For Your Staff:Selling Quality
Repair of Bezel-Set Jewelry
Knowing what to look for when inspecting and taking in bezel-set jewelry
demonstrates another aspect of quality in your shop
by Mark B. Mann Director of Professional Certification, Jewelers of America
This month we'll discuss the characteristics of bezel-set pieces that need
repair because of loose stones, wear or errors in workmanship. There's also
an exercise for you and your staff. Use the illustrations and the photograph
that follow to identify the inspection points you should check before taking
in a bezel-set ring for sizing.
A customer usually brings in bezel-set jewelry most often rings
for repair because the stone is loose. Stones loosen for various reasons;
these are some of the most common:
- Excessive wear of the bezel material has caused the stone to become
- The stone's original seat or bearing was cut too large.
- Resizing the original ring affected the bezel and stone assembly by
changing the stone's seat.
- Normal wear has caused the bezel to open-up over time, so the stone
is loose. 5. During the original setting pro-cesses, a metal filing was
trapped between the stone and the bezel and it has been dislodged.
To determine whether the stone is loose, use the jiggle method, a bamboo
probe or sticky wax. These techniques were detailed last month (Professional
Jeweler,August 1998, p. 129).
|1. Excessive wear of the bezel material has caused
the stone to become loose. |
When too much metal wears away from the top and/or the sides of the bezel,
the stone becomes loose. Installing a new bezel is a routine service to
correct this problem. If the metal wear is minor, the bench jeweler uses
a burnisher to push the metal down from the top, thus tightening the stones
by compressing the metal over and/or on to the stone.
| 2. The stone's original seat or bearing was
cut too large.|
The bezel-set stone should be in full contact with the bezel wall, as shown
|3. Resizing the original ring affected the bezel and
stone assembly by changing the stone's seat. |
Changing the size of the original ring has the potential to alter the stone's
seat. So before resizing a bezel-set ring, the bench jeweler must consider
what resizing will do to the bezel and stone assembly and the security of
the stone. In this example, the ring was sized down several sizes. Rerounding
the ring after sizing may mean the seat prepared for the stone inside the
bezel is no longer flat and even and may be no longer suitable for the stone.
| 4. Normal wear has caused the bezel to open-up
over time, and the stone has become loose.|
Because the bezel's basic dimensions remain substantial (are not worn),
burnishing retightens the stone.
| 5. During the original setting processes, a
metal filing was trapped between the stone and the bezel, but now is dislodged,
allowing the stone to become loose.|
This simply requires burnishing to tighten the stone.
Instructions: Your customer needs this bezel-set ring sized down three sizes.
Test your knowledge of the inspection points you should check before take-in.
First, using a separate piece of paper (and without looking at the list
below), write in order the correct steps in the inspection procedure. Then
look at the list below and see how yours matches.
- Inspect, using magnification.
- Check for loose, chipped, broken or abraded conditions on the stone.
- Clean the ring.
- Check again for stone security.
- Examine the stone carefully. Is it genuine? Synthetic? Treated? Again
look for chipped, broken or abraded conditions.
- Make sure the sizing process won't alter the bezel and stone assembly.
- Check for evidence the ring has been sized before. If it shows signs
of sizing, is the bezel already distorted?
- Check the seating of the stone in the bezel wall. Was it executed properly
to ensure the stone's security?
- Check the thickness of the bezel wall. Is it sufficient for stone security?
- Make sure the shank is substantial enough for sizing (JA Quality Assurance
Guide, Professional Jeweler, March 1998, p. 99-104).
- In the example shown here, it may not be possible to totally reround
the ring without affecting the bezel and the stone's seat. Did you notify
your customer the inside of the shank may appear slightly different?
JA Quality Assurance Guide
Repairing Bezel-Set Jewelry
Proper Bezel Repair
- The bezel wall is flat, even and parallel; there are no visible solder
seams from its replacement.
- The process of tightening a loose stone has not resulted in any visible
traces of burnishing, hammering, chips or abrasions.
- The table of the stone is level and even with the bezel and above the
top of the bezel wall.
- The stone is tight and secure in the bezel.
Potential Problems-Bezel Repair
Bezel wall is wavy and thin
The bezel wall is stressed because it was made dimensionally too light or
it has worn thin.
Visible solder seams
The bezel was handmade and shows a visible solder seam where it was
joined or where it was connected to the ring.
The stone's original seat or bearing was
cut too large
The bezel-set stone should be in full contact with the bezel wall, as on
The stone shows abrasions and/or chips because tools were used improperly
when the bezel was burnished, damaging the stone.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY LAINIE MANN
©1998 Jewelers of America
Standards as described by the JA® Bench Jewelers Certification Program
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.