How to Determine the Correct Height of a Bezel
by Linda Gale
When making a wire-woven bezel - the 'frame' that is used to hold a gemstone - one of the most frustrating parts of the project is the determination of how 'high' to make the weave. This is further complicated by the type of bezel you plan to make.
Let's explore just how to determine the right height of the bezel for the stone you're working with.
A woven 'netted' bezel should wrap around the edges of the stone, coming just underneath the bottom edge, and just a tiny bit over the top edge - enough to secure the stone with the wrap. This very 'open' bezel also allows light to enter the stone from the sides, thereby illuminating it better - particularly nice for a clear or translucent stone.
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An 'edge-wrapped' bezel is fitted similarly, but it's top and bottom edges may not necessarily require you to extend the wire under the bottom edge, or over the top edge.
This style bezel is primarily 'decorative'. The addition of wires on the front and back of the gemstone are the true 'holders' of the stone. They provide the additional protection from the stone being pushed, and are often part of the design. Some can be quite simple, and others make quite a statement.
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How DO you measure the height?
Most stones are rounded on the top. It is difficult to determine just where the maximum curve is on the top because of the way we 'see' the stone. The stone's curve, the combination of light and shadow, particularly in a highly polished stone, all contribute to this problem.
A Simple Solution:
Bend a short piece of fairly heavy gauge wire into a 90 degree upright that is a little taller than the cabochon. I used 20 g in the photo for clarity, but would normally use a smaller gauge, so the stone doesn't 'rock' off 'level' on the larger wire. Tape the bent wire to a flat surface (I like to work on graph paper). Place the cabochon on the wire and try to 'balance' it as much as possible.
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With a marking pen near at hand, carefully lay a ruler, or something you could substitute (preferably clear), on top of the stone. Hole the ruler as level as possible. Mark the wire at the bottom edge of the ruler.
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Remove the cabochon, and note the height of the mark. I used a Fine Point Sharpie marker, which still gives a fairly wide mark. The top of the mark is equal to the highest 'top' of the stone. Since you only want the bezel to slightly overlap the edge of the stone, choose the lower edge of the mark to make your measurement.
Since the stone was sitting on the wire, you must measure from the top of the flat wire, to the bottom edge of the mark. Measure in mm's to get the most accurate measurement. A ruler whose measurements begin at the very end, rather than 1/4" or so away from the edge, is most accurate. If your ruler doesn't 'begin at the end', you'll need to untape the wire and hold it while you measure. Use this measurement for the height of your bezel.
Congratulations! You're ready to start weaving!

Refer to my article "Three Ways to Keep Your Weave Railroad Straight", for help in maintaining the measurement as you weave.
We always welcome suggestions for new articles.
Linda Gale's How to Determine the Correct Height of a Bezel - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Weaving, Wire Weaving, Weaving Wire, bezel height

Materials

20 Gauge Round Dead Soft Copper Wire
H11-20D
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $0.39
  • Gold Club Price: $0.29
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26 Gauge Round Dead Soft Copper Wire
H11-26D
  • Lesson Quantity: 10.00 feet
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 10FT
  • Price: $1.03
  • Gold Club Price: $0.77
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Tools

6 Inch Metal Ruler - in Inches And Centimeters
G7-7
  • G7-7
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $2.57
  • Gold Club Price: $1.93
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C.H.P Milano Italian Flush Cutter, 5 1/2 Inches
PLR-487.00
  • PLR-487.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $14.97
  • Gold Club Price: $11.23
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  • Category: Contemporary
  • Technique(s): Weaving