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How to get smoothest bezels


#1

I am not always pleased with the final look of my bezels. I see
other work that has absolutely flawless looking bezel work.
Sometimes mine has bumps around the outer edge that won’t burnish
out. Can others please share tips for smooth bezels. Here are the
ones I am already aware of: *Be sure there are no solder globs inside
the bezel *Be sure the bezel is the right height. (I like a tall
bezel and usually build up the stone by backing it.)

J. S. Ellington


#2
Can others please share tips for smooth bezels. 

Use thick enough metal for your bezels that you don’t have to be
afraid to use a little gentle rubber wheeling to clean up bumps and
the like. You can get wheels that are gentle enought they won’t hurt
stones, if used lightly, and with these, if the metal is thick enough
so you don’t end up making it too thin, you can remove those bumps.
Be careful not to round everything over though, or you’ll lose the
nice crisp feeling of a well burnished bezel. Sometimes it’s
effective to get the bezel nicely closed over and tight, then smooth
with a rubber wheel, then gently burnish again to restore crisp edges
and the like. Since your not actually moving metal with this second
burnishing, you won’t get the bumps again. Also, when burnishing,
while it’s easier to burnish with a smaller burnisher that has
tighter curves, they can then give you a less even surface. So the
final burnishing can be done with larger burnishers with gentler,
flatter surfaces, to keep the metal also more even.

Peter


#3

Tips for smooth bezels:

  • Be sure there are no solder globs inside the bezel

  • Be sure the bezel is the “right” height (this choice may differ
    depending on your design style)

  • Use your jeweler’s saw to make small cuts in any sharp angles
    (about 120 degree or less) on the bezel, allowing the ends to “fold
    over” each other into slight overlaps, rather than making bumps. Once
    burnished, the cuts become invisible and the bezel looks wonderfully
    smooth.

  • When closing your bezel over the stone, work from the centers of
    each side outward toward the point angles, always working on opposite
    walls (visualizing a clock face, work at 12, then 6, then 3 then 9,
    then back to 1 outward toward 3 and 7 outward toward 9, etc.)

Karen Goeller
@Karen_Goeller


Handcrafted and Unique Artisan Jewelry


#4

What about “file and polish the bezel after setting”

Tony Konrath
Key West Florida 33040


#5
    Sometimes mine has bumps around the outer edge that won't
burnish out. Can others please share tips for smooth bezels. 

Some other things:

  1. Use the 12, 6, 3, 9 principle of beginning the setting. Start at
    the 12:00 position first for placing the bezel over the stone, then
    move to the 6:00 position, then 3:00, then 9:00. Then push over the
    midpoints between the previous positions, working diametrically
    opposite each time. Then inbetween each of those previous points,
    again progressing from diametric opposites. If you do have little
    crimps, they will be smaller and more evenly spaced. They can be
    removed by burnishing, or a file, without as many problems with
    breakthrough to the stone.

  2. Use thicker bezel material, especially over faceted stones.
    Facets tend to cause the bezel to have a thinner spot over the
    meetpoints of the stone, and you run the risk of cutting through to
    the stone if you remove too much material.

  3. Don’t have the bezel height over the girdle of the stone too
    high.

  4. A hammer handpiece is a real nice addition! You can’t use it on
    every stone, because some stones are very fragile; but on those you
    can, it saves a lot of time, not to mention saving the hands.

  5. Use a nail set to hammer down those little bumps. Again, a
    certain amount of caution is advised for fragile stones, but you can
    use this with more confidence than a hammer handpiece. Use a light
    touch (bounce) and lots of little taps to coax the metal.

Hope it helps.


#6

HI,

 Can others please share tips for smooth bezels.

One way is to file &/or sand & polish the bezel after closing it
around the stone.

