Square/Princess Cut Stepped Bezel for Faceted or Cabochon Stones

Nancy LT Hamilton

11/19/22, 11/18/22, 10/27/22

Under construction but growing all the time!

The information is related to my YouTube video(s) on setting square stones. (Not yet released as of 11/18/22 – working on them!)   This page lists materials and notes, related videos, tools & materials, techniques, tips, links, and other important stone-setting information.


Methods for Square Setting

There are a few methods for creating fancy bezel settings, specifically, a square setting (which is what this page is about).

  1. Cutting a seat in a wide bezel
    1. If doing this, you’ll need .5 – .7 millimeters (approx. 24 – 21 gauge) for the outer bezel and about .3 for the inner.  The outer bezel comprises 2/3’s of the wall’s thickness, and the inner is 1/3.  This means the bezel material should be a minimum of 1 millimeter thick (18 gauge).  This is for a solid bezel, not a two-piece stepped bezel.
    2. But, when constructing a stepped bezel made from an inner, smaller bezel, it is recommended to use 24 gauge, minimum, for the interior bezel, so I don’t know.  Let’s just say the inner bezel should be anywhere from 28 – 24 gauge (.3 – .5 mm approx.).
  2. Soldering a smaller bezel into a larger bezel
  3. Soldering a support, like a jump ring, into a larger bezel
  4. Tapered bezel

Notes on Setting Square Stones or Stones with Sharp Points

  • Create small pockets with a small ball bur to accommodate the pointy corners on the ends of stones.
  • Use a ball bur that is slightly wider than the girdle of the stone.
  •     Drag the ball bur down the corner to create a groove for the stone’s keel.
  • Some jewelers soften the corners of bezel-set, sharp-cornered stones with diamond files or emery.  I have never done this.  Supposedly, this process reduces the chances of snapping the corners.

Some General Notes on Setting

  • Setting a bezel uses a bezel pusher for a thin-walled bezel, and heavier bezels will require a punch.  The punch can be either a manual punch or a hammer handpiece type of punch.
  • Cylinder bur or inverted cone bur
    • The cylinder or inverted cone is used to cut 90° seats in a solid bezel.  They both can be used to mark where the cut will start by dragging it along the interior bezel wall with the edge of the bur.  You can also use dividers or calipers to do this.
  • Usually, 3 differently-sized cylinders or inverted cone burs will be employed when cutting a seat.
    • Mark line with a smaller bur
    • Start initial cuts with a medium bur until you are happy with the level of the cut.
    • Finish cutting the seat with a bur that is about 1/2 the diameter of the stone.
    • Slowly move around the interior bezel walls removing a little bit with each rotation.  Check the fit of the stone often.
  • Using gravers, ball burs, setting burs, etc., cut the seat to match the pavilion of your stone.
    • Don’t do the step above for cabochons with flat backs.
  • The stone should fit in snugly without space between it and the girdle.  Also, the stone should be touching the seat only with its girdle.  This reduces the chance of damage to the stone.
    • With square are sharp-cornered settings, cut with the bur, and then come in with an onglette graver or small ball bur and cut downwards in the corners.
  • Seats can also be cut with ball burs.  Especially with round stones.  Use the ball bur with stones 5mm and under.
    • For round stones, use a bur that is the same size as the seat.  If you don’t have the right size, you’ll need a slightly smaller bur.
    • With square settings, you’ll want to use a smaller bur. Start with a small bur, then medium, and finally employ a bur that is about 1/2 the diameter of the stone.
    • The ball bur is used similarly to the inverted cone or cylinder.
    • Use tape or your fingernail to hold the stone in place while setting it as the stone could roll.  This is less likely with a snug fit, though.
    • Setting burs are used similarly to the ball, inverted cone, or cylinder bur for square settings.
    • Setting burs are used like ball burs for round settings – using a setting bur that is the same size as or slightly smaller than the stone.
  • You can also use gravers to cut seats.
    • Using the tip of an onglette, cut the line for your seat.  Follow this line with the graver lowering the angle a little more with each rotation so that you end up cutting a groove and a place to hold the graver. Try to avoid hitting the walls of the setting with the belly of the graver at this point.
  •     With round settings, align the table’s facets with the piece (for stones larger than 4 mm).  This is especially important when setting multiple stones.
  • File a taper on the outer edge of any bezel if the metal is .6 mm and up (about 22 gauge).  This makes it easier to set the stone AND reduces the chances of damaging it.

Stone’s Location in the Setting

The upper edge of the girdle should be about .2 – .3 millimeters below the top edge of the setting.  Use the formula of 25% of the height of the stone for more shallowly cut stones and 33% of the height of the stone for thicker girdled or bulbous stones.

