Have you ever admired a ring or pendant that features a stone surrounded by a beautiful metal? The metal you see is called a bezel setting, and it holds flat-backed stones in place.
There are dozens of different options bezel settings. Some are very basic with no frills while others may feature curves and intricate design elements. The bezel setting technique you use will depend on your stone and your design.
Ready to see for yourself? Let’s take a look at some of the bezel settings used for the projects in Danielle Miller-Gilliam’s Professional Bezel-Setting Techniques online Craftsy class.
1. Tab-set bezel
A tab-set bezel is easily identified by the small tabs that fold over to secure the stone. Notice in the example above that the tabs are not just an extension coming off the bezel wall; rather, they are cut from the wall so that they leave cracks in it.
One reason you might choose this setting is that it shows off more of the stone that other settings, since the stone doesn’t have to sink far into the metal. However, a tab-set bezel does have a bad reputation for snagging on clothing.
Another reason many jewelry designers like the tab-set bezel is because the design of the tabs is versatile. As you can see from this example, the tabs don’t have to be the same size, nor do they have to be equal distance apart. You can have two tabs spaced far apart on one side and three tabs closer together on the other side, for instance.
2. Hammer-set bezel
A hammer-set bezel is — no surprise here — hammered into the bezel. Notice in the photo above that, unlike the tab-set bezel, there are no tabs or prongs holding this stone in place. That is why fitting the stone properly is super important for a hammer-set bezel. A stone that doesn’t properly fit a hammer-set bezel could pop out and go missing.
You can hammer set a bezel using motorized equipment. A hammer, for example, can be attached to a flex shaft. This tiny hammer works around the bezel, making little strikes on the metal.
A hammer setting is a good choice if you want your bezel wall to be thicker. When using this type of bezel, be careful that you don’t apply too much pressure, otherwise you could break the stone.
3. Push-over bezel
In a push-over bezel, the stone is placed inside the bezel. The bezel is then pushed onto the stone to secure it. For this type of bezel, it’s very important that your stone fit perfectly into the bezel, otherwise it could pop out. The bezel wall height is also important. A wall that is too low could cause the stone to fall out, while a wall that is too high will not properly fold over the stone.
A bezel roller can come in handy for neatly pushing the bezel wall around the stone. When you’re pushing the wall down, think of the stone as a clock. Push down at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00. Continue to rotate the stone in this way as you push equal distances apart. This will keep the stone from moving around as you secure it.