I hate those heads. Not because I'm an overpaid stone setter either.
Whoever designs these things doesn't know diddly about stone setting
in my opinion. You're likely, if you give these to a novice bench
jeweler, to double or triple your rate of stone breakage. You can use
them, but you'll still need to do some refinement of the notches
before you set the stone, unless you really don't care how it looks
when you're done or how likely you are to break it. Personally, I'd
rather not have someone else cut my prongs for me, thank you very
Stone setting isn't just cutting notches and bending prongs. Every
stone is a little different. Differences in girdle thickness,
pavillion angles, as well as basic shape, toughness and hardness all
come into play. A generic notch will only work for the occaissional
generic stone. Which brings us to the next issue. Cutting prongs is
only part of the game. How you bring them in and down on the stone,
how much pressure, which direction, what order, how you finish them,
all make the difference between a proper setting and a "notch-em and
lean-em" that guys like me get to scoff at all the time. Will the
pre-cut notch eliminate the need for all those skills from your
$12000 a year bench jeweler? So, with a 1 carat princess diamond,
you have what, $4000-$6000 spent and 4 tiny, needle sharp
opportunities to turn that into a $2500 recut of less than ideal
proportions. You feelin' lucky?
I charge around $30 to set a 1 carat princess diamond, and if it
breaks, I replace it, no charge. And it will be set square, level,
and tight and the prongs will be finished right, no snags, no gaps.
Oh, and I always polish the heads completely before I solder them in,
again, square, level, etc.
This is a case of "you get what you pay for" if ever was.
David L. Huffman