A seat cut too low will result in a wider bezel, making the stone look smaller.  Too high a seat, and there may not be enough material to cover the stone – especially after bright-cutting.

Cutting a seat too low can also be potentially dangerous for the stone as it takes more pressure and more blows to push the extra material over the stone.

High-domed cabochons or stones with bulbous tops (faceted) must sit lower in the seat to have sufficient material to push over the stone.

    The lower the seat, in a tapered bezel, the thinner the bezel walls.

Traditional Methods for Creating an Inset, Smaller Bezel

Below are brief instructions for traditionally made square/princess cut (and rectangular) bezels.  Try them if you’ve got time (and patience)!

Material for a 7mm square CZ

Outer Bezel

Item # 100292, Rio Grande Jewelry Supply.  4.78 mm X .51 mm (24 gauge)

OR (for a thinner outer bezel)

Item # 100290, Rio Grande Jewelry Supply.  4.77 mm X .33 mm (28 gauge)

Amount:  7 + 1 + 7 = 15 mm.  Note:  This is the bare minimum required.  I do NOT recommend using this short of a piece as the tolerances are so minute.  At a minimum, add 1 extra millimeter.  18 mm should be sufficient.

Inner Bezel

Item # 100290, Rio Grande Jewelry Supply.  3.18 mm X  .51 mm (24 gauge)

Note:  it is recommended to use 24 gauge  (or thicker) for the inner bezel.  This allows the stone to sit on sufficient material to be supported properly.


Item # 69485 for a 7 mm stone, as featured in my video.  Rio Grande sells them in sizes from 3 mm – 10 mm.  They do not sell other square stones that are 7 mm – cabochon or faceted.

The Marker

  You need a 6-millimeter square piece for the marker (for a 7-mm stone).  You can make this out of any material – as long as that material is firm.   Plastic, wood, metal, etc.  It’s easier if you can cut your material on a laser cutter, as attaining a perfect 6 mm square by hand is a little challenging.  It’s not impossible – just challenging (It’s so teeny).  I had a hard time cutting a perfect mm square using a precision, guillotine, benchtop shear.  But a quick stop in the miter-cutting vise fixed any irregularities.

When scribing your lines, be sure to use a perfectly square corner to scribe on.  A corner of your sheet metal, fresh from the manufacturer, is ideal.

Saw the other two sides outside the lines and then file square in a miter-cutting vise placing the square edges against the vise’s pin.

Make several in different sizes for different stone sizes.  This will work for rectangular stones too.  Other stones will be mover challenging to execute.

This little square reflects the size needed for the inner bezel.  It is usually 1mm shorter than your stone’s outer dimensions.  It is super helpful when determining leg placement for soldering.

Tools for Setting a Square Stone



Other Suppliers

  • Asic Miter Cutting Vise & Jig – Rio Grande, item #:  113596.  This is my favorite miter cutting vise and the one that I use.
  • Swanstrom Super-Flush Cutters – Rio Grande, item #:  111710.  Nice flush-cut shears.  Can cut up to 16 gauge wire or sheet metal – nonferrous metals.

Links to applicable NLTH web pages and videos

Miter Cutting Vise & Jig Page

This Video’s Story

(upcoming stepped bezel for a square or princess cut stone (still in production as of 11/18/22)

This method for setting square/princess faceted stones is not a traditional method. It results from several months of R&D (on my end) on how to simplify this deceptively easy setting.  I pulled in the talents of a contractor and an engineer for additional help.  This is what we came up with (I’m going to take most of the credit, though! Haha).

Most traditional methods for making this setting, and the way that I was taught to create square bezels, involve scoring straight lines into the metal (either with a saw or a cut-off disc), filing grooves into the score marks, using square files (held on their edge), and then bending.

I made about thirty bezels using these various techniques and found that 50% or more of the time, the bezels were crooked.  Another issue I encountered was if the inner bezel were even a few hundredths of a millimeter off, it would not fit into the outer bezel.

By making the inner bezel first and then forming the outer bezel’s “L’s” around it, I found that the outer bezel always fits.  Also, cutting the bend areas with a saw and then scoring with files was difficult to perform perfectly, so I eventually gave up.  Perhaps if there was a tool that could groove and bevel the bends perfectly, then the concept works.  We, humans, are not as precise as a machine, so to eliminate the need to strive for perfection (and fail), I’ve found a method that, while still not perfect, is a whole heck of a lot better. (IMHO!)

How to cut a bevel on the inner bezel, using stops and so much more!

How to make a small burnisher – among other useful skills!

Outside links to applicable sites

Bright-Cut Inside Bezel Setting (video) by Gerry Lewey @ Ganoksin