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The secret of faceted stones and bezels


#1

I was wondering if anyone could lend their personal experience to a
new type of setting I am trying to work on. I have done prong
settings for faceted stones, and box bezels for cabs, but I have not
done any bezel settings for faceted stones. I was wondering if
anyone could point me in the right direction. I was looking at Step
Bezel to see if that would be valuable, with the ledge used to hold
the girdle of the stone. I am a little hesitant though to simply
roll the bezel 90 degrees onto the facets however, as I think I will
get a crimping effect (similar to what happens in square bezels in
the corners if not notched properly). Does anyone have any first
time experiences or mistakes they made that they would like to share
so I try to come out of this with something semi-decent? Is step
bezel a decent way to start getting into this. I would rather not
use a setting for the first time around. I guess I should also
mention I am working in silver. My basic understanding of the
process is:

  1. cut and solder a piece of step bezel to right size and shape.

  2. File down top part of bezel so that when the stone drops in there
    is just a tiny amount of lip that can roll over.

  3. Cross Fingers and start pushing bezel onto stone

Cris


#2

Phillip,

Thank you for the feedback. The one thing I am trying to not have to
do the first time I set a faceted stone in a bezel is use tubing and
setting bur to carve the entire seat, as I see often in many
examples. I’d like to start with some kind of lip if that is possible
:slight_smile: The step bezel I was looking at was just standard plain bezel
but with a lip, but as you point out, it is sterling silver…not
pure, so that will probably become a problem when it comes time to
push it over the stone. I will try the jump ring…that should work
great. thanks for the tip about pushing it into the board - i’m sure
I would have tried some other crazy contraption that would have ended
up making a crooked seat.

-Cris


#3

Cris,

You are starting the project right. You can use the step bezel but
the problem with the step bezel, especially the pattern step bezel,
is that the step and the pattern is on the outside not the inside of
the bezel where it will form a seat to hold the stone up.

A trick that I use is to make the bezel,(Snug fit) as you described.
Do not file the excess solder off the outside of the bezel before you
go to the next step. Next, make a jump ring that snugly fits into the
inside of the bezel. This can be made from thin wire, either square
wire or round, I prefer square as it sits against the bezel wall
better. Slightly press your bezel into a soft solder-rite pad,(or
something similar). With the bezel slightly pressed into the pad,
make sure the bezel is level with the pad. Now place the jump ring
into the inside of the bezel and press it down to the base of the
soldering board. The small bit of solder that is on the inside of
the bezel should flow all the way around the wall of the bezel and
the jumpring leaving a level seat for the stone to sit on. Once
soldered, pull the bezel out of the soldering board and clean. You
can cut and trim the seat so the girdle edge is just below the top of
the bezel. Now it can be burnished over the edge of the stone. It
is advised to use fine silver instead of sterling as it will burnish
over the edge easier. This is a method I have used for over 30 years
and works very well.

I hope this helps. Thanks for listening

Phillip Scott G.G.
Technical Support & Sales
Rio Grande
1-800-545-6566


#4
I think I will get a crimping effect (similar to what happens in
square bezels in the corners if not notched properly) 

I don’t notch my bezels to accomodate sharp corners, and I am able
to bezel-set square stones and stones with much sharper angles,
without crimping. It is a fairly simple technique. I just begin by
bending the bezel in directly at the corner (if we are talking about
a square bezel with 90 degree angles, I would be bending in at the
45 degree mark.) Then, I work from the corner outwards, a bit at a
time, going from one side to the other. The best way to do this is
to put the bezel rocker on the corner and carefully rock it over to
one side or the other.

This works any slack away from the corner of the bezel, and voila,
no crimps!

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com


#5
I was wondering if anyone could lend their personal experience to
a new type of setting I am trying to work on. 

Hi Chris; Depending on how large of stone you are setting will
depend on the width of the outer part of the bezel I use plain fine
silver bezel in various width depending on the depth of the stones
Pavilion. Just cut a piece of Either Half round with around 16 or 18
ga. If it’s a real small stone, 16ga. for 3x5 5x7 Or you can use
round wire, in either case you will have to cut a bearing with a hart
burr so the stone isn’t pinched and breaks the girdle or if you can
get a good enough fit on the outer part then just use a thinner piece
of fine silver bezel for the bearing, this way you can be a bit more
selective about the depth of the set, you just make your outer bezel
from Fine silver, up to I believe Rio Grande makes 1/4 inch x 26 ga.
And down to 3/32 x 28 ga. Very easy to set, and no messing around
with High Dollar per OZ material you have to spend hours messing and
filing to proper height. And it sets easier

Kenneth Ferrell


#6

Chris, I absolutely HATE stepped bezel wire. It’s really hard getting
the stones to fit because the thicker and thinner parts of the bezel
wire bend at different rates, so the top diameter will be smaller
than the diameter right above where the girdle goes. I still make a
bezel that the stone just slides through, than make another, shorter
bezel to fit tightly inside of it, than solder. I find this is less
time consuming than making several tries with the stepped bezel wire.
If anyone has a faster idea, let me know.

