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How do you set tourmaline slices?

I am having difficult time deciding how to bezel set a
tourmaline slice in a ring. I like the look of the stone
againest fine silver, however, won’t water/dirt get caught behind
it? Also, I am using 24gage SS bezel. Is that too heavy a gage?


Actually the worst problem here is that over time the silver
will tarnish and if the slice is at all clear you will see dark
splotches behind it. Try using a white gold backing. Water will
dry out. If your bezel is nice and tight dirt shouldn’t be a
problem. 24 ga is too heavy if the slice is really heavily
included. 26 ga or 28 ga might be better.

Katrina, Under a similar condition last week, I used a fine
silver bezel approx .03" taller than the tourmoline slice so that
I could roll the tiny lip over the rim of the stone. Prior to
setting the stone I put a layer of fine silver leaf in the bezel
cup. It looked great, but given that this was the first time I’ve
tried the leaf bit I don’t know how it’ll withstand the time
test. Should work fine though.

Katrina, If you are using a closed back you may want to try heavy
pickeling to deplete the copper from the sterling and then
painting clear laquer or fingernail polish or epoxy or ? over the
silver to give it an air tight sealed surface. If not sealed,
even fine silver will tarnish given time and then you’ll have to
remove the stone and polish the silver. Have you considered a
white gold back?

24 seems pretty heavy, but not out of the question. I like 28
0r 30 ga bezel for most of my stones.

I’m spending a year dead for tax purposes.


Katrina, Having made the mistake of setting a slice with a solid
back several times I would advise against it. Two years down the
road the silver beneath the stone would oxidize and it would look
terrible. So I would suggest that you set the slice with an
open back if possible (sometimes the stone is to included to set
with an open back and it may not hold up.) Also I would use
annealed fine silver bezel wire in either 24 or 26 guage, with
the bezel rising just slightly over the top of the stone. After
the stone is set I burnish the bezel wire over the surface of the
stone which protects it from getting banged up. I hope this
helps. Jordan.

Hank, I like the silver foil idea. Someone else said they used
a mirror behind the stone. I’m affraid of cutting myself, ( I
have enough scars already on my hands from other metal work
accidents.) The foil sounds a little more excessable. Where did
you purchase the foil from? I know that enamel companies carry
it but I do not have a source to go with. Any ideas? Thanks a


The last few transparent cabs I set, (such as garnet cabs), I
put 24kt enamelling foil under the stone inside the bezel. 24K
doesn’t oxidize, and it reflects nicely. I have no idea what would
happen if later on, you had to apply heat to the piece, to size
the ring or whatever. Anne

Hi all,

another way to “lift” a stone in a bezel, is to have a snug
fitting jump ring sitting on the top of the base sheet. The jump
ring can be filed down, if you need to lower it slightly. If
you are using a tranlucent stone, sitting on a hole in the base,
( to allow the light thru) this method can also be used. Just
match the inner sides of the jump ring to the size of the circle
or oval.

saves worrying about burning the sawdust if you have to heat the
ring at a later date

Felicity in west Oz