Introduction: Bezel-Setting Tutorial

Picture of Bezel-Setting Tutorial

Make your own bezel-set ring or other piece of jewelry following this tutorial!

You will need:
Basic to intermediate metalsmithing skills
soldering equipment
pickling solution
Jewelers saw
set of jewelers files
sandpaper grits 200-400 or 600
Fine silver bezel wire, 30 gauge, appropriate height for selected stone
Sterling silver sheet, 24 or 26 gauge, for backing the bezel
Sterling silver stock for ring band, bail, earwires, pinback, etc
Bezel pusher
Ring mandrel (used to hold the ring in place while pushing bezel)

Step 1: Select an Object to Bezel Set.

Picture of Select an Object to Bezel Set.

For this tutorial, I will be using an ocean jasper cabochon (flat bottom, smooth round surface). Any flat bottomed object will work for following this tutorial, such as a button, glass, etc.

Step 2: Bezel Wire Length

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Shape fine silver bezel wire around stone to determine length, mark and cut. You want the bezel to be slightly larger than the stone - but not too loose. Knowing the right length will come with practice.

Step 3: Trim Height

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Trim any extra height from the bezel with snips.

Step 4: File the Ends Flush.

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Using a flat rectangular file, gently file the ends completely flat and flush with one another. They need to line up perfectly for soldering.

Step 5: Matching Up the Ends

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Make sure the ends meet up perfectly - no light should shine through.

At this point, it is not important if the bezel is the same shape of the stone - getting a proper join is the key, shaping will come later.

Step 6: Solder the Bezel

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Flus and solder the seam with a tiny piece of Hard solder, applied to the inside of the bezel. Pickle, rinse.

Step 7: Shape the Bezel

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Shape bezel around stone by gently pushing it over the stone with your fingers - it will be very soft and flexible (annealed) after soldering It helps to have a hard, smooth surface beneath, such as a steel block.

Step 8: Smooth the Edges

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Sand both edges smooth with fine grit sandpaper (300-400)

Make sure to apply even pressure, or you will end up with a lop-sided bezel. It helps to move in a circular motion.

Step 9: Check the Height of the Bezel

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Check the height of the bezel wall - it needs to just pass the "shoulder" of the stone. If it is too tall, continue sanding until the appropriate height is achieved.

If it is too short, you'll need to start over...

Step 10: Make the Backing for the Bezel

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Cut a piece of sheet metal for the base of the bezel - it should be slightly larger than the bezel, and will be trimmed after soldering. Stamp any logo or signature before soldering the bezel in place.

Step 11: Prepare to Solder on a Tripod and Screen.

Picture of Prepare to Solder on a Tripod and Screen.

Set up the bezel on a tripod and screen - this will allow you to heat the piece from below. If heating from above, the bezel wire, being much thinner, will get hotter much faster than the backing, and the solder will want to jump and flow on the bezel, not flowing to the backing. You can also melt your bezel this way.

Step 12: Solder

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Solder the bezel to a flat piece of sterling silver using Hard or Medium solder Place the small pieces of solder on the inside of the bezel for easier clean up. Heat from below to avoid melting the bezel and to control flow of solder. Pickle, rinse.

Step 13: Trim the Bezel

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Use the jewelers saw to cut away the remaining silver sheet. You could also leave a border around the stone if you'd like.

Step 14: Finish the Bezel Cup

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File and sand the bezel cup - finish with 400 grit sandpaper.

Next, (not shown) solder bezel cup to ring base or other component for your piece of jewelry. A jump ring for a bail, pin back for brooch, etc.

Step 15: Place the Stone in the Bezel

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Once all soldering and clean-up has been completed, place the stone in the bezel. Make sure the stone sits completely flat in the bezel, and does not rock.

Step 16: Pushing the Bezel

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Begin folding over the bezel with a burnisher or bezel roller (I am using a burnisher) I find it easiest to start at any corners or tight round edges first, leaving flat sides for last. I place the ring on a steel ring mandrel for support.

