Bead Dazzled – Modifying Burnishers for Safer Bead Setting

by Gerry Lewy on August 7, 2012

Does the thought of burnishing bead tips that are right up against a fragile gemstone make you break out in hives? It’s perfectly normal for your heart to stop for a moment while you contemplate the scenario of crunching the crown or girdle facets of that expensive stone. What do you do to get those beads nicely rounded and burnished without risking damage to the stone?

Instead of reaching for the calamine lotion, reach for a bead burnisher that is slightly larger than the bead itself. If you use a bead burnisher that is exactly the same size as the bead, you will find an unsightly little cup or rim around the top of the bead.

And to make the bead burnisher safer to use around fragile stones, give it a slight modification. Lay the tip of the burnisher on an oilstone at a 45 degree angle and draw it across the stone two to three times to create a little facet just at the tip of the tool. Originally the burnisher should have had a complete circle at the rim. If you look at the tool point with a 10x loupe after making the modification, you will see that it has only 75 percent of a circle. Now, with the faceted tool edge almost resting against the gemstone, you can avoid damaging the facets of the stone while burnishing bead tips. You can even hold the burnisher at a vertical angle without any qualms about breakage, allowing you to safely burnish bead tips to your heart’s content.

Gerry Lewy

Gerry Lewy

Diamond Setter, Instructor, Author.
With over 56 years experience as a stone setter, Gerald N. Lewy, president of Gemz Diamond Setting, is known throughout the diamond setting community as 'Gerry the Cyber-Setter'. Gerald Lewy started his 9-year apprenticeship with a jewellery manufacturer and tutored by a gentleman 'setter', in Haddon Garden, London England. Gerald has redeveloped himself into more than a master setter; his purpose is now to be a teacher of the art as well. If you have any questions on Diamond / Stone Setting you can contact him through this blog

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Joanne G. Mann August 9, 2012 at 4:03

Thank you so much for this tip.

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