scratches" in the surface. I have read the accounts on ruby in the
archives, many of which say that ruby cannot be scratched…only
perhaps dented. Not wanting to open an old wound for anyone, but
whatever it is that is now on the surface of the stone, is there a
way to get rid of it?

Also, I had filed and sanded the top of the setting very evenly
beforehand, but there is a small “divot” (sp?) in one side of the
top of the bezel? Bad use of pusher? way to fix?

I know I make it sound bad, but it actually looks pretty good for my
first one. :)…my attempt at not being obsessive compulsive

Kim Starbard

Kim, congratulations on your first bezel! You are on your way! I
would use a very sharp flat graver to carefully cut down the top
edge of the bezel until it looks right. Then I’d burnish the outside
of the bezel’s top again, and also carefully burnish the top edge
with the point of the burnisher. You can’t risk this on soft stones,
but ruby should hold up to it.

Are you sure that the scratch was not there before you started


I have read the accounts on ruby in the archives, many of which say
that ruby cannot be scratched....only perhaps dented 

More likely than a scratch you may have a percussion mark. Look at
it under 10X, if you see that the surface is still intact but there
is an odd reflection that seems to emanate from just below surface,
then that’s what you have, although scratches are indeed possible
too. It can be polished out but there are considerations. Since its a
cab and not faceted, polishing is easier. If you have clear access to
it you can use diamond abrasive belts and feather it into the
curvature of the stone. You could also pull the stone and dop it to
get more control.

there is a small "divot" (sp?) in one side of the top of the bezel?
Bad use of pusher? way to fix? 

You can get a divot when you start the pushing at one point and roll
completely around the circumference uninterrupted. When metal bends
it stretches and the resultant ‘excess’ metal has to give somewhere,
hence divot. Instead, push in quadrants. That is, push a little bit
at north south west and east. Bring the bezel in a little at a time
at each point and the in between areas too. This allows the metal to
close in on the stone without the stretch being transmitted all
around, building up a ‘pucker’. It also makes it easier to keep the
stone centered. This is even more crucial when you do an oval. Start
at the ends and work your way evenly to the sides.

There will always be some distortion and tool marks. Get yourself
knife edge pumice wheels for your flexshaft. Pumice is safe for most
stones, but always try an inconspicuous spot first. With a little
practice you can run the wheel around the bezel edge and regain a
clean smooth look. Follow up with a soft white bristle brush and

A note about gauge. I see some people like to use a thin gauge bezel
strip. I assume because they think its easier to bend. My experience
suggests that thin, commercially made bezel strip tends to be
springy(particularly gold), which as you can imagine makes it a
tedious thing to run that bezel tight. I like a thicker material.
Properly prepped its easy to move and is much more forgiving of
inconsistencies in technique. It may even act as a cushion between
the tool and the stone, reducing the tendency to marking up the
stone. I also think a substantial bezel looks better. A hammer
handpiece is essential here. I’ve done it with chasing tools and
hammer but that’s tedious too.

Congrats on the milestone!!


Not real sure what the deal is with the stone, but if you have an
eye loop or some way to get some magnification on it, I would take a
look and see what the mark really is before you begin.

  1. Is a scratch - How deep does it look? If it is shallow, it might
    be buffed out. If you follow this approach, you will need some area
    to blend it in. Understand, you will not get the divot out, you can
    only give it a wider area and reduce optical effect. With it mounted
    in the ring already, I would try the compressed felt wheels and
    diamond paste, stay with the higher values like 3000 or higher (7
    micron or less) and work to 50 or 100k to get the polish back up. Use
    a light touch, in a small area like that you will be surprised how
    fast even a fine grit can eat material.

  2. Is a scratch - Fairly deep, try 330 epoxy as a filler, and work
    down as above. If you are trying the 330, slow the wheels down and
    use a 1500 grit carbide wet-n-dry to smooth before polishing.

  3. a gap - if it is a cab, then it might be a void under the spot and
    you broke through, try # 2.

I keep a lot of my first trys, they are like little notebooks that
when I look at them I remember the good and the bad.

If it something you hope to sell, take it out of the ring and do it
right, even if it means remaking the ring. Once out the ring the only
real way to hold the stone is on a dop stick. If you lack the dop wax
and stuff, take a clean fresh cut dowel and use thick super glue, not
a great way to do it, and you will have to be careful getting it off
the stick, mostly due to finger cuts. I use an exacto knife to cut
them off if I do this, and only use a dab of the glue, much more than
that and you have to get the wood off too.

Don’t know what to tell you on the dimple, burnish and hope it will
work its way out.