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Oval bezel block or mandrel?

I’m considering getting either an oval bezel block or an oval bezel mandrel for making settings for faceted oval stones. I like the look of the tapered setting, but since oval stones I have come in all sorts of ratios of width to length, I would still have to fiddle with the shape even after using the block. I wonder if it’s worth the investment? Or maybe I should just get the mandrel which is more cost efficient.

I would appreciate some thoughts on this!


I have and oval mandrel and rarely use it. Once I estimate how long the bezel material has to be to encircle the oval stone, I solder it and pound it round on a ring mandrel. I then use an old pair of large chain nosed pliers to open the soldered bezel to approximate the actual shape of the stone testing to make sure that it will fit through the bezel. If it is too small, I try to stretch it on the ring mandrel and, if unsuccessful, I roll it on a Kagan roller to make it bigger. You can also do this on a ring mandrel, but you have to pound it a bit. If too big; remove material and re-solder. Once it is the right size and shape, file flat and sand, test the shape and adjust, then solder on whatever backing material you will need. Be prepared to make final adjustments to either the stone or inside of the bezel to get it to fit. I use museum wax to hold the stone while trying it in the bezel. If it gets stuck, use one part glue (crazy glue) on a nail to pull the stone out. You can release the stone from the nail by holding it in a pair of pliers with the stone pointed down and carefully and slowly heating the nail. Eventually the stone lets go of the nail. Lots of fun. Good luck…Rob

I just use a piece of dental floss to retrieve the stone from the mounting. I just lay it across the bezel before test setting the stone.

Jerry in Kodiak

I do that too, but once in a while the floss breaks or I forget to use it. If the stone is stuck in the bezel, and I need to remove it, glue works for me…Rob


I meant to ask when we were visiting the other day, are you using fine silver or sterling when you do a bezel or a little of both depending on the project?


Sent from my Verizon 4G LTE Droid

I just roll out 10 gauge sterling silver wire to whatever thickness I need. I adjust the height once the bezel is made. Good visit…Rob

Actually, I’m using small faceted oval stones, 4x6mm and 5x7mm. In subsequent pieces, I’ll probably carve the settings, but for the first, I think just a simple tapered bezel. I think it would be difficult to shape such a small thing, that’s why I was wondering if it’s worth getting an oval bezel block. But ovals are all so different in ratio of long to short sides.
I was considering doing a standard bezel, but I do like the tapered look!

We have both oval bezel blocks and mandrels in our studio. If given a
limited tool budget I’d get a round bezel block and then anneal the round
bezel and use pliers to squish it to what ever shape oval is needed.
Because the ratios so different I often have to adjust the ovals I make
with the oval block anyway.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer