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English terms for setting types


I’m trying to find the English terms for two types of setting. It
would seem they are quite uncommon (only a couple of ghits).

I have a definition in French which I’ll include here then

Dans le serti dresse ou descendu, les pierres sont tenues par
des griffes taillees l’echoppe. Les bords, recoupes pour liberer
visuellement la pierre, sont dresses vers le haut ou descendus
vers la base.

“In a serti dresse or (serti) descendu, the stones are secured by
prongs that are cut with a chisel. The edges are cut again to
visually free up the stone (to make more of the stone visible?) then
pulled upwards or downwards.”

It’s not a really clear definition, at least not to me! If anyone
recognises this type of setting or can point me in the right
direction I’ll be very grateful as I’ve been searching for a while

Many thanks
Sandra P
Paris, France


Would this be called “Cut-Down” type of setting? If it is, well I
have a little surprise for you, I’ve written a whole 6 page
article-essay w/pictures on this style of setting… Let me know if
it is the one you are looking for…


Hi, Sandra. First of all, I don’t speak French, though I can
decipher it in print, and I didn’t actually know the answer offhand,
but Google strikes again. This site:

has three examples about halfway down the page. Here’s the text to
look for:

  1. Paire de boucles d’oreilles, brillants, serti dresse. 2. Broche
    de corsage, deux epis noues d’un ruban Louis XV, brillants. 3.
    Rivive serti dresse, composee dequarante-deux chatons brillants.

The other is the entry above it - the formatting was funny when
pasting both here. It’s a pretty well known style, whatever it’s
called. It’s essentially a very heavy tube where the top is lowered
at an angle, leaving prongs behind in the cutting - very commonly
used on tennis bracelets. Not exactly what we call an illusion head,
but not far away, either. Here’s another picture - the earring studs
and the necklace:

That is serte dresse - I suspect that serte descendu is something
like a tube setting that has beadwork holding the stones instead of
a bezel set, also not an uncommon setting style, often used in
tennis bracelets.

“In crimped settings, the stones are held by claws (taillees) one
draws the graver up or down,to release the stone visually. The edges,
are drawn up/ upwards and fragments are pulled with the graver, down
towards the base”.

At least thats what i gather from the french which is archaic to
what we speak in New Orleans.

I think they are saying literally that:

in a prong setting the (tailees) are thinned with the graver by
drawing it down, thus removing metal, from top to base. then the
quote is referring to exposing more of the stone by removing metal,
as you would cut or trim bezel strip that comes up too high on the
edges of the stone with a sharp graver…

Crimped is probably the literal translation of the contextual meaning
of the word.and in that sounds like bezel setting and
trimming it down if necessary…but again that 's the literal.and
doesn’t really match the definition snippet given.

I don’t think that’'s what they instruction is saying, but, If i had
to guess:

I think it is referring to a star or modified star setting-
basically one takes a sheet for instance, and soldersa piece of metal
to either side of the stone to create a base with raised sides,of
sorts.Then scribing the stone’s shape on to the base to pierce out
later if desired. With a very sharp, highly polished round graver,
draw it down towards the stone to raise a thin strip of metal ( a
finger or tail) to act as a prong (le taillees. Continue around the
stone on the sheet above the base until you have raised enough
fingers/thin strips to hold the stone in securely therefore, visually
exposing as much of the stone as is possible, or: Star Setting it…
there you have my guess…R.E.Rourke


I want to thank you all for your answers so far, you’ve given me a
lot of valuable to work on. I will keep you posted on my

Many thanks again (I hope this finds its way into the right thread
in the forum, I’m still finding my way around!).

Sandra P
Paris, France

Hi everyone

I’m afraid I’m not much closer to solving this mystery. I now have a
more complete description in French although it isn’t that clear to
me. Here it is with my approximate translation. I hope this may
spark some ideas! Many thanks for your help and interest so far, I
appreciate it!

Sandra P

Serti dresse ou descendu 

Les griffes sont sculptees l'echoppe sur le champ de la pice.
Les bords, pris au pied par une recoupe degageant la pierre,
peuvent tre dresses vers le sommet ou descendu vers la base.
Isolant les pierres, ce serti les met en valeur. 

The prongs are sculpted using a graver on the side of the piece
(?). The edges, "pris au pied" (??) by a cut (recoupe) that
releases / reveals (degageant) the stone, can be raised towards
the top or pushed towards the base. By isolating it, this
setting shows the stone to full advantage.

again I translate it as the sculptees, where it was ’ tailees ’ in
the last fragment, are drawn either up or down, by hand with the
graver, and drawn about the stone to reveal as much as can be held in
place by the claws or fragments, of metal…

Still sounds like a classic example of a star setting to me…cut down
settings ususally start with a tube or cone and are modified by
piercing, carving, gravers, etc…I don’t think that is the intended
context of the passages you are posting…

