How To Use Our Exclusive Tabbed Bezel Wire
Please note that the following instructions reference a “stone” throughout this How To. Our bezel wire is not limited to the use of stones. It can be used to create settings for stones, glass, coins, or any other object that can fit within the parameters of your piece and our line of bezel wire. These instructions also show our scalloped edge bezel wire, but can also apply to our straight edge bezel wire with only minor exceptions.
Notice in photo 1A, that every other tab is bent at a 90° angle. These bent tabs will act as a base when the set- ting is formed, while the straight tabs will embed into the metal clay to make a secure mechanical connection to the fired clay.
As you begin to wrap the bezel wire around your stone, be sure to keep the bent tabs pointed inward to create the seat of the setting.
Start by trimming the end of the bezel wire. Trim at the valley of two scallops and at a straight tab, as shown in photo 1C. Be sure that the cut is square and straight, touch up with a file if necessary.
Begin wrapping the bezel where the seam will be the least conspicuous. In this case we started at the 9 O’clock postion, as shown in photo 2A. Then, continued wrapping the bezel wire tightly against the perimeter of the stone until completely around, overlapping where you started from, as shown in photo 2C.
Hold the completely wrapped bezel wire tightly around the stone and mark the bezel wire between two scallops, as shown in photo 3A. Move to the next valley to the larger side if your overlap falls in between valleys. Cut the bezel wire on this mark, as shown in photo 3B. Again, be sure that the cut is square and straight, touch up with a file if necessary.
You will find that the bezel may now need some adjustment, as seen in photo 4A. Using radiused or looping pliers, adjust the shape to match the stone’s shape, as shown in photo 4B. Be careful not to flatten the bent tabs during this process.
Once the bezel is formed, it is now necessary to close the gap at the seam by using spring tension within the wire. To accomplish this, overlap the bezel wire at the seam, as shown in photo 5A. Then align the ends of the bezel wire, as shown in photo 5B. If aligned correctly, the bezel should now remain closed under spring tension.
If Step 5 was done properly, the bezel should stand on its own as a completed bezel setting, as shown in photo 6A. At this stage, try the fit of the stone. Re- shape the bezel if the shape of the bezel does not match the shape of the stone. Also, the stone should not fit so tight as to open the seam of the bezel. The stone should slip into the bezel loosely, as shown in photo 6B. At this time, brush on oil paste or thick slip along the butt seam. Apply to both the inside and the outside surface at the seam. Fire your newly created bezel at what ever schedule your oil paste or slip calls for. After firing, smooth any rough surfaces created by the paste or slip, using a fine emery board or sanding pads.
Note that the bent tabs will act as the base or the seat of the setting.
Press your finished bezel setting into a piece of Metal Clay (photo 7A), 3 cards thick minimum. At 3 cards thick you will see slight openings from behind the piece after firing, where the embedded straight tabs are. If the back of piece will be visible, use 5 cards thick minimum to prevent these slight openings from being seen.
Be sure to press the bezel setting evenly into the Metal Clay until the bent tabs just begin to embed, and when you no longer see the individual tabs along the outside perimeter of the setting, as shown in photo 7A.
During and after firing, please note that the bezel will not shrink but the metal clay will. This will cause slight dimpling of the back of your workpiece. This dimpling is virtually eliminated when using lower shrinkage metal clays like PMC3 or Art Clay 650 and the lower temperature firing schedules.
To minimize this dimpling of the back of your work, or if you must fire at higher fir- ing schedules, cut and remove the metal clay along the inside perimeter (indicated by red line in photo 7A) of your bezel to create an open back bezel setting.
Add some creativity, and that’s it! You have just created a custom bezel setting to fit your stone.
Setting the stone into your newly created bezel setting
By using an Embeddable Jump Ring (Our Item Number 9992219) and a carving technique to shape the metal clay around the setting, we have created this pendant.
Place the same stone that was used to form the bezel into the now finished setting.
To set the stone, use a burnishing tool. Hold this burnishing tool and use it with the same action as if to peel a potato, as shown in photo 9A.
While holding the stone down into the setting, as shown in photo 9B, begin to roll over one of the scallop shapes toward the centre of the stone. Then turn the piece 180° and roll over the scallop opposite to the one you have just done, as shown in photo 9C.
Continue working in this manner, as shown in photo 10A, until all scallops are rolled over against the stone. Then, continue to smooth the scallops against the stone, as shown in photo 10B, for a secure fit and finished look.