My silver bezel had a perfect fit around the stone before soldering to the back plate. After the solder it seems my stone will not fit as the bezel contracted. Any suggestions on how to widen the bezel?
This is fairly common, at least for me. I usually leave the bezel a little loose. My bezels are fairly thick (1.0 - 1.5 mm). Before I even try to fit the stone to the finished bezel, I go around the inside with a small rubber abrasive wheel to clean up any high spots and then polish the inside of the bezel. If there is too much solder around the bottom of the bezel, you can clean it out with a small modified bur where you have ground the head flat. It’s a good idea to lay a length of dental floss across the bezel if it is a closed bezel just in case the stone gets stuck. The floss will help you pull out the stone. I am a lapidary and usually will have cut the stone that I am setting. If there is still some interference, I will attach a dop stick to the top of the stone and then carefully try it in the bezel marking the areas of interference. Using the dop stick as a handle, I can remove a bit of material around the edge of the stone where it interferes. You don’t have to remove much to get it to fit. Once it fits, I give the stone a final polish and set it. I have never been able to explain bezels moving and changing shape when you solder them to a back plate, I just expect it to happen. Good luck…Rob
In my experience, the bezel has been work-hardened during the process of forming it to the stone. When soldering it to the base, the heat will relax the stresses and the shape can shift a bit.
To prevent this, I anneal the work-hardened bezel and gently re-conform it to fit the stone and verify a good contact with the base before soldering it in place. This is especially helpful with bezels for large or irregularly shaped stones. HTH
It can be in how you shape your bezel. I’m assuming we are talking fine silver bezels. If you’re using your fingers to shape the bezel around the stone you may inadvertently bend the top edge of the bezel to the angel of the stone.
I shape my bezels on a flat surface with a tool that is 90 degrees from the flat surface. If you haven’t soldered the bezel to the backplate you can take a metal Rod and a flat piece of steel like a rolling pin inside the bezel and stretch it a bit.
It is very important to anneal your bezels before soldering to a the back plate. Also another important tip is to not over file the solder seam on the side wall where the bezel was soldered closed. Often a bit of the solder will be leached out while soldering to the base even if it is a harder solder than what you are using on the base.
Thanks you so much for these great tips. I will give it a go.
I will start to anneal the bezel, thanks for the tips. Best wishes.