My latest accomplishment – learning how to bezel set stones and teaching myself how to set faceted stones (even though I signed up for a second round of classes to learn other techniques to set gemstones) and I am really excited about it! I put together a little ‘how I did it’ to show you what all it takes.
This is most of my supplies that I use to make a ring – on the left are the setting tools, including a ring clamp, mandrel, burnisher, bezel pusher and roller. In the middle is all of the soldering stuff: flux (in the white jar), needle files, fire brick, butane torch, solder (easy, medium and hard), steel block, bench pin, pliers and cutters. On the right is the bezel, wire for the band, the stone and a raw hide hammer.
The stone, ring wire and bezel wire.
First step is cutting the bezel to fit the stone being set
The ends must make a clean ‘join’ (the place where the bezel wire ends meet) without gaps so the solder will flow evenly
It was hard to get a picture of the solder process, but above is what I am left with after adding a bead of solder to the bezel and forming it. The next step is to put this in a pickle pot to clean it from any icky thats left behind.
While the bezel is pickling, the next step is forming wire into what will be the band. I simply wrap the wire around the ring mandrel a little smaller than the size I want it to be and mark where the cut needs to be.
Then, using a jewelers saw, I make the wire cut, which leaves a pretty clean seam
Same as the bezel, the ends have to match up nearly perfectly to make a clean solder join
Apply the flux (before soldering anything, flux must be applied, which keeps the surface you are working on clean) to the area being soldered and heat it until it’s a glassy liquid and then apply the solder (for the first joins, I use hard solder – it has a higher melting temp.) – then put it in the pickle.
After about 5 minutes, the bezel is done pickling and I place the stone in to shape it and make sure it fits, then take the stone back out
To make the base of the bezel, I use a sterling silver sheet and cut out the amount I need to fit under the bezel.
Then solder in place using the same process as before.
A shot of the torch in progress – when the piece is pinkish red, the solder should flow (my solder pik in the background helps move the solder beads around)
After the band is done pickling, I put it back on the mandrel to round the ring out and use the raw hide hammer to stretch it out a little.
After the bezel base is done pickling, take it out and use the jewelers saw to cut around the outside of the bezel.
Leaving just the bezel wire with the base
The sides need to be filed down after the ends are cut off, then solder the bezel to the band – this took a while, trying to figure out the best way to hold the ring vertical on top of the bezel, which also resulted in a painful burn on a couple fingers…careful not to touch the hot metal 🙂
Once the bezel is soldered on the band (using medium or easy solder), the stone can be set in place
Using a ring clamp, I hold the ring and use the bezel pusher to push the top of the bezel down onto the stone (going north, south, east, west to make sure you aren’t left with a clump of metal at the end). Then I use a table grinder with buffing wheels and polishing compound to polish the ring to a shine.
And the final product!
Not bad for my second setting, huh? 🙂 I’m pretty proud
The first one I did – Woohoo!! Once I’m more comfortable doing it, I’ll start making more and selling, but it took about 7 hours to make 2 rings…so I’m a bit behind the curve, but I’ll get there 🙂