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Duty of care


Hi Orchid members, tension settings have always bothered me.
First of all I ask myself, why?

As a designer, I know the answer is partly about doing something
radically new and different. But as a designer and a jeweller,
I’m also constrained by what will work best for my client. Let’s
face it, as jewellers we like to think that we have some measure
of integrity. We deal in mostly valuable goods - goods which cost
our clients a lot of money. Like David Arens, I’m not too happy
about committing a carater, for example, to such a setting. If I
want to show off as much of the diamond as possible, there’s a
lot safer ways of doing it without having to compromise the
aesthetic balance of my design with that great heavy shank just
for a gee-whiz reaction to its daring. I owe my clients a duty of

Maybe I’m just a designer-luddite, but it seems that there are
many ways of being different without compromising the safety of a
valuable gem. One of the best ways I’ve found to being different
is to accept the challenge of listening to what my client really
wants, then use my wit and skill to interpret their desires in a
way which is aesthetically pleasing and safely crafted. One can
always innovate and take risks with design, it’s taking risks
with clients’ valuable gems that worries me.

Perhaps I’m wrong. What do others think? Kind regards, Rex from


Couldn’t have said it better. I think the tension mountings are
a dumb idea!! But, evidently, somebody likes them - they’ve
been around in a fickle industry for a while when better (in my
opinion), more secure designs are available. Personally, I
would advise strongly any of my clients against such a setting.


Rex, Tend to view most tension settings with the same attitude as
I do most international fashion galas: Promotion rather than
Practical, and I would also suggest that the majority of my
fellow journeymen and women here would endorse your approach. Our
commercial success demands our integrety, however there are
times when a client’s demands need to be met. This is then our
chance to further educate. For some, their desire for a
particular concept is so strong that they cannot be swayed, and
you know that they will keep at it until someone takes on the
commission. Regards Phil Inglis

P.S. What is the latest on the TAFE issue?

   Maybe I'm just a designer-luddite, but it seems that there
are many ways of being different without compromising the
safety of a valuable gem.  One can always innovate and take
risks with design, it's taking risks with clients' valuable
gems that worries me. Perhaps I'm wrong. What do others think?

Rex, Methinx that Mr. Kretchmer protects his risks with a high
quality product and further insures that product with a high
price. What I am suggesting, is that he charges a little more and
can afford the ocasional loss with the added profits. If anyone
hasn’t noticed, it doesn’t seem that that he gives these rings
away too cheaply. An added note. I believe that in addition to
the patents on his age hardening platinum alloys, he has a
copyright on the phrase “Tension Setting”. Any other thoughts?


Bruce D. Holmgrain
Maryland’s first JA certified Master Bench Jeweler


Hi Bruce, thanks for your informative response. The concept of
legally binding and tying up everyday words in the English
language such as “tension” and “setting” seems a bit strange to
this Aussie. I guess that’s why there are so many rich lawyers
out there. But it seems that something’s awry with the way law is
applied in a society when it allows an individual to own and have
exclusive rights over individual words in a common language. I
can understand “Kodak” and “Kraft”. I have a little more
difficulty with “setting” and “tension”.

Hoping the weather is fine over there and that you are enjoying
the beauties of the s… sun and that there’s not too much
t… in your life. Kind regards, Rex


I’ve been lurking in the shadows reading posts on this subject
for a while now. I’m the bench jeweler for a prominent retail
shop here in mid-Michigan. We sell many of these tension
settings and have had no trouble with them. The design offers
many interesting looks and are entirely of quality workmanship
and materials. As for safety, I believe Kretchmer warrents his
for security and if a stone is lost, he replaces it! There are,
of course many other sources for this type of setting however.
As a jeweler, I have to say that I do have some reservations as
to the practicality of it but think about it. There are many,
many styles of mountings that are of questionable practicality.
We’re dealing with style here, not just substance and if your
customers are willing to pay the price for quality mountings and
living with the problem of sizing them, perhaps you should be the
one to sell it to them instead of the other jeweler down the

Steve Klepinger


I have to agree with you on this one Rex from Oz. I don’t
believe that tension settings are a safe way to set a stone. I
am not referring to the durability of the setting itself but the
manner in which it leaves so much of the stone open to abuse.
Any diamond whacked hard enough can shatter and it is
particularly vulnerable on the girdle. These settings leave such
a high percentage of the stone open to abuse that they need far
more care than other types of settings. I usually let my
customer know this and then give them the name of the local
gallery who sell this type of setting. Even if I had a formula
for the metal I felt comfortable with I still wouldn’t make them
for a customer. Actually my understanding is that it was a
German company that first introduced the setting style in a
commercial fashion, but that Steve Kretchmer managed to get the
patent in the states first. Perhaps it is that they both hold
patents but for slightly different formulas. I believe Niessing
was the name of the German company that first started doing


Hey Rex, Etienne was kind enough to point out to me that the term
"Tension Set" is a trademark and not a copytight in a private
post. I don’t now what the Germans termed it. Maybe we should use
resort to those expressions.

Bruce D. Holmgrain
Maryland’s first JA certified Master Bench Jeweler

     tension settings have always bothered me. First of all I
ask myself, why? 

I would agree with Rex on tension setting. Only reason I can
think of trotting out this old war horse to bow down to"Le
Modern" aka modern art, architecture, etc., etc… “Less is
better”. Even though these rings look alike one to another, and
are usually to heavy and massive to worn by normal women. I sure
all the boys at the bauhouse are happy that the drivel on design
they were spouting in the fifties is still echoing as good taste
in 99 without anyone knowing where it came from.

Tension set ring should be taken a picture of then unmounted and
the platinum scrapped for three new ring that will sell. The stone
is picture will not get loose as will the real thing. I’m sure
it nice to see customers more often, but not to FIAT (Fix It Again

jim @Jim_Zimmerman1


Hi Jim, Thanks for the response. I couldn’t agree more with you
about the Bauhaus. What a con that movement turned out to be.
Trouble is, once the academics put their imprimatur on it, it
became holy writ and any critic of it was treated like the little
boy in the story about the emperor’s new clothes. Thanks for
saying it, Jim Rex