SeeTim McCreight’s “Complete Metalsmith” for a drawing that will I
beleive illuminate the concept of the star seting…(some call it
stich setting,) and use it to hold stones in place from behind more
often than as claws in front of the piece- which is what i think
these fragments you are presenting are referring to…the essence is
small bits of metal are raised with a graver and then pressed over
the stone to hold it securely in place. the metal that is raised can
look like tails or fingers…

without the title and entire excerpt it is harder to guess at
fragments of an instructional text…

A great, fairly inexpensive tool, if you have many books in other
languages that you are having the same problems with regarding
context, or comprehension, can be had at computer stores or online
at electronics gadget stores-- is a pen that one simply passes over
the words and it translates ( though literally) them onto your
monitor into a number of languages based on the amount you want to
spend or choices made when installing the accompanying software…

The prongs are sculpted using a graver on the side of the piece
(?). The edges, "pris au pied" (??) by a cut (recoupe) that
releases / reveals (degageant) the stone, can be raised towards the
top or pushed towards the base. By isolating it, this setting shows
the stone to full advantage. 

I haven’t really been following this thread, and I don’t speak
French, but it sounds like bead setting with a bright cut edge to
enhance the stone.

Christopher Arnett

Hi Sandra,

You were not very far out with your translation.

Low Stone Setting (and serti dresse may also means they’re done in
the pave style or in a more elaborated style)

The prongs are made by using a graver over the area of the piece. The
edges, hold by a cut (or a carving) that releases the stone, may be
built towards the top or lowered towards the base. By isolating the
stones, this stone setting shows the stone to full advantage.

Hope it was helpful,

Sandra This idea is looking so much like Art Deco style called = “Cut
Down”. If you want a full written description of this, write back to
me offlist. This article/essay also has pictures supplied…gerry!

Hi Sandra,

The prongs are sculpted using a graver on the side of the piece
(?). The edges, "pris au pied" (??) by a cut (recoupe) that
releases / reveals (degageant) the stone 

This is just a thought, but might be a simple solution to the terms
you are trying to understand. The age of the text might be a clue.
The trade school I attended taught a more old-fashioned approach to
stone setting. After the stone was seated, and the prongs were pushed
over, the tips of the prongs were trimmed so that they came to a
point. This was accomplished by filing a beveled edge to each side of
the top of the prong, from back to front, so the tip of the prong
looked like a “v”. This trimming could also have been done with a
highly polished graver, which would have required no further
polishing. If done correctly, the front tip of the prong is lower
than the back, and the bulk of the prong has been trimmed so that
more of the stone is visible. If you take a look at fine antique
jewelry, you will often see this treatment on the prongs. It’s out of
practice today,since it’s quicker and easier to use a cup burr to
round the prongs off. The advantage of trimming is that it’s harder
to push the prong back off of the stone since there isn’t a high
bead to push against, and when done correctly,the prong adds to the
sparkle of the facets in an unobtrusive manner.

Hope this helps,
Melissa Veres, engraver

Ok, Sandra - I already posted, with pictures, what serte dresse is,
but maybe you missed it. Say you have a 4mm stone to set. You get a
gold “pipe” - not tubing - that is about 6, 7, 8mm wide, with 1-2mm
walls and a 3.5mm or so hole - or drill a solid rod. You mark off 4
or 6 or 8 divisions for the prongs, and then cut away the metal
between those marks, usually at an angle of 30 or 45 deg. - and it
can also be decorated with scalloping and the like. That is the
"lowered background". The resulting prongs are much higher than
beadwork, they are actual prongs, and often they are left the full
width (2mm, from the wall thickness), so they look like slivers
instead of beads. Then cut off your new setting to length. It is not
an uncommon setting style, it’s just trying to translate it that’s
the tough part. The nearest correlation in English is an illusion
head, except that a fine serte dresse setting is quite elegant, and
your typical illusion head is not the same. A buttercup is also a
distant relative. It’s a low setting, often with windows, and it’s
commonly used in tennis bracelets and necklaces - not a mystery at
all, there’s just not exactly an English word for it, that I know of.

Nicely put John. I also followed your suggestion to Sandra and
’googled’. There is a French school ‘BOJ’ available on the internet
with a lot of info, in French and English, which explains french


Hi Gerald

I’d be very interested in reading your essay. I don’t know how to
write to you offline so I’m posting a message here, hope that’s OK.

Kind regards
Sandra P

Hi everyone and thanks again for your help.

Some people have been asking for more context but there is none:
just the definition (to me, an unclear definition) which I posted
here, no more, no less!

I had seen the photos of the serti dresse online… what I really
need to know is the name of these two settings in English, and there
are so many different suggestions here. I’m trying to get additional
info or photos that may be helpful.

Thanks for bearing with me and for your input.
Sandra P

Hi Kevin

There is a French school 'BOJ' available on the internet with a lot
of info, in French and English, which explains french terminology. 

I would be very interested in seeing that website - I’ve tried
googling but without any luck. Could you give me the web address?