Fishtail setting

This month Robert R. Wooding Workshops is offering one day workshops
for fishtail setting. This is the beginning of a “lost art” series
offered to Orchidians. Those interested will learn how to make, and
set, a 5 stone fishtail setting from a solid band with common bench tools.

What’s a fishtail setting?
Thanks -


Ivy, The most notable feature of a fishtail setting is the unique
prong system. When viewed from the sides of the setting the prongs
resemble fishtails. Each prong begins from a wide base that becomes
narrow as it extends up. Then, as it approaches the girdle of the
diamond it tapers wider again, and splits into two sections similar to a fishtail…
Robert Wooding

A fishtail setting is a real anachronism. I used to make them 20
years ago, and they were a relic of setting history then. To greatly
simplify, it involves drilling a series of tapered holes along a bar
of metal, then drilling in from both sides through each hole
perpendicularly, a little below the top. Now grind a notch along
the top going through each consecutive hole, and finally, sawing
between each hole. At that point, you have what amounts to
individual heads in a continuous row that you can cut seats in to set
your stones. You’ve no doubt seen such setting work if you’ve been
around the trade for a while, and it’s not really that hard to do. I
rather like the look, but I wonder if it will ever be rejuvinated.
I’d certainly rather do fishtail than pave in 14K nickel white.

David L. Huffman

For the benefit of anyone that is still wondering what a fishtail
setting is, I have documented wordlessly the production of a 6 stone
band. The page loads slowly, as there are a number of pics from start
to finish and I didn’t compress them at all. I built the ring this
morning and it took took me three hours. It can be found @

Bruce…I’m not looking for on the Fishtail setting;
however, I would like to commend you for taking the time and effort to
post the photos… I hope when I have technical questions I will be
lucky to receive such a response ( or be able to provide one) THANK


Talk about one picture being worth a thousand words…Bruce
Holmgrain’s wordless step-by-step pictorial on fishtail settings:
http// is a treasure. With added text
and list of tools and supplies it could become an online workshop . Great job! Dee

I just came back from a “snowed out” MJSA trade show in NYC and upon
reading this e-mail, the question arose, should I answer? and here is
the reply! IVY, sit down relax and here is the un-adulterated version
of just what is “fish-tail” setting. this has nothing to do with
"Geffilte fish-tail setting on a table" or any other type of “boney
fish remains”…:>) "fish-tail is the style of setting that
encompasses two very distinct disciplines of diamond setting. One
being “part-bezel” and the other “bead”, the reason for the name of
fishy-tail is the configuration of the gold designs in between the two
diamonds. there is a line of bright-cutting on one side only, and the
other is a rather interesting design that makes the space actually
look like a fishs “tail”. the metal on the other side is really
pushed over and partly bezel-set and bright-cut around the inside and
against the diamond in between these two diamonds a ‘^’ where two
beads are made. and just below this is a 0-’^’-0-’^’-0…do you get
the picture??? but the -^- is really on the end of the diamond, not
in between! and a file is now to shape to give it a more smooth
flowing design around the same diamond. the most unfortunate part of
this is that this most beautiful design is not made too often. but it
is generally used necessary on brooches, pins, or pendants…any
further questions?..gerry, the cyber-setter!

I just have to thankyou for the presentation of the fishtail setting.
Picture says a thousand words. It also got me to you website. Let
that encourage anyone who has a notion to present a visual demo. Thanks


Bruce - thanks for taking the time to create a Fishtail Tutorial!!
You were very generous to do it. Only problem is that it has not been
able to completely download, even with DSL.

Any way you can break the example up into a few separate pages?

thanks -

in Oakland, where it’s too doggone hot too early

Dear all.

Many years ago as I was looking for new diamond-setting clients, who
’supplied his own diamonds’. I knocked upon a door of a wholesaler &
introduced myself & bringing my silver setting samples. This fellow
appeared knowledgeable in his craft & ‘bragged’ he knew more than

He saw my line of rings & thought about asking him for the name of
this kind of setting I’m showing you now…He looked at it &
paused…“I didn’t know that this style had a name to it!” I
described the process involved & why it was so aptly named. I even
told him that I wrote an essay on it.

(you all now have that same essay.) “I figured why am I wasting my
time in driving 40 miles to seek out a client who has no idea what
he’s selling or marketing?
”…got another great story in another
email even better than this!..:>)

Gerry Lewy