Setting irregular fire agate

Hello everyone! I have yet another setting question. I have a
customer’s highly irregular fire agate that they would like bezel
set with gold on a sterling base. Problem is the stone has a
major slope on the bottom and the side ranges from 3mm to 8mm.
Any advise will be a blessing!


I usually just make the bezel as high as the highest point on
the stone and use grinding tools on the flex shaft to vary the
height of the bezel to the height of the stone. if the customer
won’t let you file down the back of the stone a little to flatten
it out for better seating you can try packing the bezel with

To correct the slope problem, solder is a piece of wire on the
bottom plate of the lower side inside the bezel. This should
raise the stone to an even level.

Virginia Lyons

You could try an irregular shelf under the stone to bring the
girdle up to the same height, or as one of my students solved a
similar problem, by constructing a bezzel deeper than required
and temporarily sitting the stone in place and scribing a line on
the inside edge of the bezzel before removing it and filing down
to that line. Does this make sense to you ? If not, contact me
off line and I will be only too pleased to explain. Cheers,

I have cut and set many fire agates, they’re my favorite stone.

It may be possible to build up the base of the stone where it
slopes by using a metal/epoxy compound (JB weld, Liquid Metal,
etc.) much as it is used to back turqoise and other delicate

As for the bezel I often cut and file it to follow the contours
of the stone. In addition you can completely dispose of the bezel
in some areas and solder in metal prongs and decorative metal
work to enhance the design of the piece. Be creative about how
you use the “bezel” to capture and enhance the stone.

This works for me for irregular stones such as stones that have
slopes, etc. Make your bezel wire out of fine to the highest
dimension plus a teensy bit higher. Do everything else you would
do for a normal bezel. Put in a piece of cardboard cut to the
size of the stone into the bottom of the bezel. This will raise
the stone just a hair when you’re doing the marking and give you
a little leeway after cutting the bezel to make adjustments. Pop
the stone in the setting on top of the cardboard. Take sharp
pointed calipers around the inside of the bezel, riding the
curves of the stone. Pop out the stone and the cardboard. Cut
down to your markings with a mizzy wheel or a metal bur. For burs
I use the long tapered barrels with a fairly coarse cut for fast
removal. When you’re getting to within a hair of your marked
line, true up the edge of the bezel with files. Pop the stone
back in and set. Because of the cardboard, you have enough leeway
to thin out the top of the bezel if necessary and enough of a lip
to curve the edge of the bezel into the stone to make a nice
sturdy setting.

If the slope is actually on the backside of the stone, email
again and I’ll give you some ideas of working that one out. One
of the stones I have that I can hardly wait to put in a setting
is a large drusy crystal from a geode, with the backside of the
stone which has a definite curve (the rind) has been highly
polished. It will be set into a reversible setting. I’ve done
several of these reversible settings for landscape and rutile
crystals which are in a face-out setting, so the light can still
shine through the back, and the viewer and the wearer can see all
sides of the crystal. K.P.