Posted June 11, 2014 by Esslinger Staff
One of the most common methods for finishing a bezel setting can also result in problems down the road. Using a polished steel burnisher does not allow you to the setting down to close it completely, so the stone often becomes loose over time. In this article you will learn how you can properly close a bezel, thus tightening the stone in it’s setting.
Secure the piece using your preferred method. It is important that you are free to use both hands, and the piece of jewelry is secured so that it won’t move during the repair. Position it so it will be in a good position for you to be able to hammer the bezel closed using a setting punch that allows you to direct the force downward.
With one hand hold the setting punch up against the edge of the bezel setting. Brace your fingers against the punch and the piece to prevent the punch from slipping and marring the surface of the stone. In your other hand, hold the chasing hammer. You will use the hammer to drive the setting closed and the punch will direct the force exactly where want it.
Once everything has been positioned exactly where you want it, place the tip of the punch directly on the top edge of the bezel. The longer side of the punch’s head should lie next to the stone, but should NOT touch it. Angle the punch so that when force is applied, it will force the setting down and in to tightly hold the stone in place. The best angle for this is one of about 75 or 80 degrees.
Strike the top of the punch with the chasing hammer. Use small taps, not heavy blows; this will afford you greater control over the force that you are exerting on the setting. As you tap on the punch with the hammer, slowly move the punch along the edge of the bezel. This will allow you to fold the metal in a wave like motion. Keep the angle as consistent as possible to create a flat surface at the top of the bezel. Work all the way around the stone until the whole bezel is fitted tightly against the stone.
To clean the bezel, you should use a fine, safe-edge square needle file to remove any punch marks. The safe edge of the file should be just barely touching the stone. Keep a consistent angle while you file the top of the bezel setting.
Polish the piece to finish it.