While still on the topic of Cab setting, here you will find my
half-round, cut-off round bur. It can be used in preparing a seat
for Cab stones. Also you will find essays I prepared just on this
How is this bur created? Get any size of bur you need & let your
bench-grinder shave off the top half of the bur. Put the bur in your
hand-piece & voila!..ready for action!
Full Bezel Setting, for Cabochon stones
One of the most basic designs in stone setting is “Bezel Setting”.
It is so rudimentary in its concept. It is very pleasing to the eye
also in its simplicity. This concept blends with the smooth vertical
shape of the stone. There are no sharp corners, gradual flowing
lines to conform to the stone. So now lets delve into this style of
In my “AJM” article in April/04, I showed how a round bur that is
re-shaped to have the same contours of the “Cab” stone. This
particular half-round, round bur along with a proper execution, will
enable you to perform and overcome any difficult bezel setting
Just what kind of tools do ‘we’ need? A very secure ring clamp,
steel ring-mandrel, a 3-ounce hammer with a 10-inch length handle, a
steel hand held punch of 3 inches in total length. Copper or Brass
hand pusher! Why am I detailing such minute measurements? The hammer
handle should be light enough as not to cause rapid onset of “hand
and arm” strain while during the “hammering” process. The “not to
exceed 3 inches length” of the punch, that is while you are hitting,
you won’t have to time after time, judge where the hammer is
hitting, or missing :)!
Did we not mention files? Pillar file of #2 and #4 cuts. Flat edged
Pumice wheels of #180 grit and Flat graver of #39 or a #40
We will work now with the simplest version of a Cabochon setting.
This will entail using a stone of 5x7 mms or a 9x7 mm’s. Why would I
be using these two sizes? Just one basic answer, this is so we can
see what we are working with, simple?
Tightly secure the ring in to your ring-clamp. I use a hammer to hit
the clamp-peg tighter into the clamp. This will ensure a tight
fitting, non-moving ring as we start this setting process! With your
Pillar file of #2 cut, ascertain that the bezel walls are flat and
not too high on one side than the other. Overall and equal bezel
height is very important at this juncture.
Briefly examine the internal areas of the bezel base for any little
extra bits of gold that might be a miscast or defect. Remove them
with a small round bur of #006. Place your ready to be set Cabochon
stone on the top of the bezel wall. Is it over shadowing the metal
in width and length? If so, this is the next stage in preparation. I
will use a rounded surface of a metal punch and ream open the bezel
walls as to allow the stone to gently fall into place. With your
finger on the stone, turn over the ring with a loupe and view if the
stone is fitting against the base of the bezel. There should be no
space between the stone and the bezel base. This is very
If there is, you might have a stone that is crooked or held up by a
little bur of gold. If there is a little bur of gold when hammering,
there will be lots of stress on this stone and then you might then
have a chipped stone.
Now using my half-round round shaped bur with the same overall equal
dimensions or nearly the same contour as the “Cab” stone starting at
the base of the bezel wall. I would initially scrape the surface at
equal increments. At each 1/4" turn dig into the gold a tad deeper.
I will at my disposal, have many sizes of these modified burs. I
will gauge each bur as the correct angle of the stone. This bur
should not be used at a high rate of motor speed. Please note at all
times how you are progressing. You should at all times, be using
your 10x power loupe. Please avoid any gold dust hitting your eyes!
Place the “Cab” stone into this bezel recess.
Here are some questions for you, now!
Is the stone secure in the bezel?
Are the walls of equal height?
Are the walls of equal thickness?
Is the stone properly aligned to the overall shape of bezel
If these 4 basic questions are answered favourably, you can now and
only now proceed to the next stage of setting.
I would like to underscore the reason of using a Copper or Brass
metal pusher, why? If you are going to full bezel an Opal or soft
Stone, you shouldn’t be having any movement of that stone. I would
have you to use these two selected pushers to carefully just ‘press
over the tip’ of the bezel. This way you will 'secure" the metal to
the surface. In case of slipping on the gold, you will definitely
scratch the surface of ‘that’ stone by using a steel pusher. Copper
or Brass is a lot softer and do not mark the stone.
If you are not sure of using a softer metal pusher, I have two other
approved methods; an elastic band around the ring mandrel and the
I also would let you to use a touch of “fast acting” glue. This
"glue method" will be used only as a ‘stop-gap’ measure and not to be
intended as the best way of Cabochon setting. These three methods
are only used to prevent any other movement of the stone, while
starting the “hammer” setting.
With your 3 inch metal punch held firmly in your hand now using your
hand held hammer, hit this punch with great care. Do not hit hard,
but only tap! Hold your punch at a 45-degree angle AWAY from the
stone. When you see the metal start to press against the stone,
STOP! Turn the ring around and start the hammering of the other side
of the bezel. You are now starting to have the walls grip the
vertical sides of the stone.
Once this is now done and the stone feeling tight, remove the
elastic band and with total confidence so far, initiate the setting
of the ends of the oval bezel setting.
Again, as this is completed, carefully making sure all of the walls
are nicely holding the surface and no spaces between the metal and
the stone. You can now just tap to “even-off” the walls to make a
smooth, even surface on the hammered section of the bezel wall.
I will only now use my “Flat” Graver to give a Bright-Cut to the
very inside of the bezel wall. This gives the ring a clean and
professional appearance of this kind of setting. who wants a
mediocre setting job? You should make sure that your graver is sharp
and bright. This will leave a smooth inner surface cut, attesting to
your higher setting abilities…
As this cutting is now completed, we will use a Pillar file #4 and
smooth file the areas where your hammer touched. In a smooth flow of
filing, rotate or file in a semi-circular fashion on the bezel wall
tips only. Keeping in mind that you should be having two surfaces to
be considered. The vertical wall and the 45 degree angle and the
I will impress upon you the reader and setter, to acquaint yourself
with the Pumice wheel of #180 grit, Flat faced wheel. Holding the
ring in your hand, allow the slow rotating wheel to only remove the
marks left by your Pillar file. Do not let this Pumice wheel touch
your soft stone, as an abrasive wheel, it will mar the surface you
are so diligently trying to keep fresh!
If you are happy with your results, I’ll send you all of my setting
work! Remember, that after 1,000’s of rings and bezels, you will soon
get to be very proficient, trust me! Gerry Lewy… “Gerry, the