Wendy Newman
www.goldgraphix.com


#7

I make the bezel and then make a smaller bezel to set down inside
it. I keep trying the stone until it drops into the bezel just
enough. If it won’t drop down enough, I sand down the inner bezel
some more. The inner bezel does not have to be soldered to the outer
bezel for most applications.

In instances where the underside of the bezel will be visible, I
usually solder the inner bezel to the outer bezel before joining the
ends. Once the ends are joined, if the stone doesn’t drop in far
enough, I grind down the inside bezel a little with a burr on the
Foredoom.

I have done round, trillion, and oval. I would like to do octagonal
cuts but so far have not attempted. Also, I won’t do much smaller
than a 5 mm because it is just too tedious. You can buy good quality
round tube settings from J. S. Ritter at jsritter.com. I am only one
of their customers and do not benefit from their sales. The only
problem I have run into with them is that they have not had a very
plentiful supply when I order.

J. S. Ellington
jsellington@cs.com
432-699-4040


#8
the problem with the step bezel, especially the pattern step
bezel, is that the step and the pattern is on the outside not the
inside of the bezel where it will form a seat to hold the stone up. 

Phillip,

I don’t understand this. It has always been my understanding that
the purpose of the step is to provide a seat for the stone. Indeed,
the only step bezel I have ever worked with has the step on one side
and the pattern on the other side. What would be the intent of
having step bezel with the pattern and the step on the same side?

Dale


#9

Chris, I absolutely HATE stepped bezel wire. And I LOVE using step
bezel on cabochons. One man’s meat is another man’s poison.

I find step bezel convenient because you have only one solder joint
and you don’t need a silver backing on the stone, so that you save
on metal. Also step bezel comes with the step at different depths,
so you can get the size to fit your particular stone. For me it’s
the quickest, neatest, most economical way of setting a cab.
Dee


#10

Wendy,

Using step bezels need not be all that difficult. Simply wrap the
stone with the bezel wire with the stone at the bearing line. When
it is the correct fit, solder. If the top part of the wire has
closed in a bit (which as you say, it always seems to do) just insert
a mandrel of the correct size and shape in from the top and give it a
bit of a tap with a mallet…not a hammer as that would change the
size…the mallet simply changes the shape.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2


#11
   I don't understand this.  It has always been my understanding
that the purpose of the step is to provide a seat for the stone. 
Indeed, the only step bezel I have ever worked with has the step on
one side and the pattern on the other side.  What would be the
intent of having step bezel with the pattern and the step on the
same side? 

Simple step bezel stock has a plain bezel wire, with the added step.
You normally use it with the step on the inside as a seat, but
there’s no rule against soldering this material down to a backing
sheet like normal bezel wire, and using the step only as a
decorative element on the outside. The patterned step bezel referred
to may be one I’ve seen, where there’s a normal square or rectangular
cross sectioned step on the inside, a pattern on the outside, and at
the bottom of the pattern, an additional “step”, which on the stock
I saw, was a half round cross section. It was intended as a
decoration, not a seat for setting. It also served another very
useful purpose. Normal step bezel is difficult to bend around,
since the bezel section tends to “shrink” inwards, due to the effect
of the stepped section on the way the whole wire bends. On the types
with steps on both the inside and outside, this doesn’t happen, as
the bezel section is centered on the thickness of the wire, and it’s
wall stays straight as you bend it to form the bezel. The types of
bezel wire where there’s just a single step, but that step is a half
round bead, are intended to use that bead as a decorative element,
not for setting, and the bezel is soldered to a backing plate, or an
additional seat soldered into the wire after it’s formed.

Peter


#12

Hi, all-

As coincidence would have it, I attended a workshop at Metals-Edge
Studio in Scottsdale this weekend, where amongst other things the
making of step-bezel for faceted stones was discussed and
demonstrated by John Hays, an accomplished metalsmith, phenomenal
instructor and all around Really Fun Guy.

One of the things which John Hayes showed us was how to make a
series of saw cuts (kerf cuts) partially through the step, on the
inside, in the area to be bent, which overcomes the difference in
rigidity between top and bottom and eliminates the problem of the
step bezel bending unevenly.

For those of you in the Metro-Phoenix area, check out Metals-Edge
studio. It is a studio which was built almost from scratch to be a
metalsmith’s dream, complete with many thoughtful touches including
a sound-proofed room for forging. The folks who run it, Carol Berger
Taylor and Terry Valencia, are both accomplished metal artists, and
really, really nice people who are dedicated to the promotion of the
metal arts. And their workshops are great! You can also visit their
site at

http://www.metals-edge.com/

Disclaimer- this is not a paid endorsement and I have no financial
relationship with Metals-Edge Studios. I just think that Carol and
Terri are great people, it is a very well-equipped studio, and those
of you in the area owe it to yourselves to check this place out!

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com