2:40 PM

Anatomy of a Tapered Bezel

Posted by JorgensenStudio

I use mostly bezel settings in my work. I make my rings so that the bezel is flush with the band and does not sit atop of it for a more integrated look. Having the bezel setting taper allows for a bigger stone to be set while still allowing the bands to sit closer together for stacking rings.
Being mostly self taught, I looked to the google first to see if I could find a tutorial on how to make these types of bezels. There were none to be found. I did find a rather heavy bezel block that is used to make these tapered bezels and bought it, but alas, it did not come with instructions.
After many failed attempts to make a cylinder turn into a cone, I figured I must be doing something horribly wrong. Wouldn't you know it, there was math involved, much to my dismay.
I am going to show you the process I have come to for making this little tapered bezel step by step. Except for the math part ( you will need that to make your template), it is simple. I did come across this nifty cone calculator http://www.kolumbus.fi/antti.lusila/models/laskekartio.html God bless the person who posted it, So handy for the math challenged. Update: that one is no longer available try:
http://www.unikatissima.de/e/?p=1778

As I stated the template for the cone is needed to make sure your bezel will actually hold the size stone you are wishing to set. I made one template and just used shorter sections for smaller stones.
I use 26 gauge sterling sheet for this. It has a nice thickness so you won't be cutting away too much material to create the seat for the stone.
Layout your template on your sheet, trace, and use a jewelers saw to cut out. Remember, the line you have on the metal is on the outside of the template. you want to cut on the line so it isn't visible when you are done. If you are not steady with a saw you may want to cut it a bit larger and then use your files to finish the shape. Once cut out take a flat file and make sure the outside edges are completely flat. the other edges don't have to be perfect but the outside flat edge needs to be flat.
Take the cut piece of silver and wrap it around your round nose pliers so that the ends are next to each other as shown in the picture below. Then bend the edges to face each other. Don't worry too much if it is a bit uneven. Take your chain nose pliers and flatten the joint and make the edges good and tight.

If the edges aren't tight you won't have a good strong solder seam which is very important when we pound it into the bezel block.
I tried to show how tight the seam needs to be in this close up.
Solder the seam with hard solder and pickle.
Are you with me so far?

Now comes the big tools. I purchased a bezel block especially for this task but if you don't want to spend that kind of money you can try placing this on a round bezel mandrel and pounding it into shape with a rawhide mallet.

Place the soldered bezel into the hole it fits into fully in the block. This will be larger than the stone you are going to set most likely because of the thickness of the silver. If not fit it into the smaller hole and work up to stretch the silver in the bigger holes.
Place the mandrel that came with the set into the hole where the bezel is and give it some go whacks with your hammer or mallet. Test the fit of the stone as you go. You want the stone to sit so the that the edges fall half way on the silver edge on the top of the bezel. Less is better than more, but you need the stone to fit down into the seat once it is cut.



Last but not least time to clean up the edges top and bottom. Use fine grit sandpaper and hold the bezel at 90 degrees to the sandpaper and move in a circle motion.

Voila', tapered bezel. All that is left to do is cut the seat. I use a setting bur for this.
But we'll have to save that for next time. Have fun!




2 comments:

Lindley said...

Just discovered your blog. Love these process photos!

JorgensenStudio said...

This blog post was made quite a few years back so the calculator for the cone is no longer available online - I haven't found another one that is as simple, but google is the best way to look for one if you are searching - or you could always make a mathematician friend :)