Metal Smithing 101 - Setting a Square Cabochon Or A Gemstone with Corners

fire agate chunky sterling silver square ringFire Agate Chunky Sterling Silver Ring

I did it! I finally learned and persisted on learning on how to set a stone with corners. I definitely wanted to share my experience with you! After taking a few classes at my community college, I learned primarily the basics of metal smithing. I learned how to use my saw, my disc cutter, my files, and my flexshaft tool..which does all kinds of things, but most importantly how to get that polished shiny shiny look.

The one thing I did not really get is how to set a square cabochon. The detailed technique of it is not so easy to grasp or even explain. I tried filing the corners down first, but that is not all you have to do. It really is technique and it needs to practiced to be a master at it.

First of all setting a square cabs with corners is very tricky. It really is important to practice your technique and use the right tool! YES, the right tool helps. I have been using a bezel pusher...but I really never used my bezel rocker. At first this tool was so strange to me. I wondered ..what? How the heck does this thing work? So, I threw it back in the drawer and that was it for the next few months. After struggling with the bezel pusher on square cabs one after the other...I thought..what am I doing wrong? Of course nothing in metalsmithing comes with instructions..have you noticed?

bezel rockerBezel Rocker - Nifty Tool

The next step is to understand the technique used with this type of tool and to follow through with it. Honestly, I can't explain it in such great detail. But if you go to this site here:,1738.0.html this kind gentleman will show you EXACTLY how it is done. Oh my really works! Once you get this..PRACTICE!

Okay so I will show you some improvements on my square settings:

blue flash faceted labradorite cabochonFaceted Labradorite Square Sterling Silver Ring

If you go back in my archives, you will see my before photo's of this exact ring style and well, I would say...what a difference! I love square cabs..and now I can set them. YAY!

blue flash labradorite cabochonLabradorite Cabochon 12mm

Here is another ring, I have this for sale in my shop as well. No pinched corners...I just love it. This ring is so amazing in real life..very very pretty this labradorite gemstone is. If your looking for some great cabs you can also stop in and check out my Cab shop: 101 Best Beads on Etsy!

In a few weeks, I will be gathering some information on how to polish and research what types of tools to use for you newbies like me. I will be posting that information here too. Of course experimenting is what I do best. So please stay in touch. It is a learning process.

Have a great holiday season with your family! Any comments are welcome..let me know you stopped in! Thank you!


nancy said...

Great job and thanks for the link! Am also trying to learn this; one question when the author says to push the corner away I'm assuming he means Away from the stone, toward the outside. Is that correct?
In my bezel setting class I was also taught to file an oval bezel down a bit to get ride of extra material so this makes sense to me. thanks again.
Nancy in NJ

Horse Creek Jewelry said...

Hi Nancy,

He means to push away from the corner. Put your bezel rocker edge at 45 degree angle and push from the corner towards the middle of the stone.

It works much much better ..believe me.

I hope this helps?

Thanks for your comment!

Unknown said...

these rings look fabulous! i'm just getting into setting

nancy said...

Thanks for you reply, I've just ordered the bezel tool !