Stone setting is a way of securely attaching stones into a piece of jewellery. You can use various techniques to incorporate stones into your designs including: Claw, Gypsy, Bezel, Illusion, Pave, Channel, Tension and Grain.
Which of the stone setting techniques are suitable for your project? Well, the stone’s shape and hardness will dictate this. So it’s worth getting to know which types of stone settings will work with the gemstones you would like to work with. Here are some of the most commonly used stone settings to help you get to grips with what they are and how to use them in your projects.
Types of stone settings
- Claw Settings: A small amount of metal is used to make up claw settings, allowing light to pass through the stone as well as easy access to the stone for cleaning. Claw settings are made up of prongs, which are used when bent over the stone to secure in place.
- Gypsy Settings: Used by the surrounding metal to set a stone, gypsy settings make the stone you are setting appear flush within the piece of jewellery.
- Bezel Settings: Bezel stone settings, or rub-over settings, require a tight wall of metal around the stone. It sits on a ledge of wire or a sheet of metal at the base, creating a wall and pushing it against the stone.
- Illusion Settings: This type of stone setting is used to visually exaggerate the appearance of a small stone. This is done by a stone being set into a collet with a large wall.
- Pave Settings: The word pave originates from the French meaning paved. Pave setting uses small stones to cover the surface of a piece of jewellery. Tiny beads of metal are pulled up from the surface and are pushed up over the stone.
- Channel Settings: This type of stone setting is usually used in lines. Stones that are channel set are supported on two sides and underneath. The two sides are pushed down to tighten the stone in place on your jewellery stone setting.
- Tension Settings: Using the metal surrounding it to secure the stone in place, this stone setting requires tension through the metal to support the stone. A tension setting allows light to pass through it and show its full beauty.
- Grain Settings: Grain settings consist of small stones in lines. Tiny beads or grains of metal are pulled up from the surface and are pushed up over the stone.
Stone Setting Jewellery: Bezel Setting on a Pendant
Knowing how to set a stone in a ring, necklace or any other jewellery piece couldn’t be easier with our step-by-step guide.
Here are the tools needed for stone setting:
- Texturing Hammer, Wide Stripe
- Half Round File and Handle
- Flat Stake
- Emery Paper
- Emery Stick Flat, Medium
- 6″Steel Ruler
- 3″Adjustable Saw Frame
- Saw Blades 3/0
- Soldering Block
- Hand Torch
- Pickling Powder
- Borax Cone and Borax Dish
- Flux Brush
- Shears and Stainless Steel Tweezers
- Square ended pusher
- 1mm Silver Sheet (15mm x 40mm and 12mm x 50mm)
- 20mm of 3mm x 3mm Fine Silver Strip
- Solder Strip
- 3mm Moonstone Round Cabochon
- Silver Snake chain
Take the 12mm x 50mm silver, the texturing hammer and the flat stake. Place your silver sheet onto the flat stake, holding one edge of the silver sheet. Use the texturing hammer to strike the sheet numerous times in one direction, turning the silver sheet and repeat on the opposite end.
Using a half round file, use the flat edge and file the edges straight. Using Emery sticks, buff the edges to become smoother.
Using dividers, measure 42mm on a steel ruler and score a line width ways in the textured sheet. Saw pierce along this line. The textured sheet will have become hard as it has been worked on, so it is ready to anneal, quench and pickle. To create a curve, push the non-textured edge against a large curve of your choice. If you have a bangle mandrel this would work perfectly.
Place the curved edge against a 15mm x 40mm piece, approximately the same length. Take a sheet of coarse emery paper and rub the edges down until it’s flat, and sit flush onto the larger piece of sheet.
Using a borax cone and dish, make up flux and with a flux brush dab flux on the sheet and the just buffed edge. Then, place the curved piece of sheet onto one side of silver sheet. With shears, snip two small pallions of hard solder and place on the fluxed join.
Using a hand torch, gently apply heat, gradually increasing until it is hot enough and the solder flows. Then quench & pickle. Repeat on the opposite end, again using hard solder.
Tip: When using more than three solder joins with your jewellery stone setting tools, use hard solder as many times as possible!
To make the bezel, wrap the strip around the stone, letting the strip overlap. Once you have the correct shape, remove the stone. Where the strip overlaps, saw pierce or cut with end cutters and make sure the two ends are flush with no gaps.
Flux the join of the bezel – place a small pallion of hard solder on the join with tweezers. Apply heat gently and evenly to the bezel until the solder flows, then remove flame. Quench and pickle.
Place the bezel onto a triblet, or use round nose pliers, and tap with a mallet to get true circle. Check the stone fits at this stage – if the bezel is too large, saw pierce down the solder line. If the stone still does not fit, file the ends. The bezel strip will be higher than the stone, to reduce the height rub the base against coarse emery paper. The height of the bezel needs to be approximately level with the beginning of the curve of the stone.
Place the bezel on the right hand corner of your piece. Flux and add medium solder pallions around the outside of bezel. Solder on wire mesh and soldering block. Apply heat evenly, starting gently and gradually increase until the solder flows. Quench and pickle.
Tip: A wire mesh is advisable when stone setting so the heat can be spread evenly through the piece. This will also prevent the bezel overheating and maybe melting! Using the remaining textured sheet, curve over a triblet or using round nosed pliers to make the loop for your necklace.
Rub edges on emery paper until flush. Flux loop and centre of piece. Place together. Using shears, cut pallions of easy silver solder and place two pallions on either side. Heat gently and gradually increase until solder flows. Quench and pickle. Clean up your piece going through grades of emery paper leaving a matte finish.
Tip: Use oxidizing solution on the textured strip of the pendant and polish raised areas to enhance the appearance of the texture on your stone setting jewellery piece.
For jewellery stone setting, try to gain as much grip as possible. Using a flat bezel pusher, push one part of the bezel wall against the stone. Push in at points ‘north’, ‘south’, ‘east’ and ‘west’ to avoid a build-up of metal. Push in between these points and continue to do this around the stone.
Bringing the pusher up to a higher angle, and apply pressure against the middle and top edges of the bezel. Use a burnisher rib for the top edge to get rid of sharp edges and brighten the silver.
Now, hook the silver snake chain through the loop. You have finished your project and successfully followed our steps to stone setting jewellery.
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Looking to start your stone setting jewellery, or interesting in learning how to make a bezel setting? Pick up all of your jewellery stone setting tools from Cooksongold for any jewellery making project.