Dave


#7

file the solder joint firstuse less solder and don’t heat it till
it sweats. try a silicone wheel. john


#8

JS. Following is a repeat of an item I sent to Orchid last in March.
Maybe it will help you achieve smoother bezels. Also note, I often
use an equaling file and thin the top 1/3 of the bezel to smooth it
and reduce the amount of metal that has to be seated to the stone.
This often takes out any bumps that might otherwise occur. Cheers,
Don.

" I normally will use a two step operation in closing a bezel. The
first is to form the lower portion of the bezel wall to the curvature
of the stone…whether it is a sharp high or long low angle. The
second is to seat the lip of the bezel against the stone.

I normally hold my rocker or roller, as you prefer, parallel to the
base. In rare instances I might use it perpendicular to the base
while going around a particularly difficult corner.

To do this, one must create a fair amount of pressure on the metal
and yet have total control over the bezel roller so it does not
either slip up and over the stone, possibly damaging the surface, or
down along the outside bezel wall and possibley damage the bezel and
any lip or embellishment below the stone.

I grip the roller as one would an ice pick or a knife in a ‘downward
stabbing’ angle. Assuming one is right handed, hold the tool in
your right hand while securing the stone with your left. You might
also use some mechanical means to secure the stone or place it on a
piece of rubberized material to keep it from slipping, brace it
against your bench front if your pin is lower than the surface, etc,
etc. Approach the bezel at an angle that will, in your estimation,
bring the lower bezel wall in against the stone. Sometimes this will
be a very short distance, sometimes it will require significant
movement. Rock the head of the tool with your wrist as you work
around the stone…always beginning with the ends of the stone or
the corners if there are any. Rock it the length of the roller
head, move to the next segment and rock it again, pressing in with
the wrist movement as you move you elbow outward to attain a lever
like action. (Note: move your elbow out if you are moving forward
around the stone. If you are rocking backward, start with your elbow
out and move it in towards your body). By controlling the length of
the movement with your wrist and limiting it to the length of the
roller head, the chances of it slipping are dimished and, in any
event, it should not move more than a few mm.

After making a complete circuit, change position so the roller head
is pointing nearly perpendicular (this depends somewhat on the angle
of the stone’s shoulder). Now, holding the tool in the same fashion
and again, using your wrist, hold your elbow steady, place the EDGE
of the head closest to the stone onto the bezel’s top lip, direct the
pressure downward and again, roll it forward or backward so the lip
will seat against the stone. It will take some practice but you
should follow the shape of the stone/bezel while rolling forward or
backward without slipping off. If done correctly, the lip will
smoothly and firmly seat to the stone. I hope this is clear…??

I find it fairly easy to roll bezels as heavy as 16 ga in this
fashion. Going to 14 ga as suggested in one response might be a bit
difficult though and hammering might be in order. On the other hand,
by thinning the top portion of the bezel, there is no reason the
roller cannot be used as well."

Cheers, Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut1


#9

All, Dave is right about smoothing and polishing the bezel after
closing it around the stone. However, please be very careful about
sanding it at this point. The sand paper used in most shops includes
garnet paper (hardness of 7.5 to 8), silicon carbide paper (hardless
of 9.5), or aluminum oxide (an oxide form of corundum with a hardness
of 9). As you can imagine, these papers will scratch most common
Thus, the stone must either be protected with tape,
shellac or by some other method.

Filing is usually all right however as the hardness of most files is
only 5 to 5.5 (tooled and tempered steel). and safe to use on most
stones save those with a hardness below 6. (Note: Some harder
faceted stones may chip along the meets if filed so be careful there
also) I prefer to use a fine file to smooth my bezels and then use
tripoli or bobbing followed by Fabuluster, ZAM or some other
finishing polish. These will not harm harder stones and, as the case
of turquoise, rhodocrosite, chrysocolla, etc, actually do a great
polish job on both the metal and the stone.

Just be careful. It took Mother Nature millions of years to make the
stones, a lapidary an hour or two to cut them but a piece of
sandpaper only one second to ruin them!

