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Trick to Setting Stamped Bezels?


#1

I got some 14k stamped gold open-back oval bezels from Hoover &
Strong, and I took them to a someone who was going to show me how to
set my calibrated cabochons in them, but she was unable to do it.
Whenever she tried to push the bezel over the stone with jeweler’s
pliers, and also with prong setting pliers, the metal would flex, so
she never could get the stone to remain seated, and was unable to
burnish the bezel to get the metal to rest against the stone. She
tried annealing the metal, and also grinding to thin it out, but
nothing worked. Is there some trick to this, or was she just using
the wrong techniques?

DMGreer, LLC
www.luxefon.com


#2

I did some fine silver bezels when I was in high school, but never
since.

When I entered the trade, I was introduced to commercial bezels. We
often used them to rebuild bezels on school rings. Plenty of other
uses as well, but they are in almost no way similar to using fine
silver bezels.

First make sure that you have a close fit. After soldering the bezel
in whatever ways will be necessary, the top of the bezel should be
trimmed to less than a millimeter from the top of the stone. The top
edge should be tapered at around 45 degrees away from the stone. A
razor edge is not really what we want here, so it would be good to
provide about .1mm of surface to the top of your bezel. At this
point, it should be possible to hammer the top edge of the bezel down
onto the top of the stone with a slightly curved brass punch. This
hammering should not be aimed toward the stone, but directly down.
The influence of the taper will cause it to move toward the stone
automatically. Remember that the only part of the bezel that you are
really trying to move will be the top that you have tapered. Finish
the top of the bezel with a pumice wheel.

Good luck.
Bruce D. Holmgrain
JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler
http://www.goldwerx.com