A round bezel setting is the simplest way to set a stone. A cabochon set correctly in this way will look clean, simple and elegant.
You will need:
A cabochon stone
0.5mm silver sheet (large enough for the stone to sit on and leave a border of a least a few mm all around)
Flat needle file
Calculate how long a piece of bezel strip you need for your stone (Circumference= π multiplied by the diameter of the stone), add a little extra so that you can overlap!
Anneal your bezel strip.
Wrap the bezel strip around your stone to leave a small overlap.
Ideally, the bezel should grip the stone tightly enough that you can pick it up, and it holds the stone in place.
Mark the point where the edges of the bezel overlap, and cut.
Check that the bezel fits snugly around the stone.
Using a flat (or pillar) needle file, file the edges of the bezel so they fit perfectly.
No light should be visible through the join if you hold the bezel up.
Flux the joint thoroughly, and place a pillion of solder across it.
Remember to use a harder solder than you’ll be using to solder the bezel onto the base.
Begin with a gentle heat, to avoid the solder jumping. Gently heat the whole bezel, moving in a circular motion following its shape. As the solder reaches melting point, rock the heat across the joint until the solder flows across the joint. Use caution as bezel strip can melt very easily.
Quench, pickle and rinse.
Clean up the joint, and smooth it using a needle file and emery paper (wrap the latter around dowelling for a handy tool for smoothing inside rings).
You should now have a smooth, clean bezel.
Check the fit by pushing the bezel over the stone.
Using a flat needle file at a 45 degree angle, file a bevelled edge around the bezel’s base.
This will help the solder flow neatly.
Rub the bezel on a fine grade emery paper on both sides in a circular motion to smooth.
Flux the underside of the bezel, and the piece of 0.5mm sheet.
Place the bezel centrally, and place pillions of solder inside, at regular intervals.
Heat the whole piece gently at first to “set” the flux. Then move the flame around the outside and the inside of the sheet silver around the bezel. Avoid heating the bezel itself until the base is almost at the requisite heat.
As you see the solder is about to melt, move the flame in a circular motion to match the bezel shape, to encourage the flow of solder.
Quench, pickle and rinse.
Using a piercing saw, cut the excess border from the bezel. Take care not to catch the bezel sides.
Use a needle file and emery paper to smooth any rough edges, and lightly bevel the base of the bezel cup.
You should now have a smooth, neat bezel cup ready to solder onto your chosen piece of jewellery.
Use a lower temperature solder to avoid any of the previous joints opening up when heating.
Once your piece is finished, quench, pickle and rinse, then tumble polish.
Place the stone into the bezel cup. Ensure it goes in level, and sits flush on the bottom.
Using a burnisher (or bezel roller) ease the bezel over the stone.
For a circular stone, first do this at the cardinal points- this helps ensure a neat setting, with no “wrinkling” of the bezel.
Using your burnisher (an agate burnisher won’t damage the stone), continue smoothing the bezel over the stone.
Once the stone is firmly set, and the bezel is smooth, give the piece a last polish. I use a rotary tool and felt points, one to polish with Tripoli, and a final polish using a separate point and rouge.
You should now have a piece of jewellery with a smooth and clean bezel set cabochon.