Flush setting with Rose Pink gold

Hi Folks, I have a customer who wants a 18K rose gold ring band set
with thirteen 1.5mm to 2mm diamonds. The stones, not particularly
"sparkly", are from an antique ring and are to be set flush/gypsy

I have never worked with rose gold and am wondering if there are any
special issues I need to consider? I’ve heard its a real bear.

The ring stock will either be flat or half-round. Also would there
be any issues/potential problems of flush setting diamonds without a
small pilot hole going all the way trough the stock? I had suggested
earlier to the customer that I set the six stones on each side of a
band made from fairly thick (3 to 3.5mm) flat stock but have since
decided not to push this. I thought further that the diamonds might
end up looking dirty and without a hole behind them have no way of
cleaning them. Any experience and suggestions would be greatly

bruce Raper

Hi Bruce Raper: on “Flush Setting in Rose Gold”

First of all DRILL through the gold, that is ultra very important
!!! Then counter-sink the back of the hole…the part that is
against the persons finger, why? its like prepolishing the hole and
making sure that no metal is to scratch against her
finger/skin…!!! and also sure that the hole is spherical or round,
okay on this?

next use a round bur that is about 75%-80% the size of the stone,
nothing smaller…:>( because the difference of the size is to cover
over the stone to be set…!.

Undercut the surface of the hole with a 156C or (undercutting bur)
that is almost the size of the hole NOT THE STONE! very carefully
make a seat around the edge of the metal not too close to the
surface, mind you. examine the size of the hole and the proximity to
the other stones. Get your stone now and see if the stone will fit in
the hole and also sit on the (156C) groove inside of the hole! if it
does, you are 1/2 done…:>) if it isn’t, well make sure that the new
bearing is equal distance from the surface at all times and is equal
depth INTO the refitted wall of the hole also.

Assuming that this is done and your are happy over the results,
place your stone into the hole and press over, NOT HAMMER, the outer
wall with a brass pusher and carefully press over the remainder 25%
of the metal over the girdle, do not file with any file tool this
will take off too much metal for the polishing process, I just use a
flat edged-pumice wheel (180 grit) for this clean-up…if you have
too, use a #4 triangular file of your choice. Gently clean-up and use
a #39 Flat graver and make the inside metal shiny for the customer to
see. The “bright-cut” hole around the stone, must be equal from the
table on all sections of the stone. Got this? Round, not oval, clean
cut, not a faceted inner surface.Remember the finished set diamond
should not be too close to the surface, but a tad lower, to allow for
polish with “wear&tear” for the client.

Hope that this little lesson is a help to you and all. Fond regards,eh!
“Gerry, the Cyber-Setter !”

    I have never worked with rose gold and am wondering if there
are any special issues I need to consider? I've heard its a real


What’s that mean? A real bear?

I haven’t had a lot of problems with pink gold with the possible
exception trying to alloy a straight 75/25 mix of gold and copper. As
Peter will tell you this particular alloy will tend to crack while
being rolled in a mill. This problem can be easily sidestepped by
displacng a little of the copper with another metal (silver or

    Also would there be any issues/potential problems of flush
setting diamonds without a small pilot hole going all the way
trough the stock? 

For sure, cleaning can be a real problem. Although I have done this
for some Jewish customers that insist that the band must not have any
holes through it.

Bruce D. Holmgrain
JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler

Hi Bruce, Make sure that you have done everything to the ring that
could possibly require heat before you set any of the stones. 18K
red gold has a curious chemistry that absolutely must be quenched
after heating or it becomes unbelievably hard, even undrillable.
Any stones you had set would require the ring to be air cooled after
heating, with no quench. You’d be between a rock and a hard place,
to be sure…

Linda in MA, where it seems fall has arrived

Hi Bruce Holmgrain, et al ! The whole idea and the REAL reason for
not having holes through the ring, as to a wedding band is…! I, as
a fellow Jew, is that no piece of jewellery is to be more IMPORTANT
or MORE expensive as to the other wedding bands while under the
wedding canopy… “chuppah”…“keep it plain and simple” … BUT
later, after the wedding, what they do to their wedding band is
their business. When my daughter got married last year, the Orthodox
Rabbi did inspect her wedding band to check if there were any stones
of any nature in or on it if there were, it couldn’t be used…thats
the LAW ! imagine the tumult if there were just one stone was in it?
Hope that this clears up the problem of “Jewish wedding bands”.

“Gerry, the Cyber-Setter !”

   I have never worked with rose gold and am wondering if there
are any special issues I need to consider? I've heard its a real

18K rose has an inherent risk, if it’s an alloy of only copper and
gold. At this ratio, it is almost a 1:1 ratio of copper to gold atoms
(gold is about three times denser than copper, so with three times
the weight of gold (18K) you have a copper atom for each gold. What
can happen is that while cooling, the gold and copper segregate out
into separate layers, each one atom thick. This is called an ordered
array structure, and differs from the normal random mix of copper and
gold in solution in each other. The problem is that the ordered
array structure is very brittle. So in working with this alloy, you
need to prevent the formation of the ordered array structure. Two
main methods are used. One, is that you use a rose alloy that isn’t
just copper and gold, but rather, substitutes some zinc, or
preferably, silver, for at least a bit of the copper. This lightens
the color, but need not be so much that it’s not still a nice rose
color (zinc would be used if you’re casting it, since it’s used as a

The other method, and a good idea with any rose gold in any case, is
simply to not let the metal cool so slowly as to allow the formation
of the ordered array. forming this structure (which is not stable, and
dissipates, at higher temperatures), simply means cooling the alloy
quickly enough after soldering or annealing, that it doesn’t have
time to form that ordered array structure.

