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Setting Advice


#1

Well, folks, I’ve fallen into the “Oh, sure, I can do that” trap
and find myself in deep stuff. I have a .5ct diamond to set into
one of those round bezel settings with holes on the sides that
slide on a thin chain. No problem with the 14K setting - sprue
marks gone, polished up like a dream. Placed the stone into the
open-bottomed “cup” and tried to work the bezel over the stone.
Hmmmmm. Since the setting is double the thickness around the
stone, I have a wee problem rolling the bezel over, not to
mention that until I can get it started the stinking stone slides
around like it has a life of its own. Since this is an open
backed setting about 10mm across and 5mm deep, using stone
setting pliers is out of the question without crushing the outer
shell. And, no, I don’t have a hammer handpiece for my flex
shaft. Anyone got any ideas before I lose my mind and make
permanent indentations in my fingers from trying to hang onto
this sucker?

Hoping to hear some pearls of wisdom from the experts,

Susan

C Gems

@C_Gems
http://www.pipeline.com/~schenoweth/


#2

I can’t picture the setting just now but try burnishing down
against the top inside edge of the bezel. The hole cut for the
stone shouldn’t be much larger than the stone because you want
to “mushroom” the top inside edge of the bezel down onto the
crown of the stone. If the hole and the stone are the same size
any reduction in the diameter of the hole will contain the
stone.

DC


#3

Susan, I certainly don’t qualify as an expert - but in this case
I think I have a solution for you. Tack the stone into position
with a tiny drop of cyanoacrylate glue before you start working
the bezel. Once you have enough of the bezel in place to hold
the stone, drop the piece into a little bottle of acetone, close
the bottle, and let it set overnight to dissolve the glue. In
the morning you’ll be able to finish closing the bezel without
struggling to restrain a slippery diamond. -Pete-


#4

Hoo baby, I’ve been getting tons of those things thru our
shop…they ARE pretty, aren’t they? You can go two routes: warm
the setting and sink it into a plate loaded with shellac, or
solder the setting onto a copper plate. The larger plate will
support the work and hold it firmly in place. I guess that you’re
not using a Benchmate? No problem, set the whole shebang up in a
vise to keep both hands free for work, and use a steel tool with
a head about 1mm x 1mm, polished and smoothed around the edges to
GENTLY tap the bezel down. It’s not all that tough, and if you
use careful controlled taps you achieve a very smooth and even
bezel you can be proud of.

Kathy, awash in a sea of bezels in Ardmore, PA


#5

Set your bezel in setters cement on the end of a dowel.This
material is gently heated till soft ,don’t make it bubble .Push
your setting into this cement, wait till it cools( hardens). Set
your stone in the bezel. Lock the wood on a vise so that your
hands are free. Make a small “pusher” out of a piece of brass
and hammer over the bezel starting at cardinal points, then
completely around.If the bezel is too thick and won’t yield to
your ministrations (assuming you annealed the bezel) there is no
harm in thinning the wall down to a managable thickness. One of
the problems most “beginners” have in setting is that they make
the opening for the stone to large and not deep enough.The stone
should fit tightly and have to be pushed down, say with piece of
soft copper rod, into the setting,then you will not experience
the stone rolling out of the setting…good luck.

Stanley R.Rosenberg


#6

Two tools which may work:

First, Indian Jewelers sells a bezel setting device. It’s a
mandrel which goes over the setting and the stone. You tap it
lightly with a hammer, which tightens and folds the metal over
the stone. It has a little doohickey inside which prevents damage
to the stone. Range in price from about $12-$20, comes in rounds
and ovals. Expensive, yes. But how much does frustration and
smashed thumbs cost?

Second is a bezel rolling device sold by Alpha Supply. This is a
drum mounted on a mandrel. Inset into the drum are cylindrical
rollers. You put it in your handpiece and use light pressure to
go around the circumference. As it travels, the cylinders "beat"
the metal down. You can’t use it for soft or delicate stones
however.

Third, not a tool, but a setting tip which may work. Place the
works in a pitch bowl or soft wax, embedding firmly. Use a punch
and small hammer to snug up the setting. That’s four cardinal
points first, then a couple taps between the points, then all
around to snug it firmly. Release the setting from the pitch,
clean up with spirits and finish cleaning with steam or
ultrasonic.

Hope this helps to get you on your way. K.P.


#7

you might try soldering some solid stock to the back so it can
be clamped in place…then cut it off after the stone is set.
Hopefully this will help


#8

Hi Susan, Before I got my grave master I used to hammer in
stones with a nail punch, I still have the tool and find lots of
uses for it. I also just got a small pitch pot holder. You just
heat the pitch with the torch and press in the item that is too
small to hand hold and hammer away. If you can, bevel the edge
of the bezel so that you are not trying to hammer too thick a
edge over on the stone… Hope this helps

Janine in Redding,CA.


