Gemstone Bezel Setting

Aug 29, 2016


I learned how to set a cabochon gemstone in a bezel setting during my first metalsmith class years ago. The stone was a warm speckled jasper, oval in shape, and set in a split ring band. I *loved* the way it turned out. Since then, however, I’ve only set a handful of stones, with an even smaller subset actually making it into the pieces I’ve sold. For some reason, I just haven’t enjoyed the process. At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself.

The truth is that I’ve often felt all-thumbs when setting stones. I’d either make the bezel too small or too large, or I’d melt the bezel, crack the stone, or I couldn’t seem to get the right leverage when rubbing the bezel over the stone. You name it, it happened to me, often at the same time. So in that sense, I truly didn’t enjoy stone setting. But I also knew I wasn’t consistent in practicing the technique, either.

In a way, it’s been a mild case of torture. Natural gemstones are so beautiful and really enhance jewelry designs. I’ve been missing the pop of color they lend to pieces. So recently I checked out an online class on bezel stone setting, a class offered in partnership between Rio Grande, my favorite jewelry supply company, and Craftsy, a website offering a growing number of creative classes and supplies.

It was my first experience with Craftsy and I have to say, it was a good one! I received 7 video lessons on setting stones of various shapes and sizes and a number of different tools to use in the process. The instructor, Danielle Miller-Gilliam, was very knowledgeable and an effective communicator. While a lot of the information I received was a much-needed review of what I had previously learned, there were some golden nuggets of information that were priceless to me. There were things I was doing that made stone setting more difficult than it needed to be, and I immediately knew her tips were going to help. I could hardly wait to get started, so I grabbed a couple of amber stones I had sitting on the bench, already having cut their back plates forever ago, and got to work.

I could not believe how much easier it was this time.

I was confident, knowing exactly what I needed to do in the most efficient manner possible. It may have even been fun. 😀 It was one of those moments where I felt a shift in my head and heart and knew my jewelry making was headed in a new direction.

Amber Clover Necklace 3

Amber Clover Necklace 2

Amber Clover Necklace

I have a number of stones I’ve been hoarding saving for a time such as this. I have the knowledge and, now, the determination to build them into beautiful jewelry pieces.

The necklace shown here is currently available for purchase in my Etsy shop. Click here for details.



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