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Comparing gemstone setting techniques


#1

Regarding stone setting I see two basic approaches: in europe the
casting is mounted on a stick, in asia it is mounted on a rotating
ball.

  1. Is there any study or research project which clarifies which
    technique is more efficient?

  2. Is there any history as to why the two approaches developed so
    differently?

  3. Is one more quality oriented than the other or maybe just faster

Dave


#2

The “rotating” ball or engravers ball allows you to view the setting
from all directions/angles quickly. I use the engravers ball myself
and have for several years. An additional benefit of the engravers
ball is it’s weight and rigidity eliminating vibration during hammer
sets. Wax sticks, hand grips, and even the bench-mate have too much
vibration to get that super tight prong with no gaps. Also, a "firm"
grip on the setting free of vibration reduces the risk of damaging
the stone.


#3

I’ve always wondered how you can use the steel posts to secure the
jewelry to the engraver’s ball and avoid marring the metal? I’ve seen
the nylon covered posts but so many are provided without a protective
sleeve that it would seem that using them bare is common.

Thanks.
Pam Chott


#4

Lock your piece into wax on a T-platform (can’t remember the
technical word for this item). I use the re-usable white “wax”. on a
metal (aluminum?) base which I then tighten onto the engravers ball.
One added thing, take some time to etch, scratch or otherwise create
some texture on the metal creating greater adherence for the wax.
Due to expansion and contraction during heating and cooling you may
not get a good bond otherwise. Both of these items are inexpensive
and readily available through Gesswein, Otto Frei, Stuller, etc…
Would look these items up in the catalog to quote the product names
appropriately but it is sunday. : )

One last thing, by gently heating the wax, which is more of a plastic
by composition, you can release your piece after setting. I’ve used
this method extensively for the past several years and it even works
well for heat sensitive stones such as opals. Slow gentle heating
with a small flame passing over the wax as one might airbrush working
all sides of the item but never directly over the stone.

Of course the whole point of this is to avoid marring the jewelry
item by avoiding the engraving posts… which we have.


#5

Pam,

What about dipping those steel posts into the vinyl goop used to
soften tool handles and improve the grip? I know wire workers dip
their plier tips into the stuff to avoid marring wire.

Hugs,
Terrie


#6

Sometimes the piece of jewelry is attached with shellac to a small
block of hard wood first. You can also use a nice piece of leather to
wrap around the piece, then carefully clamp it inside of the steel
posts.

Margie
www.deepdetail.com
www.mmwaxmodels.com


#7
I've always wondered how you can use the steel posts to secure the
jewelry to the engraver's ball and avoid 

my grandpa cut a wooden ring clamp a little shy of the middle, and
then cut the base to fit around the screw in the center of the vise.
He added some leather to the outer points of the ring clamp and
maybe added some sand paper to the inside of the vise to get a good
hold to the leather. He had made all sorts of his own tool to use
with the eng. ball. Surprisingly his tools worked exceptionally
well. These were the days before GRS, and other practical devices
were marketed. He also cut his own, eng. ball vise, pins and
sometimes he, cut a flat spot so he could glue leather to the pin.
He used multiple variation for, different uses. Sometimes making,
your tools for various small jobs will save you, a few pennies.

good luck
brad baumgartle


#8
I've always wondered how you can use the steel posts to secure the
jewelry to the engraver's ball and avoid marring the metal? 

Thank you Michael, Terrie, Margie and Brad tor your suggestions.

I guess I was thinking or hoping that there was a more direct (fewer
steps, less time) way to use the engraving posts provided.

I enjoy making/modifying tools for the job at hand. It saves me time
and money and often gives me exactly what I need now instead of
almost what I need later. I confess to doing considerable "research"
in tools wish books, er, I mean catalogs (including non-jewelry) for
interesting solutions to work I’m doing or may be contemplating. :slight_smile:

I knew about the use of shellac which prompted me to apply Jett Sett
to the shellac pad (“T” platform?) provided with my Benchmate setup
or with another homemade fixture that I could secure in my Benchmate
ball. This is pretty much what Michael suggested and works well
though it requires several steps. I’m not familiar with the waxes as
I don’t do casting but if this white wax is faster than the Jett
Sett, I might be interested.

I will try wrapping the piece with leather.

Dipping and coating one end of those short slippery posts sounds
kind of daunting to me but I might be able to work it out. Judging by
the thickness of the stuff I bought for another application, I’d need
to make 6-8 layers minimum. :slight_smile:

Thanks again to all of you for sharing.

Pam
Pam Chott
www.songofthephoenix.com


#9

ok, someone mentioned the white plastic. I think its called Jett
Set. Its unbelievable and works great. Get this stuff and try it out
before you try anything else. You won’t be sorry…

Brad B.


#10
ok, someone mentioned the white plastic. I think its called Jett
Set. Its unbelievable and works great. Get this stuff and try it
out before you try anything else. You won't be sorry... 

There’s also the product I was recommended to use - Thermo-loc (made
by GRS I think). It too is a reusable plastic which is moldable when
hot. Use it to line the jaws of your vice whilst holding your piece
at the same time. I use it to set every stone - a great product. It’s
available in the UK (from HS Walsh) as well as the States. I recently
bought a packet with a shed load of sticks - it’ll last me years
probably.

No affiliation just very satisfied customer.

Helen Hill
Preston, UK


#11
someone mentioned the white plastic. I think its called Jett Set.
Its unbelievable and works great. Get this stuff and try it out
before you try anything else. You won't be sorry... 

I have to add an amen to the comment on Jet Set. I thought it was a
bit pricey for what came in the set, but after a short time I quit
using setters shellac or wax for holding small or hollow work. I also
find it useful for temporary filler when I have to set stones in
light weight rings that would distort easily. Just rewarm piece in
hot H2O to remove.


#12

Hi Pam,

I’m a bit late on this request, and I do endorse both the Jett-Set
and leather as viable options for avoiding marks when using the pins
on the top of the engraving block. Another trick, which is easier
than Jett-Set and works better than leather (which can be a bit
bulky on small items), is to use strips of drafting tape to wrap
around the object. I take a length of tape, and cut it into several
narrow strips, then wrap around the perimeter. It will give a bit,
too, so you can get a smooth fit over uneven surfaces. You can add a
piece to the back as well to prevent scratches, Use only a couple of
layers, and be sure the work just snug, not overly tightened in the
block.

Have fun!
Melissa Veres, engraver


#13

I had to do a whole batch of engraved pendants and the steel pins in
the engraving machine made dents in the side of the plate. I
substituted polystyrene rod from a model shop, which turned out to
be plenty strong enough, not leave any marks, and very cheap if I
ever needed to replace it.

regards Tim Blades.