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[MakeTool] How to get stones out of bezels


#1

Wondering how to remove those ever so well glued and set stones
from their bezels when you must? Here’s how to make one of my
favorite tools: Take a car antenna, easily obtained from any car
stereo/ alarm installer, they usually have them lying around all
over the place. Snip off the top third of the antenna,(with the
section with the little piece of plastic on the end). This bit of
rod is made of solid steel. Cut this to the length
needed,(leaving the plastic tip on the end), usually about 4" or
less. Forge the steel end flat on an anvil, and slightly curve
this flat end into a gentle spoon shape with a very sharp edge
that you create by filing. The flat steel tip should be lightly
curved almost spade-shaped, very thin and sharp. I use this to
unseat stones from bezel settings. The sharp curved tip usually
slides easily between the stone and the bezel,and a light rocking
motion will loosen the bezel from around the stone. The flat
plastic tip of the antenna makes a perfect seat to push on in
ones hand. This takes a little practice, but works so much better
than the tip of an Exacto knife. Antennaes are great for making
all sorts of little tools. The steel holds an edge, and is easily
kept sharp. If I didn’t explain this clearly enough, and you need
a diagram, e-mail me your address off list, and I’ll send you a
how-to.

Lisa,( Hot dry and windy here on the mountain) Topanga, CA USA


#2

If you can’t find a hand, dandy antenna, you might try one of
your exacto knives. Pick a blade shape to fit the application.
Work the tip of the blade between the stone & the bezel a short
depth, then keeping it at this depth move the blade forward or
backward around the stone so the bezel is equi-distant from the
stone where ever the knife has been. You may not have to go
completely around if the stone isn’t glue in as well. Additional
passes may need to be made if the stone has a shallow taper.

Don’t damage the bezel by trying to open it enough to remove the
stone with 1 pass. The metal will be easier to push back against
the new/old/repaired stone if it’s treated with care. It’s better
to make 2 or 3 passes to open the bezel than trying 1 gargantuan
move.

It works for me.

Dave


#3

While this method is often used for the “harder” stones often
worked with…can anyone share how stones such as opal, azurite,
variscite, faustite, turquoise and the like can be removed
without the deep scratching or scoring that can
occur…escecially when removing from sterling bezels? If the
answer is Slowly or Not when your frustrated! I got that far…

Thanks
Eric H.


#4

When I have to remove a stone from a bezel, I usually use
wax-working tools for that purpose. They come in different sizes
and thicknesses. If the bezel is extremely tight-fitting, I
manage to open it with a very thin dental pick.

Iris in Baltimore


#5
   ...can anyone share how stones such as opal, azurite,
variscite, faustite, turquoise and the like can be removed
without the deep scratching or scoring that can
occur....escecially when removing from sterling bezels? 

Removing stones from settings, whether white gold bezels or
anything softer, is a matter of multiple techniques. One of the
safest ways requires destroying the bezel. You use s saw or a
seperating disk to cut the bezel just at or just below the girdle
of the stone. Don’t cut all the way through. Just enough in,
which is most of the way, that the remaining bezel thickness
will be just a shred of weak metal. This can then litterally be
peeled away from the rest of the mounting with little force at
all, resulting in no stress to the stone. Toold never touch the
stone. A variant is used with heavy prongs or beads in bead set
stones. You cut to a point just below the girdle of the
stone,leaving just a very thin web of metal. Then, the point of
a graver can grab the tip of the bead or prong, without needing
to actually pry between the stone and the metal, with enough
force to be able to just tip the now very flimsy prong or bead
backward a little (till the cut closes up again. This will be
enough to loosen the stone, and if needed, allow the prong or
bead to be safely reached with stronger methods, if it needs to
be actually removed.

I’ve also made a pair of special pliers which do a great deal of
stone removal quickly and easily. A plain pair of needled nose
pliers, (Used and beat up is fine, but needs to be decent carbon
steel, not soft stainless) is modified by heating one jaw tip red
hot and bending the last 1/8th to 1/4 inch down at a a little
less than a right angle. The end of the tip is ground to a
flat, meeting the still ong tip. The front surface is ground so
it slopes very slightly away (back towards the plier joint), if
it doesn’t already do that. The inside surface of the “claw” is
ground so that initial flat becomes a cutting edge, much like one
side of a tiny end nipper. That side of the jaw is now hardened
and tempered as a cutting edge, and kept quite sharp by grinding
the inside surface only. It will be a flush cutting edge, with
no portion of the forward end of the claw hitting what’s being
worked on before the sharp edge grabs it. The still long jaw is
bent or ground at a slight gentle curve just slightly ahead of
where the cutting jaw hits, with the front end rounded ans
softened away. This keeps that jaw from marking the mountings or
prongs where it supports them while the upper sharp jaw grabs the
tips of prongs and pries them back. The advantage of this tool
is that the jaw can be kept from slipping between the prong and
the stone, thus avoiding damage, since it’s supported on both
sides of the prong being worked on. The tool is less suited to
bezels, but will still work with them. To remove bezels, the
cutting edge is NOT pried between the stone and the bezel.
Instead, it’s dug into the top edge of the bezel metal, which can
then be pulled back. It only needs to open a slight gap between
the bezel and the stone before the tip can then be allowed to
grab the inside edge of the bezel to pull it back more, still
without ever being allowed to touch the stone itself. Once a gap
is opened, the tool is moved slightl to one side, where there is
still a gap, and the process repeated. You can pull back softer
bezels, like yellow golds, silver, and platinum, with relative
ease this way. If you get the jaws tuned just right to this
task, it can be done without much marking up of the rest of the
mounting, though you’ll leave a good scar on the top of the bezel
where you initially grab the metal’s top edge to first open it up
a little.

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe


#6

Ya Know David, I tried for years to get that exacto trick to
work, and all I ever succeeded in doing was to break a lot of
exacto blades, and to stab myself a few times. Besides that,
gouging those sharp exacto tips that I broke, out from between
the bezel and the stone just drove me crazier, but hey, maybe I’m
just a klutz. John’s addendum was a good one. I forgot about
quenching the steel somehow. The coolest thing about that dumb
antenna however, is the flat plastic end. It fits into the palm
of my puny little hand, and I can apply an amazing amount of
pressure without sliping. I’d love to hear how others extricate
stones out of those pesky bezels. Especially the ones that they
had so carefully glued in prior to setting.

Lisa,(going to look at a horse to buy with a friend tomorrow) Topanga,
CA USA.


#7

If the stone is not glued in and it gets stuck I use that heavy
duty double stick foam tape to pull the stones out, then you just
have to get it off the stone.


#8

Group,

I feel kinda silly throwing this out, as I am but a humble
lapidary. However, I have replaced quite a few bezel set stones,
and this tool works for me. I use an old medical scalpel that is
not really razor sharp, but I have rounded and polished the edge
quite well (To 3000 grit on diamond sander). I think it’s
stouter steel than an exacto, while still as thin. I just slip
it under the bezel and work my way round a few times, gradually
opening it up as little as possible. Just my $.02 - works for
me.

Mark Williams
Getting wet in Oregon


#9

Hi Folks,

There are a veritable plethora of dental tools out there that
can open a bezel faster than an electric can opener can open a
coffee can! My favorite is a Roach Carver. No it is not a
carving device for wackey-tabacy butts! It has a rather heavy
knife blade(for a waxing tool) on one end which you adjust to
meet your needs. On the other end it has a spoon that
definitely needs to be thinned and shaped. There are also a
number of root planers that the dentist uses that would also
work.

Something else that would be of use to you in many, many
instances is a dental product that is called Forma Tray. This
is a cold cure acrylic that is used to make dental impression
trays. As Zbigniew Piekarski my former mate in the dental lab,
we ran for 3 dentists puts it, “cold cure cures all”! This
product can be mixed to pouring consistency or to molding
consistency. It makes the greatest handles on tools I have ever
seen! They are molded to your hand or can be rounded for
universal use. It can be trimmed only with carbide or tool
steel acrylic cutting burrs(you call them wax cutting burrs).
There is very little trimming necessary usually. You can mix it
an old china or glass coffee cup(not a mug) and mold it to the
shape you want. The residue left in the cup will harden right
there. Don’t try to scrape it out because you may scar or break
the cup, instead, Fill the cup with tap water and next morning
the acrylic will fall out when you go to pour out the water.

If any one is interested email me off line. I’ll be glad to
help.

Regards,
Skip


#10

I use a plastic container. Drop the piece with the imbedded
stone (not glued nor bezel set yet, just stuck in the bezel) and
shake . . . you’d be surprised how quicky the stone falls out of
the bezel.


#11

Here’s a trick to remove a cab that you ‘accidentally’ got stuck
in the bezel while trying it out for size. Take a glob of boxing
wax or bees wax stick it solidly to the top of the cab and pull
it free with a sudden jerk. This works most of the time.

Tom Tietze
The Artisan Workshop Jewelry Creations & School
Fresno, California


#12

Hi, An other way to get stones out of bezels (simply stuck in the
bezel) is to put the ring tight in the ring mandrel (for other
jewels put the back of the jewel against the mandrel) the stone
under the mandrel face to the floor with your hand under all to
catch the stone, then hit strongly the mandrel (not the shank of
the ring) with a rawhide mallet. Normaly, at the first blow the
stone is out. Take care with emeralds, opals and fragile stones.

Vincent Guy Audette
Quebec City