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Jagged bezel edge


#1

When flush mounting or bezel setting faceted I often end
up with a bezel with a jagged edge(the edge that meets the stone).
I’ve started using a graver to clean up the edge however it’s never
really as perfect as I’d like it to be. I’ve seen photos of other
people’s work who have perfect bezel edges and would like to get my
work closer to their level. Anyone have any tips for getting that
great looking bezel edge?

Thanks,
Chris


#2

For really neat bezel edges, I always make sure that the top of the
bezel issanded very flat with a very fine grade of paper prior to
stone setting (bylaying the paper on a very flat surface and
upturning the bezel in order to"sand" it). Depending on the design,
this may have to be done at an early stage, then making sure that
nothing disturbs that top edge in subsequent solderings. Depending on
the stone to be set, I use mostly 0.5mm sheet to make my bezels, or
occasionally 1.0mm sheet. Both of these make a chunky but very neat
top edge to the bezel, which when turned onto the stone, looks very
neat.

Once set, that flat edge is of course no longer perpendicular to the
bezel sides, but at an oblique angle, dipping down to meet the
stone. It looks really lovely if you then burnish that edge to a
mirror shine, using a small burnishing tool, being VERY careful not
to let it slip outside the bezel edge, or you can end up with a deep
scratch across that lovely edge that you’ve so painstakingly tried to
preserve! Done that a few times!!!

I use sterling silver to make my jewellery, and set the stones using
a hammer and setting punch (steel rod set in a handle). The jewellery
is set in thermoplastic, in a vice. I don’t like using thinner metal
than 0.5mm, or turning it onto the stone with a rocker/burnisher, or
using fine silver because it’s softer. Those things tend to end up
with a very thin looking, sometimes jagged top edge to a bezel, often
with gapping between the stone and bezel. Using thicker metal means
that the thickness of the metal can accept the compression forces
applied when closing the bezel. If it’s too thin, you close it in one
place, and it will spring out somewhere else, hence the gaps.

Helen
UK


#3

I make a lot of cuff bracelets with occassional bezel set stone. The
stones are usually large as is the bezel. I struggle with the actual
"rolling" of the bezel as much of what you describe in you post about
thinner bezels happens to me. I have been looking for more
about bezel setting larger stones using a thicker bezel
material, but I need to secure the bezel to perform the mechanical
setting that you describe. This is very hard to do with a solid cuff
bracelet. I would appreciate any thoughts you and others might have
on this topic. Thanks. Rob

Rob Meixner


#4

I have a small, cheap, screwdriver that I use for such things. It
was originally intended for electrical work; it’s the type of thing
you find in a Pound Shop (in UK, Pound Shops sell only things that
cost one pound, so this screwdriver was in a pack of 3 or 4 - really
cheap). The blade is only about 3mm wide and, with the handle, the
whole thing is about 11cm long. I filed the flat part of the blade
sideways (perpendicular to the length) with a fine file, so as to
leave very fine file marks (the blade is not hardened). The flat of
the blade, when pushed down on the edge of the bezel and moved along
to “file” it, leaves a nice, bright, smooth edge. It does a really
good job of smoothing the jaggies.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#5

Try using a flat graver, but pull it backwards so it acts as a
burnisher. Or take a bur shaft where to end has broken off, like a
ball bur shaft, round the tip and polish it, put it in a millgrain
tool handle and use it as a burnisher. Or buy Blaine Lewis’ flush
setting DVD, he has lots of good ideas and it’s sometimes easier to
watch it done than to read about it.

Mark


#6
Anyone have any tips for getting that great looking bezel edge? 

I do not have any tips, but I can offer an advice. Gemstone setting
is securing gemstone via contact with metal. No glues, no dust, just
metal. The contact in each and every case must be perfect in all
respects. If we adapt this point of view, than the smaller the area
of contact, the easier is to learn a particular technique. Under this
classification, a bezel is the most difficult technique to master.
Under some perverted ideas, bezel is taught as the first technique.
This is done because even if student achieves only 1% of required
contact, the stone probably would not fall out. But that does not
mean that bezel technique has been mastered.

Start by learning to set with graver, proceed to prongs, and only
then attempt bezel. When you achieve 100% of contact between bezel
and stone, clean edge would become a trivial task.

Leonid Surpin
Studioarete.com


#7

perhaps you are not using the right gauge of bezel strip, or are
using a bezel cup (28-30 g.) or not preparing and pre-polishing the
flush mount before you set the stone. Your tools may need some
modifications as well- try using, or rather shaping your bezel
punches, or rockers to match the angles that correspond with the
stone’s shapes. or simply invest in a Foredom Allset master system-
everything you do will take less time, come out perfect and will
require far less tweaking at the end of the process (i. e.-cleaning
up the bezel, and setting with a graver, burnishing the ends,
deburring after you cast a gypsy setting, etc).Using stepped bezel
may be an answer for you until you learn to cut seats, also using a
spring-in-place insert bezel that is held in place by tension into an
outer rub over setting may look cleaner too. rer.