If setting a round stone, use the cardinal directions as starting points - N, S, E, W. If you work your way N,E,S,W, you will end up with "too much" bezel wire all bunched up. not fun.

Step 17: Burnish

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Once the bezel has been pushed down over the entire piece, begin burnishing the bezel over the cabochon. It is extremely important that your burnisher is perfectly smooth and shiny. Any scratches or dents will show up on your finished bezel, and are not fun to sand out. Burnishing should be the last step to finishing the bezel, no sanding should be necessary.

Step 18: Keep Burnishing...

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Continue burnishing the bezel over the stone. This will work-harden the metal, making sure the stone stays in place, as well as makes the bezel nice and shiny.

Step 19: Finishing

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Once burnishing is complete, you can leave as is, or, as shown here, use a patina solution such as Liver of Sulfur to darken the metal. After the patina, I use a brass brush and steel wool to buff and burnish the piece.

Note: some stones are very fragile and should not be exposed to patina chemicals, such as pearl, malachite, turquoise, moonstone, lapis, etc. In this case, you can choose to patina before seating the stone.


AVADAIR (author)2016-08-19

Hi Maggie, the tutorial was a great help. I took a class on Metalsmithing but its hard to remember the chronology of all the steps. This made it easier for me! Thank You so much :)

JGremm12 (author)2016-06-03

That's it!I need more information. Sorry if that sounded harsh.

LizE20 (author)JGremm122016-08-07

there are 19 detailed steps! Did you click on the link to see the whole thing?

Anne0135 (author)2016-02-04

Mary, great tutorial, thanks! What burnisher are you using? And how can I get one? This is the hardest part of bezel settings, that and the final polishing. (Would love to see you do an instructable on that! Tumbler? Ionics? Hand polish and/or dremmel? I am so sick of working so hard to get to rid of fire scale and rogue residue, It takes so long. There has to be a better way,) Thanks so much,

MohamedK75 (author)2016-01-25

فرصة للعمل باكبر شركة تابعة لوزارة الاستثمار دونا اى شروط لمعرفة المزيد يمكن الاتصال على ٠١٠٢٠١٩٢٥٢١

sugetta3 (author)2015-08-12

great big help thanks

getfit2015 (author)2015-07-14

Love this expertly presented instructable!

maramorken (author)2015-01-14

Any recommendations for a torch? I really don't know where to start...

THIS is what I've been looking for for weeks! So thrilled with this tutorial.

tandykins (author)2013-12-28

Dude, forget the ring - I want to know where you got your stamp...

bajablue (author)2013-05-06

OMGosh... This ring is BEAUTIFUL!!!

smsc (author)2012-06-20

i think they mean flux, it cleans the metal and protects it from the fire. pickle is the name for a sometimes acid base bath that the metal is put into to remove fire scale. must remove items from pickle with copper tongs or item removing might get coated with copper.

collegecultivator (author)2012-04-19

Wonderful! Thank you so much.

onebitpixel (author)2012-03-05

use a little bit of dental floss dropped behind the stone as you put it into the bezel; in case the stone needs to be removed or the bezel adjusted; otherwise, it's very difficult to 'pop' your stone out as it can get wedged inside the bezel setting... if you need, you can tug at the stone with the dental floss to get it out... once it's setup correctly you can snip the floss...

CiskeDeRat (author)2012-01-18

This is the best tutorial on the web. Thank you so much, I couldn't have gotten any better instructions.

PrismQuartz (author)2012-01-04

If the bottom of the cab isn't exactly flat and wants to rock around, I use just a tiny pinch of saw dust to fill in the gap so it'll stay still. :)

shetibo (author)2011-10-25

is there a way to do a bezel setting without the back piece? i see it working in my head but that doesnt mean its so LOL

troseph (author)shetibo2011-11-23

Yes, but it makes things tricky. You will need to make a ring of flattened wire that sits inside and flush with the bottom of the bezel. This makes making a ring much more difficult because you can't solder the ring to the stone's back. You will see this type of thing done with pendants more than rings.

msstoneyqueen (author)2010-12-26

what does flus mean? and is hard solder a paste? also... what does "pickle" mean before rinsing?

