Directions: Read through the directions before beginning the project.
Choosing a Stone
Note: Be aware that you are not allowed to remove items from State and National Parks and Monuments and land. Unless you have permission, you should also not remove stones from private land.
When searching for stones, remember that they need to be thin enough to be held in place when bezel wire is pushed in, so they should be relatively flat. If you find one that is too thick but you love and can't pass up, the back may be able to be ground down a bit. If you do this, you MUST wear a respirator and eye protection. Wash and rinse your collected treasures and let them air dry.
It is helpful to think of a stone in terms used to describe a cut gemstone. The bezel wire must be wide enough to cover the girdle-the dotted line on the stones. It should also be wide enough to cover a bit of the crown-the crown and table on a rock round into each other. The arrows on the rocks show how high the bezel wire must be to capture the stone. In most cases, the height of the girdle around the rock will not be the same. Many times this will not be a problem, as in the first rock. If one end of the rock is too thin, it can be raised in the bezel with a small shim of metal soldered to the backplate.
The girdle on both ends of this rock are the same height. Viewing from another angle, the girdles on each side of the rock are much higher than the girdle on either ends. The bezel wire needs to be wider to accommodate the side girdle height, the higher of the two.
This stone will rock when pushing the bezel wire in, so e6000 can be your friend. In most cases, glue is not used when bezel setting cabochons, but stones are another matter. Leveling stones is not new. Stones, nuggets and thin cabochons in early turquoise jewelry were set with cushions of sawdust, and sometimes cardboard shims, under them. E6000 does not mold, cushions the stone, and fills the gaps around the stone as well as holding it in place. After the glue is set, pushing the bezel in is easy because the stone does not move.
Design around the chosen stone
One way to start designing is to make multiple templates of the chosen stone on the sticky end of a post-it note. It is then easy to change the position of the stone within a design. This tutorial shows a variety of stones during construction of a simple pendant. Design and embellish to your liking.