Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Unsetting stones

I can’t find any on removing cabochons from a bezel
setting and I have no experience with it. Does someone know.

Also, a stone came out of a pendant I fabricated. I was amazed
because I thought I had it set properly. It was my first experience
with step bezel. I guess I never got the stone as deep as I thought.
Now I have reset it but I have decided the bezel is too shallow. I
used some Epoxy 333 this time, but I am afraid to offer it for sale
because I’m not sure the Epoxy will hold it indefinitely. Anyone had
any experience with this?

J.S. Ellington

Broken saw blades can be used to loosen the bezel enough to get the
stone out. Use the end that goes into the saw frame. That end is
tempered to be flexible. The toothed part od the blade is more
brittle and you don’t need a broken sawblade stuck in the bezel. I
don’t use glue for anything other than a bullet shape and can’t
advise you on glues. If the stone is well set, glue is not desirable.

Marilyn Smith

To remove a cabachon from a bezel you have to gently pry the bezel
open. I have an Exacto knife that I have re-sharpened for this
purpose. It now has a gently curved edge that I carefully slip
between the stone and bezel, then carefully move around the bezel,
prying it back. Obviously, some stones are softer and more fragile
than others.

A stepped bezel can be re-cut so that the stone sits deeper in the
setting. This can be done with a cylinder bur and flex shaft.

Joel Schwalb

A tool to pry bezels away from stones:

I have found that old burs are great for this task, but, of course
you have to modify them. Take an old round bur and grind it away on
two sides parallel to each other to create a flattened fan-shape.
Then grind away the remaining bur edge. After this is done you must
make the edge into a knife edge. Do this by grinding one side of
the “fan” making one side rounded while the other side stays flat.
Polish the bur sides so the stone and bezel are not scratched.

Place the bur in a pin vise and use the knife edge to pry the edge
of the bezel away from the stone, keeping the flat edge toward the
stone. The size of the bezel will determine the size of the bur you
need to use, but I found the most useful size was about 2.75 mm.
After you make and use the first one you will find that the burs can
be modified in all sorts of ways to make just the right tool for
many bezel sizes and stone shapes.

This tool is best used on silver bezels. Gold is generally too hard
to move after it has been work hardened over a bezel, unless it is a
thin, tall bezel.

Hope this is clearer than mud. And, never throw away a dull or
broken bur. You never know what you can use it for. Any other uses
for old burs?


Hello Larry, You said: “And, never throw away a dull or broken bur.
You never know what you can use it for. Any other uses for old

This could be the beginning of another useful thread: new uses for

broken burs! If the bur has broken off, leaving a tapered shaft,
the end of the taper can be ground or filed into many shapes and

  ~ an ellipse (oval) makes a gentle chisel
  ~ a rounded point makes a nice punch to form dimples
  ~ flatten the point for setting stones (I put it in a cheap engraver)
  ~ sharpen the point and it has many uses

OK Orchidland, share all your cool ideas! Judy in Kansas

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936

Because I am also a painter I have very successfully used a painting
knife which had a broken tip to remove cabs from bezels. The metal
is very thin since its nature is to respond to pressure on canvas.
The one I use broke off at about a 6mm width but you could arrange to
make it any size you wanted if you used a new one. Works great for
me - much thinner than an x-acto or jackknife.

Good luck,
Sue Danehy, VA

When loosening the bezel by prying, consider the fragility of the
stone. If the stone is soft or fragile, you want to be careful not to
use the stone as the fulcrum when you pry.

Lee Einer

We get silver rings in for sizing and if there is a stone that is
bezel set and I am uncertain if it will take the heat, I remove the
stone. I use an exacto knife. I reshape the tip into a more
rounded instead of pointed tip. then I even out the thickness. I
use a sanding disk on my foredome to do the thinning. If you are
very careful you can gently insert the blade between the bezel and
the stone and gently press the bezel away from the stone. the
damage to the bezel is minimal and usually fixable. you can chip a
stone or break it, especially with opals and other soft stones. So
be careful. As to using Epoxy, pearls are epoxied on pegs all of the
time and it is acceptable. You can tell the customer that the stone
is bezel set and epoxied in for extra safety. You cluld also look
for a different stone if the bezel is in a calibrated size and just
use a flatter stone. You can also consider it a lesson learned and
keep it for yourself or scrap it. good luck! mary

All, There have been some very ingenious methods of removing stones
from bezels mentioned in this thread but, I am amazed that no one has
come up with the old tried and true American Indian method using a
ring mandrel and a mallet. As follows: Peel back the bezel with the
tool of your choice. Place the ring on the mandrel with stone
pointing down Hold the mandrel between the ring and the butt end of
mandrel. Place a piece of carpet or towel beneath ring Sharply tap
the butt end of the mandrel ( works every
time ! ) Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.