How to Set a Stone Using a Simple Bead Setting Process

How to Set a Stone Using a Simple Bead Setting Process

“Sometimes ya just gotta bling things up a bit”. There are plenty of times when I have a piece of jewelry and it just needs a little something to make it “pop”. I have shown in the past how I set stones in different settings and channels, but today I will demonstrate how to bead set a round stone flush, into a flat surface.

Simple Bead Setting Header

Today I am starting with a flat topped ring that I have finished with 600 Sandpaper on my Sanding Stick, and the surface is completely flat. I found a 2mm stone I am going to set in the center. Layout is an important part of setting, so I take time to find the center of the space I am working on. What I did was measure the total width, and divide by 2. I set my Dividers at this at this measurement, and lightly scribe a mark from each side. I do the same with the height of the piece, so when I am done laying this out, I have a lightly scribed cross in the very center of the space I am working. I try to make the scribed cross smaller than the stone I am using so I will remove it when cutting the seat for the stone.

Simple Bead Setting (1) Simple Bead Setting (2)

Simple Bead Setting (3) Simple Bead Setting (4)

 Now that I have the center found, I use my sharp scribe to make a small “divot” where the very center is, or where the lightly scribed lines intersect. This will make it easier for my drill bit or ball bur to drill and not “wander” while I drill a hole. I decide to drill the hole with a ball bur using my Foredom, first with a 0.7mm Ball Bur, then with a 1.4mm Ball Bur. I use the smaller bit first as a pilot hole to make the larger bit drill easier. I like to use a “through-hole” under my stones about 70% of the stone size, which allows more light to get to the stone and make it shine a bit more brilliantly.

Simple Bead Setting (5) Simple Bead Setting (6)

Simple Bead Setting (7) Simple Bead Setting (8)

Next I cut the seat for the stone I am using. I am using a 2.0mm Setting Bur to drill into the hole and make the seat for the stone. Drill the seat deep enough so the whole girdle, or side edge of the stone, is below the surface. Continually check the stone while you are drilling to make sure it is deep enough, but not too deep. You want to be able to see just a little metal over the top of the girdle.

Simple Bead Setting (9) Simple Bead Setting (10)

Simple Bead Setting (11) Simple Bead Setting (12)

Once the seat is cut, use a straight edge to lightly make a mark to locate the corners of the setting, at 45 degree angles, to follow the shape of the surface I am setting on. I line up my straight edge from corner to corner and make a small mark. I do the same for the other side as well.

Simple Bead Setting (13) Simple Bead Setting (14)

Place the stone into the seat and make sure it is completely flat in the bottom of the setting. I am using a #52 Round Graver to “raise a bead” from the flat area on the outside of the stone. I am cutting into the surface from the direction of the scribed layout lines at 45 degree angles. Start with one raised prong or bead, then move to the opposite side and do the same. How I make these beads is start with my graver about 1-1.5mm away from the stone and dig into the metal lightly with the graver, pushing the excess metal towards the stone, making sure to stop before you get to the stone itself. I hope that makes sense.

Simple Bead Setting (15) Simple Bead Setting (16)

Simple Bead Setting (17)

Once you have all 4 beads raised, use your Beading Tool to make the bead into a prong to hold the stone in place. Find a beading toot that is just a little larger than the metal you are making into a bead. Use firm pressure to move the metal over the stone, but not too much to break off the prong.

Simple Bead Setting (18) Simple Bead Setting (19)

Simple Bead Setting (20)

Now that the stone is set, you can finish the area around the stone as you wish, either leaving it with a brushed finish for contrast, or polish to a high luster.

Have fun trying this type of setting, get used to it and get creative, because there are many uses for this type of setting, and it is the building blocks to pave’ setting.

There ya go, a little setting action to make your week exciting.

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Have an awesome day and go Bling your world!


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29 Responses to How to Set a Stone Using a Simple Bead Setting Process

  1. Christy October 29, 2014 at 8:09 am #

    You make things look easy because you are succinct in your explanations. I didn’t think I could do this without a scope, but now I’m tempted to try. Thanks!

    • JewelryMonk October 29, 2014 at 8:34 am #

      Thank you Christy, I try to add as much info as I can without getting too indepth and complicated. Glad it is working.

  2. Lynne October 29, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    Thanks, Doug. This was as always a great lesson, very clear. I so appreciate your taking the time to put these together! Additionally, the links you include to places to acquire the parts or tools are quite helpful.

    • JewelryMonk October 29, 2014 at 9:17 am #

      You are so welcome Lynne.

  3. Maureen Kasischke October 29, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    Love this article. I have been wondering how to do this. I would love to print this article out but can’t figure out how to get my computer to do this. I will keep trying. Thanks for a great article.

    • JewelryMonk October 29, 2014 at 9:19 am #

      You are welcome Maureen. Hope you can figure that out. I hope to do some video tutorials soon, I am shopping for a good camera to do this.

