The most important aspect of gem-stone setting is in the “clean-up”. Some setters just spend an inordinate amount of time setting stones along with “Bright-Cutting” and rush to their polishing machine and guess what happens? All of those nice ‘sharp & exacting’ edges are actually nearly rounded. Once the rotating cloth wheel touches the rings or pendant, all of those fantastic edges are henceforth obliterated. The “clean-up” as I will describe, is equivalent to at least 30% of the setting time!
What tools will a ‘high caliber, Diamond Setter’ use in the finishing stages of a ‘clean-up’! Let’s just say that after the “Medium grade, Emery-Disk”, re-shaping will remove much of the marks on the claws, but then what? I use my favourite cleaning wheel & that is a Pumice Wheel with a “Flat Face” or a “Tapered Wheel” of #180 Grit. I will then use (if required) “Pink #1,000 grit” wheel flat or tapered. This PINK selection of pumice wheel is akin to a polishing wheel, but it has no abrasive qualities. What you are doing now is to get into those ‘hard to get into’ places that no rotating polishing wheel can have access to. This will leave your 90-degree angles in their original & pristine condition, pre-setting.
This ‘cleaning process’ can be very exacting, as I need to constantly examine every contour and crevice of the ‘gallery’. Sometimes I will even use my 10x loupe to identify if any omissions in the cleaning, have occurred!
I keep both the Flat & Tapered pumice wheels on two arbours. This is in case I have to go back and forth with these two ‘shaped’ wheels. I must maintain high quality of setting standards, at all times! Many times I use a Pink wheel to put a high polish around the ‘gallery’ as once the stone is in the ring, it’s then too late! After some time, those pumice wheels do get a little worn down, what happens to them afterwards? Easy answer, I’ll keep using them for the inside of the ring mount. I even have a re-shaping piece of Corundum used to sharpen the pumice wheel. Everything can be so costly in buying our tools!
As this cleaning process is the final stage of setting, we must take all the care we can muster! This exacting cleaning process is a definite 7 on the “Difficulty Scale of 10.”