The bezel setting, particularly the round bezel setting, is the simplest method to set a stone. When cabochon gemstones are set correctly in a bezel setting, not only do they look clean and simple, but they also look elegant. If you are someone new to soldering or a beginner, the tutorial given below will help you make bezels and will guide you regarding how to set a stone in a bezel. In this step-by-step guide, we will also tell you the tools you require and the techniques you will use for setting a cabochon stone in a bezel setting. But first, let us discuss what is bezel setting.
What Is A Bezel Setting?
The Bezel setting is considered to be the most protective and durable setting for cabochon gemstones or colored stones. Possessing a sleek and modern appearance, it is known to be one of the oldest setting styles throughout history. So what is a bezel setting? Well, when a gemstone is surrounded by an arc of thin metal rim around the edge of the gemstone, it is known as a bezel setting. Basically, a bezel set of jewelry forms a metal collar around the gem for holding the gemstone in its proper place. This practical setting can add elegance to any jewelry piece.
Different Types of Bezel Settings
Full Bezel Setting
If we speak about the full bezel setting, then in it, the metal rim surrounds the circumference of the gemstone around its edges. You will find in the full bezel setting that the rim is slightly bent inwards so as to secure the gemstone in its place and provide maximum protection to the edges.
Partial Bezel Setting
In the case of a partial bezel setting, the metallic rim partially encircles the gemstone, which also leaves some areas exposed. This style is generally used for faceted stones, because it is quite secure and it also allows light to pass through the stone, resulting in more brilliance and fire.
Decorative Bezel Setting
In the decorative bezel setting, design elements such as bold beading details or intricate milgrain are added along the bezel setting to lend a subtle hint of exquisiteness to the jewelry.
How to Bezel Set a Cabochon Stone: A Step-by-Step Guide
The Kit List
For this project, you need to procure the following key pieces of kit:
- Emery Paper Grade 1200
- A 6mm Round Cabochon stone such as Labradorite
- Sterling Silver Sheet 0.50mm Fully Annealed Soft
- Fine Silver Bezel Strip 3.0mm X 0.3mm
- Hard Silver Solder Strip, 0.60mm X 6.0mm X 600mm
- Medium Silver Solder Strip, 0.70mm X 1.5mm X 600mm
- Technoflux Solder Flux Soldering Fluid, 250ml
- Borax Dried Flux Bar and Ceramic Dish Soldering Set
- Hand Torch
- Soldering Block 150 x 100 x 25 mm Asbestos Substitute
- Picklean Safe Pickling Powder 150g
- Brass Tweezers, Standard
- Grobet Swiss Made 3
- Vallorbe 160mm/6
- Agate Burnisher Straight Blade
- Dremel 3000 Rotary Drill Kit and Flexshaft With 25 Accessories
- Lustre Tripoli Initial Polishing for Most Metals 700gms
- Jewellers Rouge Bar 120g Pure Rouge
Getting Your Bezel Strip Ready For Soldering
- Step 1
Calculate the length of the bezel strip you require for your stone. First, measure the stone’s circumference, which is pi multiplied by the diameter of the stone. Then, to calculate the strip’s length, add a little extra to the above circumference so that the stone can overlap. Then, heat your bezel strip and let it cool down. This will make it easier for you to work with the bezel strip. Then, wrap the strip around your stone leaving a small overlap. If you talk from an idealistic viewpoint, your bezel strip should grip the gemstone tightly enough, so much so that you can pick it up and the strip still holds the stone in its place.
- Step 2
Now, mark the point at which the edges of the bezel overlap. Once you have marked the point, cut. Make sure that the bezel fits snugly around the gemstone. Now, use a flat needle file for filing the edges of the bezel so that it may fit perfectly. The way you will make sure that the bezel fits perfectly is by checking for light. Ideally, no light should be visible through the join when you hold the bezel up.
Soldering the round bezel setting for a perfect fit
- Step 3
By placing a pallion of solder across the joint of the bezel setting, flux the joint thoroughly. Always, always remember to use a harder solder, meaning, the solder you use for the joint should be harder than the solder you use for soldering the bezel onto the base. To avoid the solder jumping, begin with a gentle heat. Gently heat the whole bezel, trying to follow its shape and move in a circular motion. As soon as the solder reaches the melting point, notch up the heat across the joint until the solder flows across the joint. Be cautious since the bezel strip can melt very easily.
Then, quench, pickle, and rinse, followed by cleaning of the joint. After cleaning the joint, smooth it using a needle file and emery paper. Wrap the emery paper around the dowelling for a handy tool for smoothing the inside of the rings. Once done, you will possess a smooth, clean bezel.
- Step 4
For the next step, check the fit via pushing the bezel over the gemstone. At a 45-degree angle, use a flat needle file for filing the beveled edges around the bezel’s flat base. This will allow the solder to flow neatly. Lastly, rub the bezel on a fine grade emery paper (on both sides) in a circular motion to smooth.
How To Make A Bezel Setting
- Step 5
Now, flux a piece of 0.5mm sheet and the underside of the bezel. After placing the bezel centrally, at regular intervals, place the pallions of solder inside. First, heat the whole piece gently to set the flux. Then, move the flame around the inside and outside of the sheet silver around the bezel. Make sure that you don’t heat the bezel itself until the base is almost at the requisite heat. Once you feel that the solder is about to melt, move the flame in a circular motion, matching the bezel shape, to encourage the flow of the solder. Lastly, quench, pickle, and finally, rinse.
Forming your bezel ring setting
- Step 6
Use a piercing saw in order to cut the excess border from the bezel. Make sure that you do not catch the bezel sides. You can use a needle file and emery paper for smoothening any rough edges, and also make sure to lightly bevel the base of the bezel cup. You should now possess a smooth, neat bezel cup that is ready to be soldered onto your chosen piece of jewelry. While soldering it to jewelry, make sure that you use low-temperature solder, so as to avoid any of the previous joints of the bezel cup from opening up while heating.
How to set a cabochon in a bezel
- Step 7
While placing the stone into the bezel cup, make sure it goes in level and sits flush on the very bottom. Using a bezel roller, ease the bezel over the gemstone. Since you have a circular stone, first do this at the cardinal points as this ensures a neat setting with no wrinkling of the bezel. Using your burnisher, continue to smoothen the bezel over the gemstone. Once your gemstone is firmly set, and the bezel looks smooth, give the piece a last polish. If you have followed the instructions as we have discussed, you should now have bezel-set jewelry with a smooth and clean bezel-set cabochon.
We hope that this step-by-step guide has helped you to set your cabochon stone in a bezel setting. There are many practical benefits of bezel settings, for instance, it is the most protective setting (which is important in case you have a softer gemstone such as peridot, moonstone, opal, or turquoise), it is beneficial when you want to hide the inclusions on the sides of the gemstones, and it is easier to clean because of its simple design. However, we recommend that when choosing a bezel setting, don’t just choose it for its benefits – take your personal preference and lifestyle into account.
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