Friday, January 20, 2012

Favorite Tools

I love to set stones.  And buttons.  And rusty washers.  I love to set pretty much anything that you can wrap a bezel around.  

Sterling silver bezels are good.  Fine silver bezels are better.  22k gold bezels rock my world.  Buttery and forgiving, gold in this high carat form takes the frustration out of stone setting and makes it an absolute joy.

Having the proper setting tools aids in the joyful task.  Tool companies sell several types of tools for prong and bezel setting  (fyi: I don't do prongs.  I can do prongs, but I'd rather not.  So I don't).  The choices can be confusing and expensive.  All a jeweler needs is this tool above.  
A simple burnisher. 

 Burnishers are rather useful tools at the bench.  No buffing machine one hand, you say?  Polish with the burnisher.  Not happy with the stone in that setting?  Gently loosen the bezel (or prongs) with the sharp edge of the burnish.  Just scraped the surface of that pendant?  Use the burnished to push metal over the mar.   I learned how to bezel set with that very tool some 20+ years ago.  I still use it everyday.

I loved my burnisher to compress those bezels and lock the stone in place.  That is until I started to bezel set really small, teensy weensy little stones.  The burnisher could still do the job, but the small bezels looked rather messy.  The tool was sadly too big for the task at hand.

 While poking around in a tool catalog, I spotted this nifty little chigger.  Consisting of highly polished, concave punches and a super comfortable handle, this tool can set stones in either prongs (gasp!) or round bezels to a maximum of about 8mm.  The finished look is bright, clean, and professional.  And it is very, very easy to use on either round tube or seamed bezels.


There you have it.... two of my favorite bezel setting tools.  
So, I'm curious, dear blog followers, what is your favorite tool?


  1. I have GOT to get one of those tools for the tiny stones! What a neat little piece of equipment that is and I'd use it every day, I'm sure. Please tell me it's not really called a chigger . . .

    :: lynn ::

    1. Hey Lynn! Wouldn't it be great if it WAS called a chigger?? It actually has a really boring name like "stone setting system". *snore* Here's the link:

  2. What a great find!
    Your tips are always so handy :o)

    I nearly fell off my chair when I found the perfect tool for setting wide band rings. It's called a 'ring setter's clamp'. It's a handle with a gadget that expands a nylon 'ring holder' inside wide band rings, allowing for stones to be easily set! The perfect solution, as the parallel ring clamps couldn't hold my wide band rings and setting them on a mandrel meant the ring lost its round shape from pushing on the bezels and it was extremely awkward to handle.
    It's all explained here if you'd like a look:

    I do hope that you and other jewellers find this helpful! I love to share :o)


    1. Mariann, NIce find! Thanks for the link to your blog!!

  3. oooh me thinks I'm going to have to invest in that very awesome set of tools myself! I intend to incorporate more tube set things so it would be perfect! Thanks for sharing!