Get Hot for Cold Connections: Make a Cabochon Bezel Setting


Karla Rosenbusch
is the managing
editor of
Journal Jewelry Artist
and Step by Step Wire

I love my job. One of the best things about working in an office full of jewelry makers and jewelry artists is that you always have someone close by to lend a hand with your own jewelry-making endeavors. When I recently decided to try my hand at basic metalworking, I only had to walk one office over and ask Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist Senior Editor Helen Driggs for advice. Helen grabbed a pen and a piece of paper, and within a couple of minutes, she had drawn a very simple cold-connection cabochon bezel pendant project for me.

Helen knew that I had picked up some lovely little malachite cabochons on my trip to Tucson, so she used those as the basis for a cold-connection pendant. The cabochon bezel pendant she scribbled down for me took advantage of some metal that I had on hand; I just happened to have some relatively thin aluminum sheet that my landlord had used for a construction project, and it's best to learn and practice new jewelry-making techniques on less expensive metals. Helen also knew that I live in an apartment, so jewelry-making work space (or the lack thereof) is an important consideration for me. The bezel pendant project she came up with was perfect for my materials and my needs.

I also used only jewelry-making tools that I had on hand: metal snips, a hammer, an awl, a wooden bench block, pliers, a file, a sharp blade (I had a very sharp X-acto knife), and a Sharpie.

I was pretty pleased with my results! I wanted to share my beginning cold-connection project with Jewelry Making Daily readers, so here are the steps for Helen's easy tab cabochon-setting bezel pendant project:


1. Place your cabochon on the metal and draw your desired shape around it with the Sharpie. As I was keeping things as simple as possible, I went with an oval.

2. Cut out the shape. You might also want to texturize the metal sheet with a hammer, but again, I was going for simple with this first one. File the edges.


3. Trace around your cabochon on the metal. Then draw a second line just outside the perimeter of your first line. Draw three triangles as shown on the second line (inward toward and over the first line) to indicate three tabs that will create a cold-connection bezel setting to hold your cabochon.

4. Use a blade (or jeweler's saw for more accurate work) to cut out the two sides of your triangle down to your outside shape line. I punched small holes with the hammer and awl where the triangles met the outside line to get my cuts started.

You've now created three tabs!

5. Bend the tabs up with pliers (file the edges if you'd like), and place your cabochon in the middle of the three tabs. You might want to use just a dot of jewelry adhesive behind the center of the cab for a bit more hold. Press the tabs back down to hold the cabochon securely in place.

6. Punch a small hole with the hammer and awl above the cabochon and add a jump ring for a bail.

As Helen says, "Easy peasy!" And I didn't even lose any fingers.


I had so much fun with my first metalworking project that I feel empowered to move on to more cold-connection projects. Fortunately, I've discovered Karen Dougherty's new book, which contains tons of tips and techniques for cold connections. Reserve your copy of Metal Style, because it gives you a variety of projects that even a novice like me can try without the huge intimidation factor that metalwork (with a torch and other advanced metalsmithing tools) sometimes induces. I can't wait to try my hand at them!

Whether you're a novice or an expert at cold connections and other metalwork, make sure to share your work with everyone here on Jewelry Making Daily. Maybe you'll be someone's teacher—just like Helen was for me!

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