Solder usually comes in a roll and melted with a soldering tip on a "gun" but that method I think a piece was snipped off and laid in place to melt it into the crevice with the torch. Solder can wick towards or onto an object if you know how to play with it.

Avasar10000 (author)2011-02-21

How did you make the "Signature Stamp"?

danyellclark (author)2008-06-26

Maggie, I was delighted to see your demonstration. I am now taking a metalsmith class in MD. Last night, I just finished my 22.30 sterling silver advertine ring. I was so excited. My teacher is great, but it was good to see the step by step to remind me. Tonight, I am going to attempt to finish my black agate bezel ring. I agree with you regarding the sterling silver bezel. Sterling silver bezel was used to make this ring because it was all we had the night I began making it. Since then, I have used fine silver and my instructor stated the exact problem you stated regarding the sterling silver bezel. Could you share where you got your name tag stamp. I have search a couple of sites but was just interested in where you got your from. Thanks again, and please continue to post your tutorials...they are helping us new comers. Danyell

mcshawnboy (author)danyellclark2010-01-28

 I'm in MD too, is UR teacher/class close to cebtral MD?  A friend & I love crafts and interesting in tuning our skills. Thanks! Shawn

sublingual (author)mcshawnboy2010-03-18

Don't worry, Shawn, the Patuxent Lapidary Guild's class covers setting cabs! ;)

Oh, and a shameless plug for everyone else in the Baltimore-DC area:

mcshawnboy (author)sublingual2010-03-18

 Thanks Sub!  I took a chain maille class & joined UR guild 22 FEB 10 & visited Albert for a walk through of the cab equipment the following Monday.  I'm set for a 2 day casting class in April as 6 days of driving 50 miles one way is prohibitive, once in a while not too bad!  It sounds amazing to free pour into liquid to make a 3-D piece.  Anybody near to Annapolis,MD would benefit from checking them out!

sublingual (author)mcshawnboy2010-03-19


Oh, and I got the wire in--as soon as I get done with Ellie's 1,000 rings, I'll start working on yours ;)

MaggieJs (author)danyellclark2008-06-26

I got my logo stamp from a company in New York called Metalliferous. It was my own design - which is more expensive than doing the standard block or script, but I like it more personalized. It is a total of 4mm tall, which includes the lower-case G's. The M is about 2mm tall. I would definitely check around for prices - while I was extremely pleased with the customer service and the end product, I have heard other good things about Rio Grande, and I think they are a little less expensive. Good luck with your class!!

theRIAA (author)2008-06-21

jewelry class was my favorite class in highschool... too bad it's over D: our teacher gave us pre-made bezels with 5mm round and 8mm oval stones. He said we were all to stupid to make bezels for scratch (most people were). he said you should always cut out some spacer and stick it under the stone so the stone looks bigger, but I don't know if that's the look you're going for. it looks great! we had little stone setter taps, just a rod with a round shaped hole and a spring loaded plastic point inside to hold the stone down. set it on top and hammer down. :P The taps got lost once, and I couldn't set my stones, I tried squeezing the bezel with needle noses, but it kept prying open the other way, and the stone was always loose until i found the setter. iv'e always liked the darkened hammer mark look. It looks even better if you sandblast then hammer, then burnish, then darken, then re-burnish. The sandblasting adds little holes everywhere.

