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Setting Tiny Stones

June 1, 2015 , In: Metalsmithing, Tutorials
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Recently on my blog I was asked how I manage to set such small stones, such as this 4mm peridot in my daisy stacker ring, so I thought I would share a few tips and tricks that I have learnt.

Daisy Stacker Ring With Lampwork by Jen Cameron 
The first thing I do when setting small stones is cut the bezel wire in half with very sharp scissors. I do this because the smallest bezel wire I can get is 3mm tall and when setting tiny stones this is much to big. The wire does tend to curl up but I just use my flat pliers to gently straighten it back out.

Cutting the Bezel Wire

Next, using this neat little gizmo called a mitre jig that I learnt about from one of my favorite blogs Cinnamon Jewellery (Tracy’s work is just amazing as is her blog where she shares so much fantastic information, a really great source for learning), I clamp the bezel wire and file one side flat.

My Beloved Mitre Jig

Most of the tiny stones I use are 3-5mm in size because I use my bail making pliers to form my bezels, and they are 3mm and 5mm in diameter. Making bezels this way is a lot less fiddly than trying to wrap the wire around the stone and a lot easier then trying to measure the bezel wire to the correct size. I wrap the wire around the end of the pliers and press down at the join to leave a mark so I know where to cut.

Bail Making Pliers

After cutting and filing the marked edge I rewrap it around the bail making pliers and check that the edges are flush then I gently flatten the join with my flat pliers to hold it in place, once I am happy that the edges meet perfectly with no light showing through I solder the piece. Because it is so small I always use easy solder and go as slow as possible, it really is easy to melt these little things!

Flatten the Join 

Once soldered and pickled I reshape it on the bail making pliers, if by some chance it is a touch too small I then use my round nose pliers to stretch it, by simply placing it onto one side of the pliers and twisting and pushing it further down the tapered end of the pliers to stretch it. Alternatively if I am making an oval shaped bail I would place the bail onto the tip of pliers in the above photo while they were closed and then I would gently open them to elongate the bail.

Made Using Tiny Stones
Once the bezel is a perfect fit for the stone I solder it onto the backing plate, or as in the photo above, onto a coin and continue setting as I would a larger piece. Hopefully this has answered the question!

Niky Sayers

Niky Sayers started creating jewellery 6 years ago after stumbling across a jewellery making blog while looking for a hobby. She is a stay at home mum with hermit like tendencies, a mild addiction to coffee and chocolate and a love of all things handmade or antique/rusty. While not raising her tribe she like to keep as busy as possible playing with metal sheet, wire and other treasures and trinkets all at her kitchen table in Surrey, England.
  1. Reply

    Cool Niky, thanks! I would love to know how you set Jen's headpins as I have a couple that I messed up and the wire broke off. The round bottom sort of throws me.

  2. Reply

    Thanks for the mention Niky!
    I've set 4mm cabs before and do it the same way as you basically. I have some bezel mandrels which make life easier too.

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