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Engagement Ring

Hi All Orchidians, I am seeking advice. First of all, I am really
excited to say that I am creating an engagement ring for the love of
my life. As you would imagine, this is serious stuff, and I can not
miss the opportunity to make it myself, since she’s more than worth
any amount of work I might have to do… however, I am a rank amateur
at setting stones and such, I’ve only done metal working, chains, and
wax originals for casting. And if I am going to be buying and
setting a pricey stone, I want to make sure I do this right!

If anyone has the time, I would like any tips on setting (and
designing a setting, for that matter…) around a 1 carat diamond,
and also the possibility of creating a tension setting, since they
are so snazzy. I understand there are some alloy difficulties. My
goal is to show as much of the stone as possible, and also make it
seem like there is nothing holding it in place. Also, I was planning
on carving the ring itself in wax, and then sending it to Daniel at
Racecar to have him make me a 18k original, then place the stone in
the ring. Is there anything you might think that I should know? and
what about sizing the wax, versus sizing the ring, and shrinkage and
all that?

Thanks, Drew (Who is on “Cloud 9 3/4” these days, and nothing could
destroy his mood) Andrew Horn Designer, Fiodh Furniture Company

Drew; Just a bit of experience. The first thing to do in this case
is to realize that you are going to need some practice here. (In the
ring making…not even talking about the marriage part! ) Plan on
making a first prototype and maybe a second or third. Buy a
synthetic mate to the diamond and play with it. Resign yourself to
the cost of a couple of castings. Make a couple of different
models. Let The Beloved try them on and get her feedback. This
will all be effort well spent. I promise. There is after all the
principle: The measure of craftsmanship is the number of times your
willing to do it over. ( That ought to bring out the flack! ) Tom

Hi Drew, In regard to the setting, you might choose to do a simple
bezel setting and open up the sides to give the illusion of a
tension set. As for the sizing, I have found that doing the correct
size in the wax is what works for me. Any shrinkage will be offset
by the finishing process and a gentle tap up to size in the metal if

(And congratulations of course!)
Marta in Sacto.

There is after all the principle: The measure of craftsmanship is
the number of times your willing to do it over. 


I’m sure that many will say that it’s important to do it right the
first time, but it’s really most important to do it RIGHT. Even if
that means doing it over, and over, and over… When you’ve followed
an idea to a dead end, if the piece you’ve been working on has
gotten a little “off,” if you made a mistake that will affect the
quality of the finished piece, it is no shame to STOP. Melt it down,
and start again.

We learn more from our mistakes, than we do from our successes.

Doug Zaruba

If you’ve never set stones, or just a few, I would not do it
yourself. Finding out that you cut the seat wrong, and chip the
diamond while bending over the prongs is not the way to learn. Find
a jeweler you trust, and perhaps he will explain as she/he sets the
stone. Good luck.

Hi Drew- fantastic that you are going to create this piece yourself.
I did it and it is indeed a special feeling to get the chance to do
this. I agree with tips outlined by Marta and will add my piece in
good faith.

Don’t let alloy problems curb your design initiatives. These
problems are always taking different shapes and forms and need to be
addressed when they present themselves. A tension setting is nice
idea but can pose problems and risk to your expensive stone. You can
create a “false” tension setting where there is a base or small
pedestal where the point of the diamond is seated and the stone in
set in a ‘half’-bezel setting.

Another option is simply 4 claws or prongs. Classic- yet dazzling
setting when combined with a contemporary design of shank. Just try
keep it simple. Simple is your friend. Overdone may look tacky (this
is opinion). Depending on the colour of your diamond, stick to white
gold in metal choice. A good tip that is often overlooked is to
polish the inside of the setting as best as is possible. This adds to
the ‘life’ of the stone and may blind your fiance :slight_smile: Another tip
which may sound stupid to a lot of readers- check the stone. Make
VERY sure that there is absolutely no play. Tap it lightl with you
finger next to your ear and listen to make sure there is no ‘tick
tick tick’. Also, run tweezers over the table of the stone and
observe under magnification. NO MOVEMENT. Whatever setting you
choose, make sure that the claws/bezel are abslotuely flush with the
stone. Then, with a sharp graver which is polished on the belly
(underside) for bright cutting, cut around the stone on the inside of
the bezel so as to rid your work of any unwanted burs, and to give in
a uniform and bright finish.

Lastly- what I will stress is that Tom mentioned the biggest key in
this undertaking of yours; Practice. It’s going to to take practice-
and generally takes more than a few attempts to get it right, let
alone perfect. Go with his idea on getting a synthetic mate (or
three!). If you have absolutely never done this before- try and get
someone to show you on another peice etc. .

Good Luck with everything.