Posted June 11, 2014 by Esslinger Staff
Since silver is such a good conductor of heat, when repairing a piece of silver jewelry with heat, it is often easiest and safest to remove any heat sensitive stones. In this article we’ll look at how to remove a stone from a bezel setting and then reset it.
Before opening the bezel setting, examine the stone and the setting with your jeweler’s loupe. See if there are any openings or small gaps between the stone and the bezel. If there are, that is where you should focus your efforts to open the setting. If not, look for a place where there seems to be a little extra space where you can slide a scalpel or thin blade and use it to carefully and gently pull the bezel away from the stone. Silver is a soft metal, so this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Once you have created a slightly larger gap between the bezel setting and the stone with a blade, it is best to switch tools to continue the process. The best tool to use for removing the stone from the bezel is a polished bezel lifter. Place the tip of the bezel lifter into the gap you just created or widened in the bezel setting. The flat side should rest lightly against the stone and the domed side should be pushing against the inside of the bezel. Rock the bezel lifter against your thumb, not the stone! Carefully push the tool outward, sliding it along the edge of the bezel as you work. This will force the bezel out enough for you to be able to remove the stone.
With a piece of sticky wax, remove the stone from the setting. Note any irregular shaping of the stone and mark the bottom of the stone so you will be able to reset it exactly how it was before. Make a similar mark in the bezel so you can match the stone to the setting.
Complete the necessary repairs on the piece of jewelry. Clean and restore the finish. Now you are ready to reset the stone. Use sticky wax to pick up the stone, be sure that it is correctly oriented by lining up the mark on the stone with the mark in the setting and then place the stone in the setting.
The best tool to use to close a bezel is a roller. A roller allows you to precisely control where you are applying pressure, it smoothes and presses the metal against the stone simultaneously. Position the roller against the top edge of the bezel so that it doesn’t touch the stone. Then, roll the edge over the bezel to create a tight fits. First close the ends of the bezel and then close the sides of the bezel.
Polish the piece again, just enough to bring out the finish. Visit Esslinger.com’s Learning Center for more useful jewelry guides.