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Custom Bezel Cup

Soldering – Bezel setting

Learn the basics of how to fabricate a custom bezel cup for unique cabochon stones.  Bezel settings are commonly used in silver jewelry designs as a sleek way to capture a beautiful stone.  A good setting begins with a well cut stone.  I will review what to look for when buying stones and then discuss how to choose the proper width of bezel wire to ensure a good capture.  But the width of the bezel wire is not the only variable for the materials.  When making a custom bezel cup, it pays to plan out your design.  For instance, you may want to leave extra material around the edges to add adornment, frame the stone , or provide a connective quality.  In the example shown here, there’s a tongue protruding from the backing that is punched with two holes.  This provided the ability to connect the bail with the bezel setting.  The size of the sheet isn’t the only variable.  Depending on what you are making with the stone your choice of thickness of the sheet for the backing can change as well.  For instance, if you are making a bracelet component where you want to leave a frame around the cup, you may want to use 20ga sheet to provide a decent thickness to the frame and also provide the strength to stand up to the wear and tear that a bracelet typically suffers.  However if you are making a pair of earrings, you may choose to use 24ga sheet as your backing to keep them as light as possible so they don’t tug on your ear lobes.  There’s a sliding rule and many factors to consider.  In this class I will share my tips and tricks to achieve a professional looking bezel cup.  Although we will discuss all of the above mentioned considerations, the focus of the lesson will be on the fabrication of your cup.  Depending on your project goal, you may not actually set your stone in this session.  Setting the stone is generally among the final tasks in a project, so depending on how you would like to use your bezel cup, you may want to plan on utilizing an open session to finish your piece.
 
Here are the requirements for an appropriate stone for this class:
  • choose a stone that is approximately the size of a quarter anything larger requires a hotter torch, and if the stone is too small (smaller than a dime), it is hard to manipulate with your fingers.
  • avoid a stone with sharp corners – rounded or oval shapes are easier when you are learning
  • look for a cabochon that is completely flat on the back (underside) and also has an even height to the curved edge around the circumference
  • choose a stone that is fairly hard on the Mohs scale (6 or higher if you can)
  • if the shape is irregular, avoid concave curves on the perimeter
 

 Where?

Desert Jewel Studio, 26839 N 44th St, Cave Creek, AZ 85331. You will receive directions upon registering for class.

When?

This class is not on the schedule at this time.  If you are interested in taking it, e-mail jen@jewelryclasseswithjen.com with your interest and availability.

How do I sign up?

Class will be $65/person. E-mail jen@jewelryclasseswithjen.com or call Jen at (480)635-2402 to register any time from noon to 10pm.

What will I need to bring to class

Refer to the description above for advice on a stone that is appropriate for this class.  You will also need a flat piece of sheet silver that is large enough to accommodate your stone and design plan.  If you need some guidance as to what materials you need to craft your cup, I am happy to discuss your plan for the use of your stone ahead of class.  I will have various widths of bezel wire for sale on hand, so you will have access to the appropriate size for your particular stone.

Tools:

  • Jeweler’s saw, 3/0 blades (optional for cutting a custom shape around the cup)
  • Bench pin with clamp, silicone lubricant (if you desire to cut a custom shape)
  • flush cutters
  • Chain nose pliers (optional for assembly)
  • Flat nose pliers (optional for assembly)
  • Wrap n’ tap pliers (Beadsmith #PL46) (optional for forming)
  • Bail making pliers (Beadsmith #PL42) (optional for forming)
  • Stepped pliers (Beadsmith #PL48) (optional for forming)
  • Steel block/ silencing pad (optional for forming layers)
  • Forming hammer (optional for refining fit)
  • File(s) – preferably a #4 cut half-round
  • Needle files (optional if desired for refining your shape)
  • Sharpie marker (ultra fine tip)
  • 3M sanding sponges/ slurry coated polishing cloths (for cleaning your cup)
  • Small flat piece of 180 or 220 grit emery paper
  • bezel pusher (seasoned)
  • bezel rocker (optional)
  • burnishing tool
  • dental floss
  • Magnifying glasses– most people don’t think they need them until they are faced with seeing the detail of jewelry close-up.
  • Covered water or other refreshing beverage
  • Snacks are always welcome as well. 🙂

The following tools will be supplied in class for your use:

  • Basic soldering set-up
  • medium and hard silver solder
  • tripod with screen
  • paste flux/brush
  • propane torch
  • painter’s tape
  • strips of paper/card-stock
  • hole punch (for potential connection holes)
 

The majority of the above items are available locally at C&D SilverSJ Jewelry SupplyLonnie’s Jewelry Supply or other on-line jewelry supply sources. If you have any difficulty or questions about obtaining any of these items, please contact Jen to inquire about your options.