Since silver is such a good conductor of heat,
when repairing a piece of silver jewelry with heat, it is often easiest and
safest to remove any heat sensitive stones. In this article we’ll look at how to
remove a stone from a bezel setting and then reset it.
Before opening the bezel setting, examine the
stone and the setting with your jeweler’s loupe. See if there are any openings
or small gaps between the stone and the bezel. If there are, that is where you
should focus your efforts to open the setting. If not, look for a place where
there seems to be a little extra space where you can slide a scalpel or thin
blade and use it to carefully and gently pull the bezel away from the stone.
Silver is a soft metal, so this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Once you have created a slightly larger gap
between the bezel setting and the stone with a blade, it is best to switch tools
to continue the process. The best tool to use for removing the stone from the
bezel is a polished bezel lifter. Place the tip of the bezel lifter into the gap
you just created or widened in the bezel setting. The flat side should rest
lightly against the stone and the domed side should be pushing against the
inside of the bezel. Rock the bezel lifter against your thumb, not the stone!
Carefully push the tool outward, sliding it along the edge of the bezel as you
work. This will force the bezel out enough for you to be able to remove the
With a piece of sticky wax, remove the stone
from the setting. Note any irregular shaping of the stone and mark the bottom of
the stone so you will be able to reset it exactly how it was before. Make a
similar mark in the bezel so you can match the stone to the setting.
Complete the necessary repairs on the piece of
jewelry. Clean and restore the finish. Now you are ready to reset the stone. Use
sticky wax to pick up the stone, be sure that it is correctly oriented by lining
up the mark on the stone with the mark in the setting and then place the stone
in the setting.
The best tool to use to close a bezel is a
roller. A roller allows you to precisely control where you are applying
pressure, it smoothes and presses the metal against the stone simultaneously.
Position the roller against the top edge of the bezel so that it doesn’t touch
the stone. Then, roll the edge over the bezel to create a tight fits. First
close the ends of the bezel and then close the sides of the bezel.
Polish the piece again, just enough to bring
out the finish.