Oh my goodness I was so excited when we finally got round to bezel setting at my Tuesday night silver jewellery course! It was really the reason I enrolled on the course and a technique I've been wanting to learn ever since I started making more metalwork style jewellery. I even bought some copper bezel wire from an Etsy seller several months ago with the idea of teaching myself. I thought about it then chickened out, reasoning that it looked quite technical and precise and I'd probably fair better being shown by a teacher!
First we had to choose a stone. Alison the jewellery teacher was going to order them from Kernowcraft so after deliberating for a long time at home (I'm good at that) I choose a pretty 10mm round prehnite cab. When she came to order it at the class they were out of stock (course they were!) so I chose kyanite instead as the blue colour looked lovely.
I made the ring band with D shaped silver wire then came the fiddliness that is measuring and cutting the bezel wire. I found it really very fiddly and was worried that I'd do it wrong/get the size wrong, etc, etc. Then there's the fiddling about making sure the ends are square and meet perfectly. I got there in the end and managed to solder the bezel without melting it. Yay! Alison's way of doing it was to solder the bezel closed and to the backing piece of silver in one go. I decided not to do it this way as I wasn't confident enough that the bezel was the exact right size and if it wasn't then I'd have to start again. None of the jewellery books/ tutorials I've seen for bezel setting do it that way either, it's always solder the bezel closed, check the fit then solder to the back piece.
My bezel was a little small so I stretched it gently, checked the fit again and soldered it to the back piece of silver sheet. After trimming the sheet and filing and sanding I was ready to solder the bezel to the ring. I had a bit of a problem as the ring kept falling over as I moved the flame near it to solder it to the bezel. Really infuriating and we didn't have a third hand to use so Alison had to help by holding the ring in position! My hand isn't steady enough and I find having to concentrate on holding something perfectly still and be aware of what the other hand is doing with the torch tends to make me a bit twitchy and likely to panic slightly and probably melt something! But we got there in the end. After some more filing, sanding and polishing I was finally ready to set the stone. That went quite smoothly until I slipped with the bezel pusher and scratched the stone. It's so easy to do but thankfully the kyanite has a fairly rough texture due to it's inclusions so the scratch wasn't that obvious. Me being a bit short-sighted helps here too!
I haven't taken the ring off since I finished it so the silver is a bit scratched now but I do love it. You can see the scratch in the above photo at roughly 5 o'clock on the stone.
I found the whole process really time-consuming and fiddly but the end result is definitely worth it and I WILL get better at it, really I will.
•♥• My precious •♥•