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut1


#10

Bevel tricks, lets see:

  1. Place the stone in the bezel and with a needle point scribe mark
    a line around the inside of the bezel as low as you can.Remove the
    stone and cut the bezel to the scribe line, just to it and not below
    it. This allows for the minimum bezel height and little to no excess
    that would cause uneven crimping.

  2. Before you push the bezel and without the stone in place take a
    polished flat graver and cut a 45 degree edge off of the inside top
    edge of the bezel before you push it. This give a nice bright finish
    to that edge and makes for an even clean up.

  3. Use a pumice wheel to clean up the tool marks in the bezel and
    then polish.

  4. polish the inside of the bezel, both seat and bexel edge if you
    are setting translucent or transparent stones, no need for this step
    if you are setting an opaque stone.

  5. If you are setting a diamond rhodium plate the inside of the
    bezel if it is yellow or white gold and this will help preserve the
    true color of the diamond.

my best tricks. Frank Goss


#11

To all. Alan Revere has articles on bezel setting in the March,
April, and May issues of JCK. These may be part of a series.

Check it out!
Bill


#12
      *  Use your jeweler's saw to make small cuts in any sharp
angles 

I don’t make such cuts unless I absolutely have to and that is very
seldom, usually only if the stone comes to a sharp point and the
angle from the top of the stone to the base is extreme. When
necessary, I’ll file down the corners of the bezel a bit, but I try
to avoid cutting it.

  *  When closing your bezel over the stone, work from the centers
of each side outward toward the point angles, always working on
opposite walls 

I always work from the points to the centers of the sides. This
allows me to compress the metal at the points so that I have no gaps.
I have to admit, though, that I use 30 gauge, 22k bezel wire which
is easy to push and compress. However, if I used a thicker 14k
bezel, I suspect I would have to use hammer setting methods anyway
and would still start at the corners. Or I might bevel the top edge
of the metal to make it easier to push over.

My point is that there’s more than one way to skin a dog (sorry, I’m
a cat lover :-). You’ve got to find what works best for you.

Beth


#13
 I prefer to use a fine file to smooth my bezels and then use
tripoli or bobbing followed by Fabuluster, ZAM or some other
finishing polish.  These will not harm harder stones and, as the
case of turquoise, rhodocrosite, chrysocolla, etc, actually do a
great polish job on both the metal and the stone. 

A bit of extra caution here – if you’re doing this on the “big
polisher” as opposed to the flexshaft, you can be generating
significant heat. Some stones won’t like it! There is also the
danger of the piece getting grabbed from your fingers and thrown…
again, damaging your stones. If you want to polish with compound, do
it very carefully and preferably with your flexshaft!

   Just be careful. It took Mother Nature millions of years to
make the stones, a lapidary an hour or two to cut them but a piece
of sandpaper only one second to ruin them! 

Only TOO TRUE! Although I would have said “but a jeweler only one
second to ruin them” (slips with the hammer, chips with the file,
bumps on the polisher, etc.)

Have fun!
Karen Goeller
@Karen_Goeller


Handcrafted and Unique Artisan Jewelry


#14
   I don't make such cuts unless I absolutely have to and that is
very seldom, usually only if the stone comes to a sharp point *and*
the angle from the top of the stone to the base is extreme.  When
necessary, I'll file down the corners of the bezel a bit, but I
try to avoid cutting it. 

Filing down and cutting actually both serve the same purpose: to
relieve the pressure/tension on the metal at the sharp corners,
allowing the metal to smoothly fit onto the stone. If you use the
cutting technique, by the way you are NOT cutting all the way down to
the floor of the bezel… only as far as the end of the curve of the
shoulder of the stone (sometimes only the width of the sawblade).
Once burnished, the cut is invisible, and it doesn’t weaken the bezel
at all because it doesn’t extend down too far. I only use it with
very sharp corners, and it produces a nicely finished look without
any crimping.

  My point is that there's more than one way to skin a dog (sorry,
I'm a cat lover :-).  You've got to find what works best for you. 

