Bezel setting is a type of circular setting that envelopes the stone on all sides, creating one of the sturdiest and most secure settings there are.
The steps of making a bezel are:
- Determining the size of the bezel needed by measuring the diameter of the stone.
- Determining the attempted height of the bezel.
- Creating bezel itself. Bezel can be considered a type of small ring you’re making for your stone.
- Soldering the bezel ring to a backplate.
- Forming the plate to the correct shape.
- Soldering the now-formed bezel to you jewelry piece.
- Finishing the piece to a rough polish and setting the stone.
Large and small bezels have the same challenges:If too much height is left on the bezel ring, the harder it will be to set. Then again, if too much height is filed off, the setting won’t hold the stone in place.
Bezels are set using different types of tools. Here they are listed according to the amount of muscle power that is needed.
- Bezel rocker or roller. Doing this by hand is the most laborsome way of setting.
- bezel punch that is polished to mirror shine.(usually all your setting tools should be mirror polished)
- You can also purchase sets of bezel punches that make the setting much faster with a more professional looking finish.
- Goldsmith’s hammer or setting hammer.
- Air pressure hammer tools can also be used for this type of setting. this is the easiest and fastest way to set even though it requires more practice.
Once the setting has been completed, the surrounding material can be filed with a goldsmith’s file (grade 6 or finer), with a polishing wheel, or it can be evened out by cutting with a sharp engraver. I used the goldsmith’s file and polishing wheel methods because I didn’t feel comfortable with engraving tip yet.
Tip on setting bezels: with larger stones the bezel ring will be hard to set because metal hardens quickly. This can be counteracted by thinning the topmost part of the ring with a file.
Bezel setting is easier the less metal has to be moved around. So do yourself a favor and work smarter not harder by:
- Filing the bezel ring to a correct height. This should be at the point in which the stone starts to curve away from your measuring device, such as caliper.
- Thinning the topmost 3 mm to about 1/4 to 1/2 of the thickness of your material.