Monday, 18 July 2011

Cutting your own bezel strip

The supplier of my silver materials only stocks two sizes of fine silver bezel strip 3mm and 5mm 0.3mm thick, which for some time was adequate. As I have been buying more and more hand cut individual cabochons I have found that these two sizes are not always the best and have had to resort to cutting them down, which results more often than not in waste or indeed they are just not big enough as the case is with the stone below.

So I bought some 0.3mm fine silver sheet and now cut my own to suit the stone I am fitting with a bezel. Very little waste and really very simple to do.

Measure height of the stone you need the bezel for allowing for your rub over, and measure the circumference. ( if like me you are not the greatest of mathematicians here are two useful utilities  this one is for ovals/ellipses and this one for circles    ) The square stone I am using here even I can work out how much I need :0) it is 27mm by 23mm so I need 100mm (add a couple of mm for squaring up the ends for soldering) and it is 6.74 thick so I will add 1mm for the rub over as this stone has a 1mm faceted edge.

(Esme a member of one of the teams I am in, reminded me that for irregular stones, the best way is to wrap some sticky tape round the stone and mark where the tape overlaps to give you the circumference.)

Stone front, side view and measured for thickness

Now take your fine silver sheet and a pair of dividers or a pair of compasses will do, I use these which are absolutely fine and I will not buy something specially if I have something that will do the job. Make a little mark with a sharpie for the length you need.

These are really a drafting pair but work fine

Mark out your required length.

Set the dividers to the height you need the bezel and with one point on the edge of the sheet silver and the other on the silver in one fluid movement score a line along the silver to the mark you made for the desired length. ( I had to take the pic using my left hand as I could not do it and take the pic with my right but you will get the idea)

Set the required height of bezel

Score like this

Line scored

Cut along the line as carefully as you can with a pair of sharp scissors and there you have a custom bezel to your exact requirements. Ordinary scissors are fine for this, I use a cheap pair from Ikea.

Bezel ready for final fitting and soldering
Due to the springiness of the silver it does not look like it will fit in the above picture but it does, the sides are slightly bowed, once it is properly squared up it will fit :0)

As you might imagine cutting your own bezel will also allow you to jazz it up a bit too, by drilling holes, filing out crenellation like a castle wall or zig zag, the possibilities are nigh on endless and all from plain sheet.

There are in this a couple of discrepancies regarding the reading on the vernier and that which is written this is because as I laid down the calipers to take the pic they moved as they are very sensitive :0)

All pics will enlarge if clicked for easier viewing.


  1. Thanks Cornelius! Your photos are, as they say, worth a thousand words - and your words are helpful too. :)

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