Repair of Bezel-Set Jewelry

September 1998

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.

Bezel Repair
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:

  1. Excessive wear of the bezel material has caused the stone to become loose.
  2. The stone's original seat or bearing was cut too large.
  3. Resizing the original ring affected the bezel and stone assembly by changing the stone's seat.
  4. 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 at left.
   
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.

Quality Exercise
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.

  1. Inspect, using magnification.
  2. Check for loose, chipped, broken or abraded conditions on the stone.
  3. Clean the ring.
  4. Check again for stone security.
  5. Examine the stone carefully. Is it genuine? Synthetic? Treated? Again look for chipped, broken or abraded conditions.
  6. Make sure the sizing process won't alter the bezel and stone assembly.
  7. Check for evidence the ring has been sized before. If it shows signs of sizing, is the bezel already distorted?
  8. Check the seating of the stone in the bezel wall. Was it executed properly to ensure the stone's security?
  9. Check the thickness of the bezel wall. Is it sufficient for stone security?
  10. Make sure the shank is substantial enough for sizing (JA Quality Assurance Guide, Professional Jeweler, March 1998, p. 99-104).
  11. 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

  1. The bezel wall is flat, even and parallel; there are no visible solder seams from its replacement.
  2. The process of tightening a loose stone has not resulted in any visible traces of burnishing, hammering, chips or abrasions.
  3. The table of the stone is level and even with the bezel and above the top of the bezel wall.
  4. 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 left.

 

 

 

 

Stone damage
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.


 

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