Often when I can get away with it, I set round stones with a concave
Two firm taps and the stone is set.
Takes a bit of practice though.
Bravo Hans! I really enjoyed that ~ and a jewelers loupe in front of
your camera for a close up picture is something I never would have
thought of. thanks!
Boss Studios Jewelry
Very nice, Hans, thank you.
I wonder why you cut the seat with a ball bur rather than a setting
bur. I know a lot of people do this, but I've never understood why.
I have wondered at the products I've seen available for stone
setting (setting punches sold in sets with a storage box) - but I'd
never buy such a thing when the tools can be made so much more easily
Thank you, Hans, sincerely, for the blog post and instructive photos
- you really do magnificent work and I love learning from you.
Hans- We have a set of graduated concave punches in a nice wooden
box that they came in.
Tim has them labeled, "My second favorite tool". Please don't ask
what his favorite "tool" is. It can't be published on this forum.
We have a set of graduated concave punches in a nice wooden box
that they came in. Tim has them labeled, "My second favorite tool".
Please don't ask what his favorite "tool" is. It can't be published
on this forum.
Where did you get those graduated concave punches from? And my
second favorite tool is my brother. ;)
I think we got them from Otto Frei. It's been decades. We don't use
the wooden handle they came with.
We cut the seat for the stone. I then like to get a nice crisp edge
and polish on the top edge with a lap. Clean, then place the stone
in, place the apporpirate size punch on the top and give it a good
tap with a chasing hammer to get the bezel a good way down on the
stone. I check for straightness and I then turn the bezel 90 degrees
and give it a another good tap to bring it the rest of the way down.
I always rotate when setting to keep things straight. After If it
needs it I use a very small highly polished pointed burnisher with
lubricant, usually spit, and rub it around the inner edge where the
bezel meets the stone to crisp it up. You have to be very careful not
to scratch the stone.
This technique for setting bezels workes best on hard perfectly
round stones and must be done while the bezel is firmly supported. I
like to preset diamonds in bezels supported on a steel block this
way, polish and clean the bezels and then solder into the rest of the
piece for a nice clean look.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Concave punches require less pressure for setting if you spin them
slowly in a flex shaft, applying pressure as necessary. but jo
haemer's way is best. Have fun. Tom
Hi all. I've had a set of concave punches for years and use it all
the time. I have polished the concave edge almost to a mirror finish
which transfers to whatever metal is being used. Just my two cents
place the apporpirate size punch on the top and give it a good tap
with a chasing hammer to get the bezel a good way down on the
stone. I check for straightness and I then turn the bezel 90
degrees and give it a another good tap to bring it the rest of the
Jo, How do you support the piece when you are not setting diamonds
(which you say you set prior to soldering to the piece)?
Janet in Jerusalem
I have what sounds like the same box of punches that Jo and Tim
have. I got mine from Gesswein, probably 15 years ago. When it come
to setting 6mm and smaller round bezels and tubes, it's the only way
to go. Cut the seat, level the stone, line up the tube and punch,
smack it and your done. Like Tim and Jo, I don't use the wooden
handle (I have no idea how you would), just a single, firm whack with
a chasing hammer. I don't know that I'd call it my second favorite
tool, but I do have a brother that fits that description.
One thing I have done with mine (the punches, not my brother) is to
polish the inside so it leaves a polished edge on the bezel. I use
white and brown bullets followed by green ones. It takes a while to
do, so I polished each one only as I needed to use it. Two or three
are still not polished.
One little tip though - make sure the punch you use is at least one
size larger than the one that fits the outside diameter of the bezel
the closest. The edges of the punch are thinner so they're weaker and
if a punch is used that just barely clears the outside, it's pretty
easy to break or chip the edge of the punch. The other thing that can
happen is that if you don't get it perfectly aligned, it can leave a
cut or mark on the edge of the bezel, essentially ruining it. A
larger punch reduces the chances of damaging either the punch or the
bezel from a slight misalignment. Cutting a stone out of a punch set
bezel can take some serious time.
The set seemed kind of pricey when I bought it, but the time it has
saved in setting tubes and bezels has more than paid for it. Never
thought about making my own as Hans has done, but it sounds like a
great way to replace the one broken one I have. You can't get
replacement punches, they only sell the full set.
Janet- If the bezel base cannot be supported by a ring mandrel or
steel block pack the underneath with your favorite setting shellac.
The tougher the shellac the better. There are several kinds
I don't use the wooden handle (I have no idea how you would), just
a single, firm whack with a chasing hammer....... The edges of the
punch are thinner so they're weaker and if a punch is used that
just barely clears the outside, it's pretty easy to break or chip
the edge of the punch.
There seems to be some confusion here between two different tools:
bezel setting tools vs. punches. If it comes with a wooden handle, it
ain't a punch and should definitely should not be whacked with a
hammer...:-)...! The bezel setting tools usually come in a wooden box
with 18 tools and a very short, wooden-handled chuck for them. The
larger ones look like punches for cutting or marking circles, and the
smaller ones look like beading tools except that the concave part is
much steeper and there is a hole in the middle. With beaders, the
center of the inverted dome does the work, whereas with a bezel
setter, just the inside edge is doing the work. You use them exactly
like beaders: hold vertically over the bezel and stone with the
mushroom handle in your palm and move your hand in a circle
over/above the bezel in a plane parallel to the floor. It sort of
burnishes the bezel closed over the stone. Use lubrication! I use oil
of wintergreen. If the tool is a smidge too big, you have to be
careful not to do your circle at too much of an angle, or it will
mark a (perfect) circle on the base.
Janet in Jerusalem