How To Tutorial Bezel Setting A Gemstone Cabochon With Sharp / Square Corners

by georgeingraham on May 2, 2009

Bezel setting

Wanted to share a really neat tutorial on how to set a square gemstone cabochon by one of our forum members, Bob of Bobs Premium Cabs shared with us.

Bezel setting a stone with sharp corners is somewhat more difficult than an oval because if it isn’t done properly the excess metal puckers at the corners.
Bezel setting is often called a “rub” over setting. This is because some people use a burnisher to “rub” the bezel “over” the stone. It is quite difficult to do this because you can’t get enough pressure especially in the corners to fully push the bezel over the stone. Because the surface of the burnisher is polished it also makes it more difficult to control the burnisher.
There is a bezel pusher that has a round wood ball handle with a small square metal rod to push the bezel over. It has such a small surface that it introduces dents and creases in the bezel.
My favorite tool is a bezel rocker. It is a wood handle with a metal blade. See full tutorial here……

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

georgeingraham May 14, 2009 at 9:30 am

Thanks for the kind words Michael … !!

Michael Johnson May 14, 2009 at 9:11 am

Moving into the metalsmithing end of the jewelry work will give you some excellent insights into what a jeweler would like in a stone. You already work in some fantastic quality materials, and you have excellent skills in getting a finish and shape in your stones. I am excited to see how this effects the designs of your already excellent cab work :o)

BTW – For the readers, I have just started using some of George’s cabs in my own work, and I am very pleased with his product.

And, it’s great to see that you have an open mind on “how” things can be done. Whenever I see new smiths start off with the notion that things should only be done one way, I am always a little disheartened. It truly limits your creativity to have a preconceived notion that there is only one way to get something done.

Your going to do great, and I can’t wait to see how these explorations effect your newer cab designs :o)
Rock on…

georgeingraham May 10, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Hi Helen, Thanks again for the comments..

I have been using the fine silver and been working out ok.. I am sure once I get better, will expect more in terms of those pesky little scratches..

I do cut a lot of my stones so they are high all the way around.. Can’t finish of the high corners on a softer material though.. Just too much undercutting. Sometimes I will finish them high with no rounded corners. Then sometimes high, but slightly rounded corners on top.

Either way, like you say… No reason to have to mess with any extra work on the bezel tape corners..

Thanks again for the comments, and hope you have continued luck with your silver work!

Helen Hill May 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Hi George,

I’m no expert either, but I have concentrated on trying to make good bezels (always aiming at improving the quality of my settings) for the two years I’ve been making jewellery, so I’ve made lots of observations along the way and have developed a method I’m happy with.

I’ve used mainly sterling silver for my jewellery and have been disappointed with how soft it is and how quickly it picks up scratches, no matter what efforts one makes to work harden and burnish it – so I’m looking forward to a time when I can afford to work in gold. However, having found sterling to be soft, I was even more disappointed this week when I made a baby’s rattle with some of the components in fine silver. It was like trying to make jewellery out of fresh pasta! It worked out well in the end, but I’ll be using all sterling the next time I make one. Having worked with fine silver once, I can honestly say that I’ll never make any bezels out of it – it’s just too soft. It might be easy to turn onto the stone but it won’t look pristine for long in my opinion.

Bob’s tutorial is great, but if you do bezel settings yourself, why not also try it without filing down the corners? If the bezel is exactly the right size – not too big (around the stone) and not too tall – you can still get nice sharp corners without the need to file down the height of the corners – by following Bob’s method of where to concentrate the setting forces. If it doesn’t work for you, you can then always file them down anyway. Having said that, some cabochons are cut with the corners quite low down, so filing bezel corners for such stones might be necessary anyway. Sorry for rambling!

Happy bezel setting!

Helen Hill

georgeingraham May 4, 2009 at 5:30 pm

HI Helen,

I am not an expert by any means, but have to say that from what little bezel work I have done, was struck by and agree about your observations. The filing down of the corners, combined with correct bezel height, and higher stone the corners should set nicely..

Again, I am not an expert. Not yet, but do understand your observations.

Thank you for the comment!

Helen Hill May 4, 2009 at 5:38 am

That’s basically how I do it, in that I worked out by a sense of logic that the metal at the corners must be pushed away from the corner, towards the centres of the sides – but I use the square rod-type tool and hammer to push my bezels. This is due to weak wrists and not being able to use my bezel rocker as I also like quite chunky bezels. I do need to clean up tool marks afterwards though.

I’m not overly keen on filing the corners down lower than the sides though, and have never yet found the need to do so. I also do not like the method some people use, of making a cut at the corner (or taking out a wedge of metal) to avoid excess metal and puckering. As the writer of the tutorial points out, if it’s done correctly, with the bezel being the correct height (not too tall) and the stone fitting snugly, there should be no need for such measures and the bezel should turn onto the stone neatly.

Following the “push the metal away from the corners” method, and having first prepared the bezel setting correctly, it is possible to neatly set even sharp-cornered princess or even triangular cut, faceted stones this way too.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

WordPress Admin