Gem settings for hobbyiest

Hello everybody, I resell finished jewelry but I would like to try
making a gemstone bracelet for my girlfriend’s birthday. I’ve chosen
the calibrated stones from the Reo Grande catalog that I would like
to use. However I am having difficulty locating a company that
offers a good selection of assembled back-set bracelets from which
to choose. I found a few in the Rio Grand catalog but I am surprised
that there is such a small selection. I mentioned back-set bracelets
because I do not have jewelers tools such as a flex shaft etc. so
any bracelet using a prong setting would be beyond my ability right
now. (I would think)

I have an older Roseco catalog and see a few bracelets that might
work but they primarily sell “tennis” style bracelets with the
gemstones closely spaced together. I am looking for bracelets with
the gemstones spaced further apart. Does anybody know other
companies that would sell what I need?

This also got me thinking and I have a few questions:

  1. Why is it so easy for a hobbyist find loose gemstones but not
    have access to any better quality bracelets to set the gemstones in
    without needing any special tools? I would think there is a market
    for that.

  2. When a professional jeweler makes a bracelet using faceted
    does he/she usually cast the stones in place or do they
    purchase assembled bracelets and set stones in them? I was thinking
    that if the stones are usually cast in place then maybe that’s why
    so few companies offer assembled bracelets ready for setting.

  3. Or… maybe it is commonplace for a findings company to sell
    bracelet “parts” or components that are then set with stones,
    assembled and soldered together?

I hope this wasn’t too confusing. I just can’t figure out why there
isn’t a larger selection of un-set bracelets that are marketed to
the hobbyist market. Especially with so many loose gemstones being
sold on eBay, on TV etc.

Dan T.

Tripp’s has a good selection of bracelet components which, while
they are prong set, are easily set with simple pliers.

Janet Kofoed

I agree as a begining setter and an all around jewelry hound there
really is very little for the hobbiest as far as bracelets are
concerned. Have you tried Tripps? They have a few bracelets that
are prenotched. They are sold in links and are sold in silver and
14kt. They are a little pricey hence the reson I’ve decided to
learn gem setting. Hey but if it’s for the girlfriend no price is
too much Huh! Anyways I hope this helped. Good Luck Marjorie

#1 you need to have setting ability. Better quality is not
simplicity- it’s the fact that something , is handmade- so the
artist knows it is good because they care! they know their stones
are set. little tabs on the back of a bracelet can catch and break
off. How you can you undermind the craftsmanship of a real

#2 prongs are not hard to set. if you cant do that, just buy a the
thing assembled. try namano or southeastern, swest.

#3 you don’t cast stones unless they can with stand the heat I
wouldn’t risk it! just buy a bracelet you are getting yourself into
a big time mess.

Mind over Metal

Marjorie and “Mind over Metal” I really think that every jeweller
should and must know the at least the very basics of stone or even
claw setting. Its going to one day save your life in an emergency. It
will be one of the best jewellery-arts courses anyone can
learn…many of my mature students in my evening course are
jewellers or stone cutters, who want to know how to do the
rudimentary setting. its something that you will NEVER forget! the
"techniques" can be learned, but the “heartfelt desire” precedes all
of the “must have to learn”…once these have been accomplished,
“experience” takes over and the most hardest setting will become
second nature…:>) To me, ‘Setting’ is one of the hardest crafts in
this jewellery trade to learn…perfecting the skills comes later
and “initial frustration” is quite normal for all novices…I know
this for a fact, one of my female students actually got 'wet eyed’
and over a simple 4-claw setting, I had to be a consoling teacher to
her…;>( Gerry!