On this advice page we share with you our favourite settings for free-form cabochons, crystals and other irregular shaped stones. We begin with great beginner friendly settings up to more advanced stone setting techniques.
Cabochons are shaped and polished to have a domed top and flat bottom. Unlike calibrated cabochons which are made to a specific size and shape to fit standard sized settings, free-form cabochons are not cut to a specific shape or size. Free-form stones are usually cut to maximise the material, this is why they are often very beautiful stones to work with for unique jewellery designs.
This page aims to inspire you with our favourite projects using free-form stones and materials however these techniques can also be easily used with calibrated stones too. Sea glass is a popular free-form material which has become increasingly popular in the jewellery making world, that's why many of these tutorials feature sea glass.
Bell caps are brilliant components that can be used with smaller unusual shaped stones to create charms for earring drops, pendants or to add to bracelets.
Using bell caps requires minimal tools and supplies which makes them perfect for beginners who would like to give jewellery making with crystals or sea glass a go.
Bell caps come in different styles but many have flexible prongs or claws, which can be easily manipulated to fit your chosen stone. All you need to do is to ensure you have chosen an appropriate sized stone for the bell cap and use Devcon 5 Minute Epoxy Glue to set your stone in place.
Claw settings are a popular choice for setting irregular shaped stones and they are a really effective way to show off the beauty of the stone. Below, we share with you our beginner friendly, ready-made claw settings as well as a more advanced step by step tutorial on how to create your own from scratch!
They are suitable for irregularly shaped stones such as crystals and sea glass, where their flexible claws hold the stone in place.
Our Huggie collection includes a ring setting, earstud settings and a link setting so you can create a whole range of designs.
Watch our video below to see how easy these settings are to use!
This step by step tutorial is aimed at jewellers with stone setting experience and teaches you how to make a prong or claw setting for irregular shaped stone. This project can easily be replicated for calibrated cabochons too!
Wire wrapping a cabochon stone or crystal is another great way to transform a stone into beautiful jewellery! As you can see from the wire wrapped examples below, you can really play around with the design to suit your style.
We recommend checking out our wire work tutorials, with plenty of advice, guides and tutorials on using wire to create jewellery designs.
Bezel strip is used for creating bezel settings for cabochon stones and can be used on irregular shaped stones and crystals too. It's made from fine silver which is slightly softer than sterling silver which makes it lovely and flexible to easily rub over stones to secure them in place.
At Kernowcraft, we offer 2 depths, the 3mm bezel strip is most suitable for smaller stones and wider option is useful for stones with higher domes. If your bezel is too high, you can simply file it down to your desired height.
This tutorial walks you through how to make a backless bezel setting using bezel strip which works perfectly for a piece of sea glass.
This is a brilliant project to inspire you! We show you how to solder and set a freeform stone onto a pendant design, which also incorporates a wire wrapped bead into the design.
This tutorial and project shows you how you can go that step further by adding decorative elements to your design. This ring uses beaded wire to create a statement design.
Beaded wire is ideal for creating stacking rings, creating jewellery findings and for adding decorative elements to your designs. Choose from two diameters, which we will cut to your desired length.
This popular tutorial shows you how to make a ring setting for a piece of sea glass but can be used with another free-form stone of your choice.
Guest tutor Sarah from Seastone Jewellery uses metal sheet to create the bezel but for ease or your preferred preference, you can use bezel strip instead.
An apatite rough crystal bezel set onto a textured silver pendant by Hayley Agar Jewellery
Rough crystal bezel set cuff made by Roses & Whiskey - check out our interview with Jessica here!
Watch our video showing you easy ways to make sea glass jewellery, with lots of ideas and kits to inspire you.
For more advanced jewellery making with sea glass check out our drilling tutorial, claw and bezel setting tutorials.