Setting bullet shaped stones

Help! I am trying to figure out how to set bullet shaped or cone
shaped stones properly. Everyone I have asked in my studio have told
me they have cheated it a little by using a little glue. I don’t want
to cheat- I want to set the stones properly. any help would be
appreciated! dede

I usually use a small chain nose pliers to tamp down the edge of the
bezel around the stone. Bullets and crystals seem to respond well to
this. Haven’t ever used glue to set one. Never saw the need.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

hi: in my experiance setting bullet type stones, i take a small
square punch and tap the top of the bezel downwards to squeeze the
metal down to the stone… it does not take much and once you clean
it up it holds well, i also have a tool that i ledge steped and the
area that contacts the bezel is rounded so it dives the bezel
inward… hope i have helped you… have a great day and god
bless…ringman john henry

dede -

while it is admirable for you to want set them properly (don’t be
surprised if the people who advised you to use glue won’t give any
much advice in future), it might be best for wearers of your work if
you just use a little E6000. get a few nice examples under your
optivisor & then start learning how to bevel the stones & work the
metal caps. stones & settings are why the jewelry gods invented glue.
good luck - ive

dede: You have to learn to use glue without guilt. There are times
when glue is the most appropriate and secure method of setting a
stone. I like using epoxy behind delicate opals for two reasons: I
don’t have to use extreme pressure around the stone and the epoxy
acts like a cushion to absorb shocks that might otherwise fracture
the stone.

You don’t have to use much to set a bullet-shaped stone. And you can
also close the bezel around the stone for a more secure and finished
setting. Don’t use cyanoacrylite … won’t hold as well as epoxy.
there are some industrial epoxies out there that are
incredible…far stronger than a bezel could ever hold.

And, the use of glue for stonesetting goes back over 2500 years. I
have an ancient Roman ring with an agate…and the stone is held
in the bezel with pitch.


1 Like

Dede hello! Hopefully the metal you are working with to set your
bullet shapes is either sterling or 18k. In and case I like to use an
old ball bur, cut in half. Grind it flat to almost the halfway point.
Renew the teeth by lightly going over with a separating disc or
sanding disc. Hopefully the bur is just slightly smaller diameter
than your stones. Grind away only enough to make it possible to get
the stones in. Creating the shape within the bezel makes it much
easier to get the metal to come toward the stone, and close the gap.
Look at your stone from a side profile. Be sure you don’t leave the
bezels to tall; a common problem. Go by the curve that the
stonecutter put (the angle) where your bezel goes. The taller your
bezel, the more distance (more difficult) you will have to move the
metal to close the gap. Use punches, hammer handpiece, gravermax, to
move the metal. Too hold the pieces is quite another matter. That is
where we all have trouble occasionally. Use shellac on a broom handle
or what-have-you. Warm the metal and burn into wood for a template to
hold with.

Hear, hear, Doug! I’ve always felt a little guilty using the "g"
word, even tho I do use it, especially for bullets and tongues, etc.
However, I will practise “using glue without guilt” in the future,
since hearing it from the master stone-setter’s month!! Thanks -

dede: I have a huge collection of epoxy glues, all of which do not
perform well, then I finally found the perfect Quick Set Epoxy by
Duro it is available in Home Depot for about 1.99. I am so happy
with it. Never lost a stone, even bonds pearls in the settings so
they don’t move around and ruin the nacre. Susan Chastain

Hi Dede, When you say “cone and bullet shaped stones” the briolet cut
stones are included in this I believe. There is a web site” you will see an article about setting the
briolettes. I think this article may help you. Kind regards from
Turkey, Oya Borahan

Dede: I used to think this was cheating too, but then had a customer
send a piece back to tighten a bezel which never would have gotten
loose if the stone had been epoxied in too. I don’t think its
cheating, do your bezel as normal, make sure its tight and finished
nicely but use some epoxy too. If this were cheating then all inlay
work is cheating too. Look as some of Charles Laloma’s bracelet work,
those things would fall apart without epoxy…Dave

Kickass Websites for the Corporate World
Crystalguy Art Jewelry

DeDe, Well first let me say this and try to say it politley… I
wouldn’t let anyone who even menitoned the word “glue” work for me…
I feel if you are going to be a jeweler learn the proper way of doing
things… The “the jewelry gods” didn’t invent glue, I think it was
Elmers… (no offense to anyone) But seriously gluing things is just an
excuse for laziness… Apply even pressure all the way around the
bezel (if it is a bezel and I am assuming it is) It probably won’t
tighten on the first go round but keep going around the bezel applying
an inward yet downward force… Trust me… it will tighten… be patient
and persistant…And NO GLUE!!!
Marc Williams

I hate to say it… and I reserve the right to deny saying it at
all… but Mr. Zaruba is right about the glue-- sometimes you need

I too use glue as a backer w/ certain opals and opaque stones.