  4. Debbie October 29, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    Thank you for this tutorial. This and flush settings are on my bucket list to do. I am just afraid to start. This might be the motivation that I need.

    • JewelryMonk October 29, 2014 at 9:30 am #

      Debbie, go for it! Fear is a great motivator and a great feeling when overcome.

  5. Paulla October 29, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    Love this! Thank you for taking the time to make these tutorials and generously sharing them! I have found all of them helpful 🙂

    • JewelryMonk October 29, 2014 at 11:13 am #

      You are welcome Paulla. Comments like this confirm I am doing the right thing. Thanks.

  6. Dana Evans October 29, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Thanks, Doug! I don’t have any gravers. What is a good set of various sizes to start with? Also, I’ve seen this done with more of a star patterning around the stone- in that case are there more beads, or is it just a decorative look/engraving after the stone’s been flush-set?

    • JewelryMonk October 29, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

      Dana, I like to use a number of gravers. I did a post about gravers here and here is where I suggest you start:
      #2 Onglette
      #42 Flat
      #52 Round
      #3 Knife
      This should get you started and used to how they work, after you get used to them, you can cater to the type of work you are doing and get more.
      Hope this helps.
      Also, I have used 3-4-5-6-8 prongs, it is all up to your style and what you want.
      Take care

  7. Marion October 29, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    Thanks Doug!!!

    Love your tutorials! This one is ironically timely…just got some new drill bits and stones to try my hand at setting! I’m now even more excited to get going!!! Your generosity in sharing your expertise is greatly appreciated!!! Best to you!!!

    • JewelryMonk October 29, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

      You are welcome Marion, I am excited for you as well and can’t wait to hear what you do with your new tools. Thanks for the kind words as well, it is comments like yours that keeps me doing what I am doing.

  8. Lisa Anderson October 30, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    I’m ready to start moving beyond basic bezels, so thanks for this and for sharing your list of starter tools!

    • JewelryMonk October 30, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

      Lisa, that sounds exciting! I can’t wait to hear and see what you create.
      You are welcome by the way

  9. Carolynne November 2, 2014 at 5:57 am #

    Trying to learn EVERYTHING! Thank you!

    • JewelryMonk November 2, 2014 at 8:40 am #

      Aren’t we all Carolynne……..
      You are welcome.

  10. Jill Griffin June 2, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

    Hi Doug,

    I’ve been wanting to learn flush setting for a while. I’ve been on Pinterest for about a year but just discovered the wealth of tutorials. I am excited to try this technique. I have a flex shaft and most of the bits so why not? I agree with many others- your tutorial is very clear, photos are great and there’s not a lot of fluff to get lost in. Thanks for sharing. I’ll let you know how it turns out.


    • JewelryMonk June 2, 2015 at 10:27 pm #

      Thank you Jill, I look forward to seeing what you come up with. I do try to keep my tutorials short, concise, and simple to follow with clear instructions and images.
      Good luck and do please share.

  11. Jen Hollywood-Showell August 19, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

    Excellent tutorial! What size beading tool would you suggest for a 2 and a 3mm stone? I popped onto Stuller, and they have tons of sizes with no explanation. Thank you kindly!

    • JewelryMonk August 19, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

      Thanks Jen. I would suggest getting a beading tool set, which has a variety of sizes. For a 2-3mm stone, I would use about a #6-7 (.6mm -.7mm bead).

  12. Bryan February 28, 2016 at 5:34 am #

    Thank you so much for this Doug!

    Really appreciate that you took the time and effort to put this together for us here to learn.
    Kudos to you and now i am excited to try it myself!! 🙂

    • Doug Napier February 28, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

      You are welcome Bryan.

  13. Rebecca August 3, 2016 at 10:17 am #

    I gave this a shot and it worked! Thank you so much! I work with metal clay so I can set many stones very easily before firing. But many other stones can’t take the heat of the kiln so they must be set after. This method is secure and looks really beautiful.

    What I can’t find is any kind of tutorial on how to sharpen a round graver. I read that they don’t need to be heeled but nothing specific about how to do it. I’ve also read that you should use an Arkansas stone. Thats about all I know and I’m scared to irreparably damage the graver by doing it wrong. Can you help me oh wise one?

    • Doug Napier August 4, 2016 at 6:12 am #

      Rebecca, Thanks for the comments and I am glad to hear that you were successful in setting your stones.
      Here is a link to a post that might help. Although this is for a flat graver, the concept is pretty much the same. LINK
      Hope this helps as well.

  14. Carol October 23, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. Can you tell me. What type of vise is holding the ring shaft?

    • Doug Napier October 23, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

      Carol, it is the GRS BenchMate System. LINK

  15. Sally Magdaleno November 18, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    Thanks so much for these instructions! I’ll practice on copper sheet first, I guess, and CZs. Can you direct me to a good set of instructions for finishing and polishing? I’ve seen all kinds of instructions using different polishing compounds, leather, etc. , and I’m a little confused. I’d especially like to know a good way to get a mirror finish on silver. Thank you so much.