#8
Start by learning to set with graver, proceed to prongs, and only
then attempt bezel. When you achieve 100% of contact between bezel
and stone, clean edge would become a trivial task. 

Interesting, we were pretty much taught the other way around.

We had to get the bezel set correctlu first, then moved to claws,
then used gravers.

Maybe our teachers liked to torture us :smiley:

Nah just kidding they were awesome.
Regards Charles A.


#9

The height of the bezel is very important, aim for the lowest bezel
you can make as when you rub over the setting you are changing the
circumference of the bezel. An overhigh bezel will have nothing to
support it to keep its shape. Agree with those who say use the
thinnest gauge metal you can, this is for the same reason-you are
stretching metal but trying to make it wrap over a smaller
circumference. I finish off by burnishing my bezels with an agate
burnisher to give a smooth edge.

Nick Royall


#10

All,

Some of the best advice I ever got regarding jagged bezels is to pay
really close attention to how tall of a bezel you are trying to push
over. Most of us tend to leave more height than we really need. Then
when we push it in, it buckles and puckers and there is just about
no way to really, totally recover from this. Once I got comfortable
with shortening up the bezel (before I ever starting pushing it
over), my bezels cleaned up considerably. I learned this from David
Lee- take a look at his website; his bezels are beautiful.

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7zu1

Brenda
david lee jeweler


#11
We had to get the bezel set correctlu first, then moved to claws,
then used gravers. 

I think you are correct Charles. I’ll be darned if you can put
gravers in someone’s hands first to learn that and then move to claws
or prongs and then bezel. mmmm. bezel first then prongs then gravers.
get the hands working.

Russ H.


#12
Interesting, we were pretty much taught the other way around. We
had to get the bezel set correctlu first, then moved to claws, then
used gravers. Maybe our teachers liked to torture us :-D 

I am very well aware of this fact. Schools do what they think will
appeal the most to their audiences. Whether or not it represent the
best practices, is entirely different matter.

Leonid Surpin
Studioarete.com


#13

Brenda, you bring up a very interesting point. This is a subject
those stone cutters out there should pay attention to. I have been a
cutter/setter for 40 years and normally only set my own stones.
Because of this, I have learned that the shoulders of the stones (as
well as the geometric shape) is very important to a setter. Many
cutters create stones with no thought to this as they are not setters
and cut to their own tune, so to speak. Some cutters leave what we
call a ‘bezel collar’ around the girdle of the stone ('m speaking of
cabochons here) which is a perpendicular ‘facet’ all around the stone
and extending from the girdle up some distance which varies with how
the crown is cut. This collar means that portion of the stone will be
set down into the bezel to whatever depth necessary to get some metal
above it where the curvature of the crown begins. When this is done,
it means a large portion of what could be a beautiful portion of the
stone is hidden under the bezel! This practice, however, does not
normally create any particular problem for the setter unless the
collar is not of even depth all the way around the stone. If that is
the case the bezel itself will be crooked and unsightly.

I cut my stones with a curvature all the way down to the girdle. The
angle itself will vary depending on the depth of the stone and It’s
overall size but normally I shoot for 3-10 deg on a stone of standard
depth. This will be more than enough for the bezel to hold the stone
even with a very short bezel. It is important, however, that the
bezel be kept as short as possible to prevent ‘kinking’ which will
occur when high bezels are pushed over a very low shoulder and is
accentuated in narrow areas such as the end of an oval, or on sharp
corners. That is another area where some cutters do not help the
setters at all. Very sharp points or corners can present problems. I
do cut such designs on occasion but tend to round my corners and
points to allow a smooth bezel rather than a sharply bent one.

When purchasing a stone, setters should pay attention to these
aspects of a stone. Cutters, on the other hand, should keep them in
mind whilst cutting. Cheers from Don in SOFL


#14

Nick," I finish off by burnishing my bezels with an agate burnisher
to give a smooth edge", is something I hear all the time, even from
experienced setters. I virtually never use a burnisher when bezeling
a stone. The possibility of scratching the surface of a stone is just
too high especially when using an agate burnisher which is hardness
of 7 and burnishing a bezel on stones of lesser hardness such as
jade, etc. Rather, I have developed methods of using my bezel roller
to accomplish the same thing but in a way that will never scratch a
stone. My methods are described in some detail in Art Jewelry
Magazine, Sept 2010. The article is titled, ‘Make your own bezel
roller, plus Learn to use it so your stones don’t wiggle’. Actually
that title does not reflect the true purpose of the article which
gives detailed instructions how to properly use a roller to achieve
smooth, even and well set stones. Cheers from Don in SOFL.