February Jewellery making challenge - Bezel setting

For this months challenge piece of jewellery I decided to keep the Celestial theme going & make a moonstone stacking ring.

I used a ready made ring band, as this was the first ring I have ever made. This allowed me to just focus on practising my soldering & stone setting, as I'm rather new to these techniques. To further push myself this project required that I use a strip of solder instead of the ready mixed solder in a syringe which i'm used to using!

I started off the ring by cleaning the ring band & bezel cup ready for soldering (to set yourself up for a good solder you have to make sure everything is clean as even oil from your hands can hinder it!)

Then on to the soldering itself. I'm familiar with soldering on stud posts to silver clay charms but setting this ring up was a bit tricky, it took some time to make sure I was happy with the placement & ensure there was no gaps as solder doesn't fill gaps. The soldering went perfectly first time, the solder flowed just where I wanted it to & there was minimal clean up to do.

After a bath in the pickle (a cleaning solution made using white vinegar & salt) I polished the ring & it was time to set the stone. I have set a few stones in bezel cups before but previously they had been decorative bezel cups so there was less metal to curve in around the stone.

My first attempt seemed to go well, I was able to use my stone setting tools (bezel pusher, bezel rocker & stainless steel burnisher) to get the metal nice & close to the stone but I had forgotten to work at North, South, East, West around the stone to set it nice & flat. The stone definitely was not even! Luckily I hadn't completely finished setting the stone so I was able to use a thin tool to carefully pull the edges of the bezel cup out & adjust the stone before starting again.

The second attempt I remembered the N, S, E, W way of working & instantly noticed the difference the stone was much easier to hold in place & I got the metal nice & close to the stone. I thought it was a successful setting until I was giving the bezel cup a polish & the stone fell out!!!!!

Attempt number 3! I did the same again using the bezel pusher & rocker to gently move the metal in around the stone in the same motion as attempt 2 but for some reason this time the stone set properly.

I definitely pushed myself out of my boundaries with this design & I learnt a lot. While it was frustrating (I mean setting the same stone 3 times!!!) it was also very rewarding & i'm definitely planning to use bezel settings more in my designs.

Next months design prompt is going to challenge me even further but it's something I have wanted to make for a long time so watch this space.

Check out #jewellersacademychallenge21 on Instagram to see loads of amazing artists who are taking part

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