I wrote this at the weekend and wanted to finish the piece before I posted it.
I shouldn’t have bothered as it all went bottom’s up from there.
I will show you the first bit, however.
Especially for Jane.
This stone was too tall for my thin bezel wire, and too short for the super duper thick bezel wire.
As I only have the two widths of wire in my supply kit, I chose the thick wire.
Which, as it turns out, is perfect for my notes to Jane.
Solder the bezel wire together on one of the flat sides of the stone. See – HERE for soldering tips. It’s not a good idea to solder at a corner or point. I like the join to be in a place that can be hidden by some of my design.
At this point although the bezel is cut to fit the stone it’s probably been distorted slightly during soldering. I like to run my flat nose pliers, or burnishing tool, around the edges to really make sure it all fits snug to the stone. I also take my flat nose pliers to define the sharper corners by folding a line at the tip edge of the stone.
This gives it a nice, crisp, finished look.
The bottom shape of the bezel wire is the most important as this is the part which will be soldered to the sheet metal. If the bottom of the wire is not exactly the shape of the stone it will look bad and the stone won’t fit correctly in the collar again.
As you’re pushing the wire to the stone (see below) you can distort the top edge of the wire by unintentionally curving it over the top of the stone. Although, in a pinch, you can straighten the sides of the bezel once you’ve soldered it to the back plate this is not the best approach. I take the stone out of the bezel wire through the bottom of the collar, and replace it in the collar from the top to ensure that the stone fits nicely into the bezel from the top once I’ve soldered it.
I do this several times until I’m satisfied that the stone passes smoothly from the top through the bottom.
When you have done this and sanded both the bottom of the collar and the surface you’re to solder it onto make sure one more time that the stone fits before you solder.
I suppose you could do the sanding first
I guess I’m stuck in my ways.
It seems a lot of checking, but once you get the hang of it you don’t need to do it as much.
Once I’ve soldered the collar to the backing plate I like to drill a hole in the bottom so that I can get the stone out again.
I do this because I usually have a design on the back of the pendant and you don’t see the hole afterward. You can run dental floss across the bottom of the stone if you don’t want to drill a hole. This gets it out fine also.
The main thing is that it’s important to be able to get your stone out again as you trim your collar.
Now put the stone back into it’s setting.
I’ve got a wonky stone here which I hadn’t noticed before.
Ignore that and run your pencil around the top of the stone and mark the inside of the collar.
Be careful not to mark the stone. Pencil will generally come off, but I wouldn’t want to get Sharpie on it for instance.
Take the stone out of the setting.
(See. Really wonky.)
I used my snippers to cut away most of the unwanted wire.
Usually this isn’t necessary unless you have odd stones that don’t fit the regular widths of wire, or you don’t have it on hand. You can make your own bezel wire from sheet metal, but I like the pre cut wire.
Lot less fuss.
I snipped here because it would have taken too long to file down and I would have gone out of my mind with boredom.
Sometimes it can be a bit tricky, just snip gently.
Then fit the stone back in again to see if you need to snip more.
At this point use a file or sanding disc on your Dremel or Fordom to file away the rest of the bezel wire down to the pencil line.
You might just be able to see in the photo below that I have marked a dip in the pointed corner with a pen, and less visibly, a slight dip at the curved corners.
By sanding these points away slightly when you push the bezel wire over the edge of the stone it will look cleaner.
I graduate the curve into the corners.
(Sorry about the grubby hands. I fired my hand model last week and haven’t found a replacement yet who’s also willing to make the tea.)
That’s when I had to go in to make dinner.
(Note. You should never turn your back on a piece that is all going according to plan. You may never get back the magic.)
The next day all hell broke loose.
Oh yes it started out rosy.
I made the piece a nice dangly thing with a small set stone.
(I was going to show you how to set the tiny stone Jane, but thought that might put you over the edge and so decided to save it for later.)
I fashioned a lovely design for the back, and a bale for the chain.
Then, in the blink of an eye when my concentration turned to which song I should sing at my X Factor audition – Nina Simone, or Billie Holiday – I soldered the bezel right off that backing plate, and had to swear a little (only in my head mind) when it melted away down one side.
Time of death was around three o’clock central time.
Not one to give in I made it another collar which, because I was ticked off, never did quite fit the stone as well as the first one.
I think I was trying to punish the stone at this point but rather bit off my nose to save my face.
As I had already filed down the plate after I’d soldered the first collar I had to be extra careful fitting the second one to the back. I could’ve made it all new, but I’d already put my design on the back and darn it if it was going to beat me.
As a consequence, will all my fiddling, the corner of the #$$^&*#! stone broke off and fell onto the floor where I decided to leave it until I was in a better frame of mind.
At this point the atmosphere in the studio was a bit tense, to say the lease, and Willow had to hide.
Actually Willow always hides there even when I’m singing.
O.K. probably because I’m singing.
I hope that’s not why she’s gone deaf…
All said and done, however, I think Jane that you might be able to get something out of this mess to help with the first stage of bezel setting.
I’ll try to collect myself enough to make a complete one next time.
I wouldn’t want Simon to roll his eyes.
My only other choice is the lonely goatherd.
Only Willow physically shakes when I yodel so I have to use hand signals on that bit.
I think I’ll stick with Nina.