How to Bead Set or Flush Set a Stone

One of the great things about working in silver is the fact it is so malleable, and the way you can move and manipulate it, it is almost like putty at times. I finished a little recycled silver nugget pendant yesterday, and if you tried to replicate what I did, you see what I am talking about, especially with a little heat from the torch, it works like soft butter. Today I am going to set a small stone into the same pendant, just to “jazz” it up.

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I am using a 2mm synthetic ruby for this example, which are relatively inexpensive, have great color, and are cut very similar to a diamond, with a fairly thin girdle, which makes for easy setting. First I locate a place to set the stone, here I found a spot that had a bit of a valley, with plenty of thickness for setting. Next I drilled a hole through the pendant with a 1.2mm Ball Bur. Then I drill the stone seat with a 2.0mm Hart Setting Bur, making sure I drill deep enough to allow the girdle of the stone to be barely lower than the surface of the silver pendant.

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Now I am using a small Beading Tool (a tool with a concave dimple in the end) to “raise a bead” from the surrounding metal, to do this, just place the beading tool on some silver, just to the outside of the stone seat, and lightly push the metal over the stone, so that there is about 1/4 to 1/3 of the bead actually over the edge of the stone. Use light pressure, and a circular motion, rotating the tool with your wrist, not “spinning” the tool, but rotating it. Soon I will be adding videos, so I can demonstrate this better. Add 2-3 beads to hold the stone in place.

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It doesn’t take much to hold this stone in place, and the silver makes it easy to “move” the prongs/beads into place. Since this is a pendant, it will not be in a “high-impact” area like a ring, so as long as the bead is barely over the stone, you can be certain it is not going to fall out.

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Hope you enjoyed this little project. Get some extra scrap silver pieces and play with melting and setting stones in it. you will have fun, and be learning at the same time, what can be better?  If you find value in this content, or if you like to keep up to date on the goings-on here, make sure to Subscribe to this Blog Via Email (link in the upper right corner at

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13 Responses to How to Bead Set or Flush Set a Stone

  1. Pennee August 14, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    Wow interesting. I leaned using a #52 graver to push the metal and finish with a beading tool- it never occured to me you could push metal with one!

    • JewelryMonk August 14, 2014 at 7:41 am #

      Thanks Pennee. Sometimes a graver works better, but in this case, the beading tool works quick.

  2. LindaS August 14, 2014 at 8:15 am #

    I thought the same as Pennee – I took a class where we attempted to do beading with a graver … I was not a big fan of that since it was really hard on my fingers and most of the time I ended up breaking the bead off… I did ok on copper but sterling was harder – I may try this with my beading set.

    • JewelryMonk August 14, 2014 at 8:58 am #

      Linda, give it a try, I think you will like it.

  3. Janet Carter August 14, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    I read and save & love everything you’ve written so now……..I don’t have a ball bur, or a setting bur or a concave dimple beading tool so don’t know about raising a bead ………I know what raising a HISSY fit is if I don’t get these things figured out though!! Kidding… I have a flex shaft,quick change, and the accessories it came with, but badly need help with accessories, burs, sanding wheels, cutting wheels, etc needed to grow!
    Looking thru the tool and accessory catalog is WAY too confusing. The highlighted Beading tool set shown above shows unavailable .

    • LindaS August 15, 2014 at 7:11 am #

      Hi Janet – there are other online shops you can get these beading tools – here is one from RioGrande where I buy most of my tools and supplies –

      • JewelryMonk August 15, 2014 at 7:14 am #

        Linda is right, I add a link so you can see what the tool looks like and sometimes the price is good, but the Jewelry Tool Suppliers have many more tools and a variety of qualities to choose from. Thanks Linda.

  4. JewelryMonk August 14, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    Janet, thank you for expressing your struggles. I sometimes forget the frustrations of being new to jewelry making, not knowing what I need and what I don’t need, and a Jewelry Tool Catalog can be a frightening thing. Please stay tuned, I will compile a “short-list” of some of the hand tools needed to make some of the basic jewelry procedures like soldering, stone setting, etc. Give me a few days.
    Thanks again.

  5. Kris O August 15, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

    Hi Doug! Enjoying all your helpful hints and information. I want to learn as much as possible about jewelry making so I soak it up like a sponge. I just made a hollow form. Think of a domino tile. It’s about the same size and shape. Before I soldered the backplate on I drilled a small hole so it wouldn’t explode when I enclosed the backplate. Is it always necessary to do this? (drill the hole) I’ve noticed I’m still getting some pickle drainage from the hole, looks rusty colored. Is this harmful to my silver? I’ve tried to shake it out and doing a light heating to try and dry it but there is still some drainage. I drilled the hole using a 20 gauge drill bit. The whole piece is 1/2 wide by 3/4″ long.


    • JewelryMonk August 16, 2014 at 8:42 am #

      Kris, Thanks for hanging out at the website and I appreciate your comments. As far as the hole drilled in a hollow form piece, it is necessary for some sort of hole because when heating the piece, the air inside the hollow form piece heats up and expands and the air needs some where to escape. If you do not have a hole, the solder joint will never be complete, because the air will just blow the solder out of the way. There are 2 ways you could do this. The first is to drill 2 holes, and when you are done pickling your piece, blow air through the holes, this will remove all the liquid. The second is to just drill 1 hole, but don’t pickle your piece, just let it air cool. If you dip your piece in a mixture of Powdered Boric Acid and Denatured alcohol first, this will prevent some of the fire scale.
      Hope this helps.

      • Kris O August 17, 2014 at 8:26 am #

        Thanks, Doug! Will give it a try.

  6. Sarah September 4, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    Hi Doug!
    I use my beading tools a bunch (maybe a little too much) and they seem to be going flat or are too used? Is there a way to sharpen or make them ok again or do I have to purchase new ones? Thank you so much for your help and sharing this information! Really helpful!

    • JewelryMonk September 4, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

      Sarah, there is a Beading Block on the market that is used to do just that. Most jewelry suppliers carry them.