MaggieJs (author)theRIAA2008-06-22

I'm not a fan of pre-made bezels for a number of reasons. First, they are most often made of sterling silver (not fine silver like I used in the tutorial). Sterling silver is an alloy of 925 parts fine silver and 75 parts copper. This makes the metal much harder, which means more difficult pushing over a stone, especially smaller stones. Also, they are very limiting, as you can't set free-form objects with them, they have to be calibrated stones that are round, square, or oval, and even then, they can be difficult. The bottoms are not always very flat, more curved, so if you are soldering them to a flat sheet, it can be troublesome. The edges are not often very smooth, so you still have to do quite a bit of sanding to smooth the edges. Sterling silver will show fire scale, unlike fine silver, so there will be quite a bit more clean-up of the bezel, in either sanding or depletion gilding. So in my eyes, it is almost as much if not more work to use the pre-made bezel cups... I am a big fan of the sandblasted look too, I wish I had one in my studio! and yes, you can often prop up the stone with a thin sheet of metal the same shape as the stone - this is good for thin stones if you want it to look bigger -thanks for bringing that up!

sublingual (author)MaggieJs2010-03-18

I have some Argentium bezel strip--like regular sterling, it's harder than .999 fine silver, but there's hardly any firescale. Argentium is basically .930 sterling with germanium added, rather than all copper, to the remaining 7%.

theRIAA (author)MaggieJs2008-06-22

i think they were brass... lol. he had about 200 of them in a bin with different colored stones. and yes, they look bad when you solder to a flat piece of metal, but remember. This is a highschool class with a $10/semester materials fee. The last day I cast a big hunk of sterling silver into some rings. They were a lot harder than i thought they would be, but that's good in this case. they turned out awesomely.

loveresin (author)2010-03-15

how many pieces of solder do you need? the top and bottom and both sides? doing a bezel set for an exhibition at uni and i want to learn as much as i can about how to do it properly..thankyou

SallyForth (author)2009-05-31

The two instructables you have posted are the best two I've seen on this site. But you no longer appear active. Did someone hire you away? Your work is that good.

lunastyx (author)2009-05-20

Thanks. This was very helpful. I have a number of man-in-the-moon moonstones that I want to bezel mount and think I can do it now. I am glad I have taken a couple of jewelry fab classes, though. VERY informative. Thanks.

lunastyx (author)2009-05-20

How much higher than your stone should the bezel be, please?

ItsTheHobbs (author)2008-08-27

That's a really neat rock.

Jawatech (author)2008-07-26

Very Cool! Where do you get your bezel wire and silver stock from?

Father Christmas (author)2008-06-22

just out of curiosity, about what size would you estimate that piece? i noticed on your mandrel, the piece seemed to be well beyond 13.

The stone is approx 1/2 inch wide and 7/8 inch tall. The ring is a US size 7 - The numbers you see on the mandrel aren't the US sizes, but the inner diameter of the ring in millimeters. A size US 7 ring is about 7.35mm diameter.

ok, thank you for clarifying that for me :)

LinuxH4x0r (author)2008-06-28

Very nice!

jessyratfink (author)2008-06-23

This is amazing! I'd love to do stuff like this. It's always good to know more about it. :D

argosxilow (author)2008-06-22

excellent 'ible! I'm still a neophyte jeweler, and have only made a few bezels, all of which my jewelry teacher set the stones for. Can't wait to try actually setting them myself, not to mention I really need to practice making bezels.

SlothOnSpeed (author)2008-06-22

Thank you so much for the superb instructable. I have all the requisite materials here (in Sterling, alas) to make a pin, but I lacked the directions and the confidence to begin. With your Instructable, I feel a lot more confident and know what I'll be starting tomorrow morning.

mrbob1000 (author)2008-06-21

if only i had the materials and more knowhow... *sigh* i wanna make some (some with something like amber) and give them as gifts.

MaggieJs (author)mrbob10002008-06-22

Depending on where you are located, there are many places such as art centers, community colleges, etc where you can take classes and possibly rent studio space. If you need helping finding any, let me know, I've got a bunch of resources! Also, the book "the Complete Metalsmith" by Tim Mcreight is full of really great information!!

gmoon (author)2008-06-22

Superb instructable! You don't find many this well documented (and illustrated.)


MaggieJs (author)gmoon2008-06-22

Thank you!

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