Couldn’t agree more! That’s what makes each of our styles so
different and enhances the art in what we do!

Karen Goeller
@Karen_Goeller


Handcrafted and Unique Artisan Jewelry


#15

If the bezel is a trifle too large, you may be moving the metal too
fast when you use the rocker or burnisher to push it in. You need to
coax it. You are either condensing the metal into a smaller
circumference and thicker thickness or pushing it up higher as you
reduce the circumference. Just as in raising a bowl from sheet, if
you take too big of a bite, it’s hard to get the rest of the metal to
merge smoothly.

Marilyn Smith


#16

Frank Goss wrote: Place the stone in the bezel and with a needle
point scribe mark a line around the inside of the bezel as low as
you can. Remove the stone and cut the bezel to the scribe line, just
to it and not below it. This allows for the minimum bezel height and
little to no excess that would cause uneven crimping.

Frank, are you saying that after the bezel ends are soldered, you do
this process? How do you do the cutting to get it straight and even?

One other question for all: What if your stone is uneven? I believe
I have this problem often. When I bend the bezel over the stone, I
find that more bezel is seen on top of the stone at one end than
elsewhere along the bezel. What then?

J. S. (Sue) Ellington


#17

Marilyn…excellent point. It is why bezels should fit the stone
well without large gaps between the girdle and the bearing/base.
Sometimes small gaps are unavoidable but essentially a well fitting
bezel will seat to the stone much more easily. This is also a good
reason to begin working the bezel from the bottom…getting it in
against the stone first and then work up towards the lip. Setting the
lip down against the stone is the last pass around the bezel.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio where simple elegance IS
fine jewelry! @coralnut1


#18
    polisher" as opposed to the flexshaft, you can be generating
significant heat.  Some stones won't like it!  There is also the
danger of the piece getting grabbed from your fingers and
thrown... again, damaging your stones.  If you want to polish with
compound, do it very carefully and preferably with your flexshaft! 

For 30 years I have been polishing bezels for all types of stones on
a polishing machine and I can’t recall ever breaking or damaging a
stone by polishing this way. I’ve broken a lot of stones in other
ways but never on a buffing machine.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-491-6000
@spirersomes
www.spirersomes.com


#19
When I bend the bezel over the stone, I find that more bezel is
seen on top of the stone at one end than elsewhere along the bezel

Sue-- if there is no obvious unevenness in your stone, but you get
this result, then the most likely thing is that your bezel is too
large, and you are pushing the first part all the way to the stone,
when you begin to close. This makes for a bezel that lies down most
where you first began to push, and is much more vertical on the
opposite side. The solution to this (if this is your problem) is to
make a tighter bezel, or to close it much more gradually, moving it
in bit by bit, moving back and forth across the stone so that it is
brought in evenly all around. With care, even a considerable
oversized bezel can look just fine.

If your stone is irregular, then the trick of scribing a line
inside, then trimming the bezel should work great.

HTH --Noel


#20

Sue I usually do this step after the bezel is soldered in place and
the last thing before I set the stone. Following the edge of the
stone around the bezel with the scribe while the stone is in the
bezel will contour the bezel to fit the exact contour of the
stone.This also allows for a consistant amount of bezel to be folded
over the edge of the stone. The bezel will be taller where the the
stone is deepest and shorter where the stone is cut shallow. If you
want a consistant bezel around the stone(the same height all the way
around and we are talking about the height of the bezel before
pushing) then you need stones that are cut in a consistant height
and curvature of the cab. Stones that are not cut the same height
around the girdle create crimped bezels if you try to set them in a
bezel that is the same height all the way around.One solution to this
problem is to back fill the stone( saw dust or paper are often used)
raising the thin areas up to the height of the thicker areas. This
creates the illusion of an even cut stone and allows for a more
consistant bezel height. Hope this answers some of your questions.
What it all boils down to is do you want a bezel the same height or
one that follows the contour of the stone? Frank Goss