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Tumbling bezel before setting stone


#1

I just love the sheen that the tumbler gives to silver, so I’ve been
tumbling my Argentium silver settings prior to setting the stone
(I’m talking large, cabochon types of settings, using 28 ga Argentium
silver bezel wire). I’m new to bezel setting, and am wondering if
I’m making my life more difficult by tumbling the bezel setting? Am I
more at risk of chipping or breaking the stone, wrestling with a
tumbled bezel wire, or, if at 28 ga, it doesn’t matter

thanks so much
Ros


#2
I just love the sheen that the tumbler gives to silver, so I've
been tumbling my Argentium silver settings prior to setting the
stone (I'm talking large, cabochon types of settings, using 28 ga
Argentium silver bezel wire). I'm new to bezel setting, and am
wondering if I'm making my life more difficult by tumbling the
bezel setting? Am I more at risk of chipping or breaking the stone,
wrestling with a tumbled bezel wire, or, if at 28 ga, it doesn't
matter 

Ros - There are few stones that tolerate mass finishing. If you use
an abrasive media to smooth your pieces, don’t set stones first. If
you are talking about rotary tumbling with stainless, you can get
away with setting some fused glass smooth cabs. Generally, running
your pieces for 30 minutes to 45 minutes is enough to make the sheen
that you like and won’t harden the bezel very much. Certainly 28
gauge should remain fairly malleable. Set the stones after finishing
in the tumbler, be careful to not damage the finish. If you find that
your bezels are difficult to close, try some of the more innovative
adaptions - cutting slots or using a partial bezel and a couple of
prongs - anything that gives some aesthetic interest to what can
sometimes be terribly predictable.

In any case, if you are heat treating the jewelry, set the stones
after heating.

Judy Hoch


#3

One consideration is that pre-tumbling/pre-polishing work hardens the
metal to some extent depending on how long you cycle it. If the metal
is harder to move over the stones, simply spray the warmed metal with
Cupronil first ( to prevent firescale or any further damage to
whatever prefinish you have on the piece, then anneal with a reducing
flame on charcoal block pieces arranged to absorb all oxides from
three sides and the bottom, or anneal a few pieces at a time in a box
of activated charcoal ( like you would find at garden or aquarium
supply stores) in a kiln - an iron box made for putting wood smoking
chips in a grill with any openings on the box sealed with brazed on
cold rolled steel strapping works beautifully as a heat sink and
oxide preventative. It is far faster however and more efficient
energy wise , to simply coat with Cupronil and torch anneal a piece.
If you desire the inside of the bezel polished for some reason- though
you may need to level a stone with sawdust, etc. and realizing it
won’t be seen in the end then keep on as you have been doing! Jewelry
making is not a static prescribed process- it should be as
individualised as the maker, so if you like it done one way don’t let
anyone tell you it is an “incorrect” or superfluous step!Personally I
wouldn’t prepolish the inside of a bezel set anything unless here was
some more complex connection(s) to be made that would preclude your
ability to polish/tumble the whole thing, sy after you had set a
soft-ish stone and any tumbling may damaage the piece once a part of
the assembly was stone set…rer


#4

Hi Ros,

Yes, it is going to make setting more difficult. Not impossible,
though. Another idea might be to protect the stones, after setting,
with a layer or two of thick tape during tumbling—such as
electrical tape or duct tape.

Cynthia
http://www.cynthiaeid.com