#9

Susan, You might try imbedding the setting in your pitch bowl
and then using a hammer and punch or a new plastic ive found at
Frei/Borel in SF, Cal.great stuff, holds great, or the old
standby , shellac. Susan youll still have to get started to keep
that stone from bouncing out , the plastic is slightly sticky, so
you can bore out a seat into it and put the stone in while warm,
then set it, try slightly thinning out the bezel alittle…I
hope this gives you some help , save your fingers.

Robert Taylor Smith


#10

Dear Susan, you are going to get bucket-loads of pearls of
wisdom on this one. When I was taught to set, we used shellac
sticks to hold small work. This was simply a bit of wooden broom
handle which was cut to a comfortable holding length of around 5"
or 6". One end was charred a little with the bench torch and
dipped into a bag of shellac flakes while the timber was still
smouldering.

This caused flakes to adhere and it was then just a simple
matter of keeping the shellac sticky in the flame and dipping it
into the shellac flakes until you got a sufficient build up of
melted shellac to support whatever it was you wanted to set.

Once there was enough shellac stuck to the stick one would shape
the still hot and pliable goo by smoothing it against a cold
steel “steady” or hammering block, then heat the work to be set
and settle it into the cloying embrace of the shellac. If the
shellac got too cold, it was prone to cracking, but we’d avoid
this by dipping it in hot water every now and then.

I still use shellac because I like the smell of it - reminds me
of when I was younger (ahhh).

Today, there are some very efficient low-melting-point setting
waxes made just for this purpose which we use when we teach
setting in the trade course module. Jewellery supply houses stock
the setter’s wax and shellac can be bought from a hardware or
woodworking supplier. It’s used diluted in spirit for French
polishing.

Kind regards,Rex from Oz


#11
  ... Since the setting is double the thickness around the
stone, I have a wee problem rolling the bezel over, 

Before the relatively recent developement of hammer handpieces
(not to mention electric flex shafts…), the tool of choice for
such a task would be a chasing tool driven with a small chasing
hammer. If the bezel is suffiently exposed to access, you can
even use just a riveting hammer, without the chasing tool/punch,
but the chasing tool will give you better control.

   not to mention that until I can get it started the stinking
stone slides around like it has a life of its own. 

What kind of seat did you cut for the stone? A properly cut
seat, even for a bezel, should be a pretty snug fit. The stone
isn’t supposed to be able to slop around like that. When it
does, it only means that you’ll have a harder time keeping it
level as you tighten it, and you’ll have to move a whole lot
more metal over the stone to get it tight. But once you’ve got a
sloppy seat to deal with, you can at least solve that aspect of
it by taking a bit of the red boxing wax (sticky, soft red wax,
pliable at room temp, smearing a bit of it over the stone and
bezel inside edge both, so it’s now holding the stone in. Don’t
use very much. This alone would work, but is messy and it’s hard
to see what’s going on, so now take a tiny torch flame and just
brush the stone and setting with it to melt that wax. It will
run down around the girdle and under the stone, making the stone
nicely visible again, while also sticking the thing into position
pretty well. Before you get the stone quite completely tight,
you may in some cases want to steam or boil the wax back out
again, allowing the stoch to jiggle a little while you tighten
the metal. That allows you to detect the point at which the
stone is held tight (it stops jiggling) without going too far and
putting stress on the stone.

   Since this is an open backed setting about 10mm across and
5mm deep, using stone setting pliers is out of the question
without crushing the outer shell. And, no, I don't have a
hammer handpiece for my flex shaft. Anyone got any ideas before
I lose my mind and make permanent indentations in my fingers
from trying to hang onto this sucker? 

One thing to keep in mind as well, when the bezel is thick
enough that you cannot just “fold” it over the stone, is that the
direction of pressure from the hammered punch changes. You are
not hammering the bezel toward the center axis of the stone from
the side in, as you’d do if you were just pushing a soft bezel
with a burnisher or the like. What you’re doing is pushing the
bezel almost but not quite straight down along the plane of the
bezel wall, only slightly angling the pressure to the stone. The
bezel is being compressed and thickened by this, not bent. It
will build up a burr towards the inside as it compresses, and
this edge growing inward is what will hold the stone. Use very
gentle small hammer blows once the bulk of the metal has been
moved mostly to where it needs to be. Once the stone just barely
stops jiggling, but not quite, you then can switch to a burnisher
(a pro would keep right on going, with his/her hammer handpiece
or punch, but it takes some practice to do this without danger to
the stone, so initially, I’d recommend putting the hammer down
before the stone is absolutely tight) The burnisher is then used
in the same direction of pressure, straight down on that inner
edge, folding it further down toward the stone, forming a
reflector angle. As you work that edge down, the metal has to
go somewhere, and it’s lower edge will work itself even more over
the stone. The final step is simply working the burnisher around
that inside reflector angle until the metal is tight to the stone
and even. Any unevenness can now be cleaned up with a well
polished flat graver. Once that is done, you file off the
excess metal that is on the outside edge of the bezel, some of
which will have spread even outwards from the plane of the bezel
wall. When you’ve done that, it will look as though the edge had
been “folded” inwards, instead of the vertical compression you
actually caused.

