I am a few months into making jewellery and at the moment am doing
exclusively bezel settings. I have through trial and error come up
with my own method which works for me so I’ll share it with you.
You will get lots of people telling you all about having a clean,
tight joint, fluxing well, heating larger parts first, etc, etc even
though you’ve said you already do that. But anyway, I too used to
struggle and would end up with my settings not having that crisp
square look that I wanted. But running up to Christmas and setting a
lot of square and princess cuts, I came up with the following
I use sheet silver, not bezel strip. I cut the length of the strip
the same as the outside perimeter of the stone, so that for a 4mm
square, I’ll cut it 16mm long - regardless of the thickness of the
metal. I used to shape it into a square and solder it closed but now
just bend it round roughly, solder it together and then shape it and
stretch it up to size on my square bezel mandrel, carefully with a
hammer. Keep shaping and stretching and fitting until it sits
perfectly over your upturned stone.
As for height of bezel, it depends whether I am only setting the one
stone or more than that. If more, I will base my height a little
taller than the stone with the deepest pavilion to be set and have
all the bezels the same height. Height equals pavilion depth plus
girdle plus a little for folding over. Measure this for the deepest
pavilion stone and it’ll work.
Then for the bearer which I also make out of sheet. I usually make
it by cutting a rectangle a couple of mm shorter than the bezel strip
and a mm or so shorter in height. I don’t bother soldering it closed.
I bend it into a square (with as crisp corners as you can manage) and
keep test fitting it into the back of the already made bezel
setting. I usually need to trim and refit a couple of times until it
My real trick that has worked an absolute treat for me is that I sit
the stone upside down on a flat surface, sit the bezel over it
(which by now fits perfectly) and fit the bearer into the top (bottom
really). Push it down until it is in contact with the stone. By now
the bearer should be a nice tight fit so that it won’t fall out when
you pick it up. Upturn the whole thing and inspect the stone in the
setting. If you have your desired amount of silver showing above the
girdle, giving you the right amount to fold over, you’re good to go.
If there’s too much, adjust the bearer in the bezel until the
desired amount of foldover is achieved. Once you’ve done this, turn
it upside down again, remove the stone carefully without moving the
bearer within the bezel. Flux it carefully and solder it upside down
so that the bearer is permanently soldered into the bezel.
Oftentimes, the bearer will stick out of the bottom of the bezel but
merely needs filing flush. Once this is done, you have a VERY neat,
square bezel setting custom fit to the stone in question. The same
method works for me for pretty much every shape. For trillion stones
(I don’t have a trillion bezel mandrel), I shape it using my
triangular bezel mandrel then the round one, to give the curved
edges and more rounded corners. For pears I cut the strip the same
size as the stone but allow for the thickness as I don’t have a
mandrel to stretch it up with, but I can shape a pear bezel using my
triangular plus oval or round mandrels depending on the pear’s
It may be crude to some more experienced folks out there but it’s a
method that has evolved over a few months and it works great for me.
Hope it helps.