Stone Bezel Setting Tips
by Judy Larson
A lot more time is spent out of doors in the summer, which means many of us bring home beautiful found objects to use in our creations. This pendant, approximately 2ΒΌ" (57.5mm) long, was made using silver, brass, copper, and a freshwater lake beach rock found on a walk near our home.
Instructions
When searching for stones, remember that they should be relatively flat and thin enough to be held in place when bezel wire is pushed in around them. If a treasured find is too thick, the back may be able to be ground down a bit. I try to only do this in the summer in the garage with all the doors and windows wide open. Even with a breeze blowing through, I still wear a respirator as there will be a lot of rock dust flying which can irreparably damage your lungs over time if it is breathed in.
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. Notice that the arrows are not pointing very far above the girdle line.
Judy Larson's Stone Bezel Setting Tips - , Metalwork, , gemstone terms
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 rock on the left in the second photo. If one end of the rock is too thin - middle rock-it can be raised in the bezel with a small shim of metal soldered to the back plate - rock on the right.
Judy Larson's Stone Bezel Setting Tips - , Metalwork, , measuring bezels
Both photos are of the same rock. The girdles on either end of the rock in the first photo are the same height. Viewing from another angle in the second photo, the girdles on each side of the rock are much higher than the girdles on either end. The bezel wire should be wide enough to accommodate the side girdle height, the higher of the two.
Judy Larson's Stone Bezel Setting Tips - , Metalwork, , rock setting
Judy Larson's Stone Bezel Setting Tips - , Metalwork, , rock setting
After setting a few rocks, you will become more comfortable with the process. By then you will then be able to determine which widths and types of bezel wire to use that work with your design esthetic. It will also become easier to discern which stones will work and which will not.

The same principles can apply when choosing a "Tourist Rock" from the baskets of rocks by the checkout that are supposed to tempt children. Ha! I am always pawing through them to find treasures. Some real beauties were found on my last trip, and at only $1.50 to fill a little bag, these polished stones come in at less than 20 cents each!
Judy Larson's Stone Bezel Setting Tips - , Metalwork, , rock setting
Judy Larson's Stone Bezel Setting Tips - , Metalwork, , rock setting

Materials

20 Gauge Dead Soft Argentium Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H19-20SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1 Inch
  • Price: $79.56
  • Gold Club Price: $59.67
Add to Bag
28 Gauge 3/16" Fine Silver Bezel Wire
H9-28BZL
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $12.83
  • Gold Club Price: $9.62
Add to Bag
Add All Items to Cart

Tools

No tools listed
  • Category: Metalwork
  • Technique(s): General Education