Oh, and did I forget to mention, during ALL of this, the bezel
is firmly imbedded in shellac on a stick or block of wood you can
hold in a vise, engravers ball, or whatever you choose that
leaves your hands free to work the tools. The engravers ball is
the best, but you can improvise other things. Only that final
emery/file trimming of the outside of the bezel is done after
it’s been cleaned up from the shellac.

You’ll find that with practice, you can set this way only
slightly slower than with a hammer handpiece, and some setters
prefer this manual method for exceptionally fragile stones, as
each individual impact is precisely controllable, where hammer
handpieces tend to run away from ya sometimes. The big advantage
of a hammer handpiece, aside from speed, is that you need only
one hand for it, leaving the other free to hold the work in a
ring clamp or whatever, so you don’t need the seperate engravers
ball to hold the work. You sacrifice some control, but gain back
that two handed operation if you skip the punch and work directly
with the hammer face. But you have to be very careful where and
how you’re hitting, and you cannot switch to a tiny punch to
work small amounts of metal as precisely…

  Hoping to hear some pearls of wisdom from the experts, 

Oh, geez. You wanted a real expert… ULP. Well, maybe this
helped anyway. :slight_smile:

Peter Rowe


#12

Susan,

Try soldering the settining to a base sheet which you can then
clamp or hold down somehow. Then you have two hands free to use
a setting punch and a small hammer to set the stone. The stone
shoulkd not be swimming in there anyway… this indicates that
the fit is incorrect. If there’s no goin’ back, you can use a
wee bit of Krazy glue (cyanoacrilate) to hold the stone still,
set it and then acetone the glue away.

OR

You can use a hart bur or graver to undercut the inside of the
bezel, above the stone’s girdle and below the bezel’s upper rim.
Thius thins the metal and makes it much easier to push over
without hammmering and it still leaves a nice heavy look. (Don’t
cut through the bezel)

You may have to soledr it to a plate anyway, but you just
unsolder it or cut it loose when you’re finished. I’ve done this
often.

Good luck, Andy Cooperman


#13

Susan : I’m no expert either but I would use a silicone or
rubber wheel to thin the bezel down, tapering thinner towards the
top. I can’t quite picture the setting but you could probably use
dopping wax or one of those shellac sticks to hold the piece
while you tap the bezel down. You could make a piece of steel
into a punch with an end like a blunt screwdrive and tap it down
with that and a hammer. Work opposite sides while tapping it
down being careful to tap it to correct the levelness of the
stone. 14kt is a bear to work with, I work with silver and glad I
have a setting hammer for my flexshaft. They take practice and I
usually end up having alot of cleanup from the hammer but at
least it beats that stuff down…Dave

Kickass Websites for the Corporate World http://www.kickassdesign.com
Crystalguy Jewelry http://www.opendoor.com/stephensdesign/crystalguy.html
Recumbent Cyclist’s Advocacy Group
http://www.opendoor.com/stephensdesign/bent/rcag.html


#14

hurt your fingers? i mean maybe im reading you wrong, but you
should always use a pitch stick when setting. Grobet sells black
setters pitch, and you set it up on a 6 inch long piece o broom
stick. Heat up the pitch stick with a hair dryer, or hold it in
front of a bushy acetylene flame, about as close as it is
comfortable to put your hand in front of it. when mushing the
pitch around use different fingers every time you touch it,
otherwise the heat of pitch will heat your fingertips and as soon
as the two (your fingers and the pitch) are both warm the pitch
will stick to your fingers, or use a spoon or dip your fingers in
water regularly. when the pitch is might malleable hold the
setting with tweezers and brush it through the flame too, if the
setting is somewhat hot, the pitch will hold it better. once the
setting is held in the pitch securely set away. With thick metal
you will hit a wall in the degree to which you can move the
bezel… the thing to do is to start with a shallow angle and
move to the steeper angles as the setting progresses. each time
you change the angle of the bezel pusher as it relates to the
wall of the bezel you make new slip planes in the metal
accessible. Good Luck, Robb.