  1. as a cushion (as Doug said)

  2. as a filler to level out a cabachon stone w/ an oddly contoured
    bottom. In this case you allow the epoxy to set before you work the

  3. as a filler/ spacer to stop a stone from rocking. The problem w/
    a abullet along w/ the steep slope of the bezeling angle is the length
    which allows for considerable leveredge and potentialy allowing the
    bullet to rock loose

With the exception of pearls, I rarely rely on glue aka: chemical
bonding, soley to set the stone. But it makes for a dandy back up
system and adjunct to bezels, backsets, etc…

Truly, this is not a matter of craftsmanship, but of physics. A tall,
narrow bullet or tongue simply exerts too much force against the bezel
due the principle of leverage. Better to glue than to have your
customer’s stone come loose or even fall to the floor and shatter.

Lee Einer

I think I should appologize in advance before I get bashed for the
glue comment… So I am sorry if anyone took that the wrong way… I
meant no harm… My only meaning was that I take an extreme amount of
pride in my work and in the fact I mtyself don’t glue anything… I
always find a way to tighten and secure anything I set… with no
returns for stones falling out… So once again I appologize…and
every pne has the ability to do anything if you are persistant… Marc

Mark, Never say never…there are always exceptions. In the case of
bullets, I agree that a patient approach will usually result in a
tight set, however, this smacks of ignoring the effects of usage by
the customer. If you use stock .999 Ag. bezel and, if the bullet has
vertical sides…and, if the customer “sleeps” with the piece, it
is a virtual certainty that the stone will work loose ! A dab of glue
will do you ! If you are so purist that glue won’t do, then I suggest
that you use a very thick sterling bezel and pray…either that or
keep a replacement stone in stock!

Susan, Your assessment of epoxy glue accords with my
experience…Duro is an excellent glue. Since it comes in a five
minute type and a 24 hr. set, you have to consider the
application…the slower curing version is definitely superior in
holding power to the five minute version. You also have to consider
whether discoloration due to aging and exposure is going to be a
problem. Using it to replace crystals in watches, for example, might
lead to problems. In that case you would want to use a u/v curing
type. The alpha cyanoacrylates ( magic glue ) can also have severe
limitations as they are extremely vulnerable to impact shock. I use
it occaisionally when I am glueing a stone to a nail in order to trim
its girdle. All it takes to remove it is a sharp tap on the shank of
the nail with another nail…the stone pops off as if it had never
been glued ! Remember too that most of the epoxies and all of the
"alphas" have a short shelf life so it behooves you to buy it from a
store which has rapid turnover and you should not store it for more
than a month or so after opening. Ron Mills @ Mills Gem Co., Los Osos,

Andrew hello! Well, I am compelled to pipe up again! Solely for the
on-the-fence folks who might consider using glue a little more now,
than prior. I think the biggest reason to go to the TUBE, is to save
TIME. In my book, not a good enough reason, by itself. I admit to
using glue for all the reasons you mentioned, Doug and Andrew. I now
do my best to do without; for ethical reasons. Okay call me a stick
in the mud or worse; but I don’t see the use of glue as routine. It
definitely has its place, however! For instance when I do an inlay,
epoxy must be used.Incidently, opals are soft, they are glass,
hardened epoxy is not going to save an opal from breakage. It will
keep any of the pieces from falling out, however. Seen that a few
times. However if I am setting a cameo from the late 1800s with a
bottom edge like a motorcycle track, that’s where I employ the
patience and knowledge of working metals to tighten without epoxy. If
at some point the cameo is at risk I feel, and further setting
efforts should stop, I will use epoxy. The contours fitted with
uniform metal and no gaps, etc.; as nice in appearance as possible.

I guess the bottom line is a question. Could you explain the purpose
of the use of epoxy to your customer? Could your customer then check
with another (they often do) operation (store, jeweler) and verify
your reasoning? When I use glues I have no reservations. I am not
taking shortcuts, my ethics are sound. When using glues, just be sure
you are not just saving time. You could be setting up some jeweler
down the road who polishes and cleans the piece you made so well;
they break the bond of glue you used. Now you have a loose stone, an
upset customer, and a setting job you didn’t ask for! That should do

PS If you have a black inlay project, try your charcoal block on some
emery paper or 4/0 hand file. Use the powder with your epoxy to match.

    I hate to say it... and I reserve the right to deny saying it
at all..... but Mr. Zaruba is right about the glue-- sometimes you
need it. 

I have to agree, somewhat, with the conditions you outline. One of
my problems with glue is it doesn’t last as long as the rest of the
piece, assuming it’s not made of paper, wood, bugs, etc. It also
doesn’t hold up well to ultrasonics, steam, and even fairly slight
heat. I still think we in the trade tend to get painted into our own
technical corners. The jewelry trade is conservative, even in the
art schools.

I agree that a little glue won’t hurt in certain cases, especially
for the opaque stones; but, a well cut cabochon should not require the
use of glue. Some bullets were cut by “craftsmen” that do not
understand how bezels are set. It really is a matter of craftmanship.
Will Estavillo,

... I take an extreme amount of pride in my work and in the fact I
mtyself don't glue anything....and every pne has the ability to do
anything if you are persistant. 

marc - ah yes, the difference between those who all the time to be
profoundly perfect & persistently proper in all work & those who do
only excellent work is called: making a living. to jumblephrase an
english philosopher: ‘a man who does nothing without perfection will
do few things ill, but he will do exceedingly FEW things.’ no hard
feelings - ive