In short, you always quench rose gold alloys. Now, sometimes rose
golds can tend to be “hot short”, meaning they’re a bit short on
strength when hot. The result is that when quenched, you can crack the
metal if you’re not careful. 46irst, quench the metal once the red
glow has just barely disappeared, a temperature of around 900F. You
need to quench it above about 750 to 800 degrees or so, to prevent
the ordered array, but you don’t want to quench it too hot, or it can
crack from the stress. Also, to further reduce the stress of
quenching, you can quench in alcohol, rather than water. It’s a
gentler quench, cooling the metal more slowly than a water quench,
but still fast enough to keep the metal soft and workable. In
quenching in alcohol, just be sure not to drop the jar, and immerse
the metal quickly so it’s under the surface while quenching. That
keeps it from igniting the alcohol. And, should you accidentally
ignite the alcohol, just calmly put the lid on the jar. Don’t panic
and drop the jar. Spilling burning alcohol all over your bench pan
can get exciting and dramatic very quickly.

Properly annealed and quenched, you’ll find rose golds quite nicely
workable. They’re harder than yellower alloys, but not unacceptably
so, and still easier than some of the white gold alloys.

Perhaps the biggest problems with rose golds are that finding
solders that match well in color can be difficult. The best color
matches tend to still not be the best working solders. I’ve yet to
find one I actually like. Many times, people just make sure the seams
are very well fitted and tight, and then use just a yellow gold
solder. With clean enough work, the color difference may not be too
noticeable. Of course, with a laser welder, this can be helped a
lot, though even then, if you’ve got an older laser without pulse
shaping or argon shielding, you might sometimes have problems with
welds cracking…

Hope that helps.
Peter Rowe

Hellooooo’ My experience has been that after time it will be very
difficult to clean an undrilled setting job and if per chance it ever
needed hotwork of any kind you could ruin the diamond. I like to
drill through and clean my hole lightly with a small bur slightly
larger then the hole as does our cyber setting friend. I then open
the hole slightly smaller then my stone , now… if the stone is
smaller then2-2.5mm I slowly open the hole to stone size bringing the
seat to size with a ball bur and seat the stone ( no-undercut) table
equal to metal hight I then seat the stone verrrry tight with a
silver pusher (I also seat my pave work this way the seated stone
should be tight enough not not to be removable simply )( trick here
is keeping stone strait " Patience") then with a very small burnisher
I fashioned from a small ball bur shaped to a point I place the
burnisher on the inside edge and begin to burnish around the edge
verrrry lightly at first ( making a clean path for the tool ) then I
slowly increase pressure till the stone is set leaving me with a
level flush look with bright edge (edge should be with very shallow
angle not to detract from inlay type appearence ) If I all goes well
the metal area around the stone is untouched and does not need
clean-up and is ready for finishing, this is optimal because you
will not have" sunken areas " or waviness where the flush setting has
been done, if I do need to push or lightly chase it is minimal. With
larger stones and color I will( as does Jerry ) undercut a bearing
I like the #446 for this and for stones with a narrow girdle I will
cut off the top with a seperating disc,and then follow the same
proceedure ( with color you must be careful not to touch the stone, I
somtimes will complete the process with a small hard wood pointed
tool).Majors require some chasing and slow seating is the key Any
hooo its a good setting look and as always the key to good setting
work for small or large stones is the seat. I love Orchid! Peace
Karl @ Molina

It is mu understanding that the newer high speed steel bur BC 70
also has made the gypsy setting easier. These are available through
the tools department at Stuller

 18K red gold has a curious chemistry that absolutely must be
quenched after heating or it becomes unbelievably hard, even
undrillable. Any stones you had set would require the ring to be
air cooled after heating, with no quench. 

While this is essentially correct, you shouldn’t quench jewelry that
has had diamonds set in it (for other stones, this is even more so,
and usually, even heating is often risky), the situation with rose
golds (and some white golds too), with their ability to either age
harden, or with rose golds, form a hard brittle ordered array
structure, can sometimes require some creative workarounds. If you
find yourself in a situation where you MUST heat a rose gold hot
enough that this is a risk, yet because stones are set, you cannot
quench in alcohol or water, than try this. Use a compressed air
line to quench the metal in a compressed air stream. You can direct
the air flow so that the metal is between the air flow and the stone,
minimizing too rapid cooling of the stone, and the air flow will cool
the stone much more in the same manner that a torch flame heats it in
the first place. While this isn’t as good as a proper quench for
preventing hardening, it’s a whole lot better than nothing, as the
metal can be chilled nicely within a couple seconds. And I’ve never
damaged a diamond this way.

Peter Rowe

Depending on the exact alloy and grain structure- 18k rose is best
avoided. When the gold must be manipulated much. Highly subject to
cracking. Beware. Check the hardness of the stock carefully.

Daniel Ballard