#15
  ... pushing the bezel almost but not quite straight down
along the plane of the bezel wall, only slightly angling the
pressure to the stone.  The bezel is being compressed and
thickened by this, not bent.  It will build up a burr towards
the inside as it compresses, and this edge growing inward is
what will hold the stone. 

Exactly what I do. This is called ‘upsetting’ the edge. I have
thick 1.2mm bezels for my 10mm cabs and I do much as Peter
describes. ‘Ceptin’ I settle for a simple punch marked finish. In
fact I get what the blacksmiths do to rivet heads, that rose-bud
look, using a rounded punch and fewer hit-points (concentr the
blows in say 7 places round the bezel).

  Oh, and did I forget to mention, during ALL of this, the
bezel is firmly imbedded in shellac on a stick or block of
wood you can hold in a vise, engravers ball, or whatever you
choose 

I use a vice with that urethane sheet they use in hydraulic
pressing.

Brian
B r i a n =A0 A d a m J e w e l l e r y E y e w e a r =A0
@Brian_Adam1 ph/fx +64 9 817 6816 NEW ZEALAND
http://www.adam.co.nz/


#16

Hi Susan,

Try a French Bezel Setter, (at least that's what they're called

here). This usually comes in a wooden boxed set of small
interchangeable, solid steel “rods” with concave heads. The"rods"
fit into a wooden handpiece which is included. Choose the
appropriate size rod, fix it in the handpiece. Then, place the
bezel, with the stone seated in place, on a flat steel pad or
anvil. Fit the head of the rod over the stone in the bezel
perpendicularly, and give it a few taps with a flat-headed
engraver’s hammer until the bezel folds completely over the
stone. Because the pressure exerted by the steel fitted around
the bezel and the stone is contiguously equal, the bezel is
forced over the top of the stone evenly and cleanly. I then
polish the finished setting with an extra-fine, pale pink
silicone wheel. I would also recomend threading a piece of steel
through the thread-holes on your particular setting, to reduce
the risk of them collapsing when you set the stone. I learned
this from the diamond workers here in Los Angeles. Works for
cabuchons too if they are not too highly domed.

Good Luck,

Lisa,(Beserk tic season going on here, poor dogs. Considered casting one
of the little devils. Think of it, a cute little tic on a silver chain.
My son says that I have a sick sense of humor), Topanga, CA USA


#17

Hi Susan

Frei & Borel has a new product called Plastiform Plastic
Shellac. This is the best holding device for small parts that I
have ever seen. It will not crack ,chip, or gum up your burs and
you can shape into holding jigs that will fit into a vise,
engraving ball or shape it into a handle for your hand. This
product melts at140 degrees but is rock hard at room temp. I use
hot water or a steamer to make it workable and run it under cold
water to harden it. After setting, a shot of steam and the piece
comes right out. Attack is a solvent that will remove any
residue that may be left on your piece.

After you secure your pendant remove any unwanted material that
would keep your stone from seating properly. If you cut your seat
to large and your stone is bouncing around, you can use a stripe
of clear packing tape or clear scotch tape pressed onto the
stone’s table and molded to your mounting. Using a taping tool
(punch) with about a 1 mm flat face and a chasing hammer, begin to
tap the bezel wall. Tap around the bezel as evenly as you can,
while maintaining control over the tapping tool. After you are
sure the the stone is secure remove the tape and continue to tap
until the metal is evenly touching the stone. There is a great
description in the book, “Diamond Setting the Professional
Approach” of the burnishing tools and techniques that will help
you to get that clean look.

P.S. You may want to anneal the piece before you try setting it
again.

Good Luck,
Blaine Lewis


#18

Well you don’t need to have a hammer setter tool for your flex
shaft to hammer set a diamond. You can use a chasing hammer and
a flattened chasing tool to hammer set it. I would recommend you
put it in pitch to hold it and then use your hammer and chasing
tool to set it.


#19

hey I tried lots of stuff to hold things I was working on like
setting stones. I have done a lot with cast bezels., in both 14
and 18. the easiest thing to do is put the ring snuggly on to a
tapered mandrel.


#20

Susan: Get thee a hammer piece for your flex shaft! You’ll find
it invaluable for this and many other applications over the
years. BTW, you’ll need to file or emery down the outside of the
bezel to about .7mm and perhaps anneal it to be sure it will roll
over easily & smoothly. As for the stone moving, use beeswax to
hold it. Simply apply a little on the seat and gently press the
stone down into it.

Reguards;
Steve Klepinger