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How To: Set a Cabochon in a Bezel

Making a bezel
Use bezel wire to tightly encircle the edge of a cabochon, allowing the ends of the bezel wire to overlap [1].
Use flush cutters to cut through the bezel wire where it overlaps [2]. Bring the ends of the bezel wire together with no gaps, and place it on the soldering pad. Flux the bezel wire, place a small pallion of hard solder on the join, and then heat the entire bezel wire with a soft, bushy flame until the solder flows. Remove the heat, then quench the bezel in water. Soak the bezel in pickle, then rinse and dry. Test the fit of your bezel by pushing the cabochon through the bezel from either side; the fit should be very snug. If the bezel is too large, cut the seam (removing the old solder), and resolder. If the bezel is too small, stretch the bezel wire on a mandrel, or start over.
Solder the bezel to a back plate by fluxing both parts and placing the solder pallions so that they touch both surfaces [3]. Heat the back plate with a soft, bushy flame until the solder melts, then quench the bezel cup in water. If the entire bezel is not soldered to the back plate, pickle it to remove any flux residues, rinse and dry the bezel cup, and then resolder.
Press the cabochon into the bezel with a piece of thread or dental floss behind it to test the fit [4].
If the bezel overshadows the stone, use the floss or thread to pop the cabochon out of the bezel. Reduce the height of the bezel by sanding the bezel facedown with a figure 8 motion on a piece of sandpaper placed on a flat surface.

Place the cabochon in the bezel. View the bezel like the face of a clock, and, using a burnisher or bezel rocker, gently push the bezel down onto the stone, first at 12:00, then in opposition at 6:00. Repeat at the 3:00 and 9:00 positions [5]. Work around the stone, pushing the bezel down with opposing moves to keep the stone centered and to keep the bezel from getting pleated. Smooth the pushed bezel with the burnisher by rubbing around the outer edges with a consistent pressure. Place masking tape over the stone to protect it, and use a pink rubber wheel on a flex shaft to polish the bezel.

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