Stone Setting Course

I have been wanting to learn how to set stones for as long as I can remember and this year I managed to find one nearby to spend the day creating a ring or pendant with a bezel setting! It was really exciting to be with like-minded women in a school workshop and learn the skills we all needed to complete our ring or pendant.

Some of the class working away...

We started off with some basic skills at the begining of the day which I did know but it was all good practice and built my confidence a little more. Then we started to make the bezel settings making sure they fit round the stone we had chosen. I chose a turquoise - which is my ultimate favourite :-) Unfortunately I managed to cut the tip of my thumb quite badly and it wouldn't stop bleeding even with plasters all over it which made me work a lot slower than usual. At one point I thought I may not complete the full ring but I managed to pull it off.

... the rest of the class

Soldered bezel strip

So we had to wrap the bezel strip around the stone, saw and solder it to make an oval tube. Then sand it flat on one end and solder it to the little square base, cut the excess of around the tube and file / sand it all smooth and neat. And also sand down the lip until it was lower than the height of the stone. My stone wouldn't fit in at this point so I just crossed my fingers and hoped I would be able to tap it in later.

Bezel in two pieces cleaned up and ready for soldering

Bezel fabrication complete.

Then to make the ring - this is where I caught up time as I could do this on my own without instruction and I was so behind the others no one was using the tools I needed. So with my piece of flattened wire I anealed it and beat it round the triblet until the ends overlapped and it was size N. Then used the saw to cut through both ends at the same time so they would fit together perfectly and soldered them. Next I filed a flat surface on the join where the bezel would sit.

Me cutting with the piercing saw

Ring fabrication complete.

By this time everyone making a ring rather than a pendant was ready to solder ring to bezel. So we all helped each other set up the third arm and tweezers to hold the ring in place for soldering - there is nothing worse than your piece moving whilst you are soldering and suddenly it is on wonky!

Gwen our teacher soldering with the blow torch

Once that was done we had to clean it up and use the emery papers to start to polish the piece. We didn't get them completely polished as we were running out of time. So Gwen showed us how to set the stones. I managed to tap mine in luckily and then we had to hold a pusher tool in each hand and push in the edges at opposite points at the same time until the bezel strip was pushed into the stone all the way round. And then finally we had to burnish the bezel to make it hard and strong. It also makes it shiny. And we had run out of time by then so we all grabbed some emery papers to take home and finish polishing.

Stone set ring complete (apart from some more polishing).

Still needs polishing but the fabrication is complete and stone set

We all had a good look at each others - everyone was really pleased with their results apart from one lady who accidentally melted her bezel - but I thought it looked really arty and organic and it looks like she purposely did it for the effect. So win win I say!

An excellent course if you would like to have a go and make one yourself! No skills neccessary - Gwen will talk you through the whole thing. Some of the ladies had experience of silver smithing and some had none.

Messy but not bad for a first attempt!

So now I need to practice by making some more pieces and concentrate on getting them really neat and perfect.

Watch this space! 

Natasha x

Natasha Fraser Handcrafted Jewellery 


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