Gemstones for pave


I’ve got a few questions concerning stones used in Pave work.

Are there other stones that Stone setters use? I would imagine harder
stones like sapphire and ruby? What should I not use? I would
eventually like to experiment with color.

Since it is critical that stones are matched (I’m currently
practicing with 2mm stones) does anyone know of sources to purchase
matched stones especially in this 2mm size?

Any other tidbits about the gemstones used in Pave work would be
much appreciated.


Chris- If you are just learning to pave, I’d recommend that you
practice with CZs. Once you can set them without breaking them,
you’re ready to go.

Colored CZs can be fun to work with too.

You can pave any stone, but the softer they are…

If you want to pave softer stones, always buy a few extra. Hope for
the best, but plan for the worst.

Have fun learning a great skill to have.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

I have pave set opals before. you have to take it slow and easy. not
too much pressure. A binocular microscope helps out a bunch.

Sure you can use other types of gemstones Chris. The main thing is
that they all be the same size, well within a tenth of a millimeter
and as close to each other in cut as possible, specifically girdle
thickness and overall depth. It’s possible to set stones that aren’t
quite as well matched, but it’s a real time bandit as each stone has
to be tracked from step to step and each seat must be cut for each
specific stone. I like to use “diamond cut"or"machine cut” whenever
possible as they tend to be more uniform in shape. Trying to pave’
using regular cut colored melee, you know, the kind that looks like
uneven, faceted half marbles will make your hair gray before your
time. Or bald, as you’ll be driven to tear it all out, three or four
strands at a time.

The only exception in the uniform size rule is if you are setting an
irregular shape that requires larger stones in some places and
smaller ones in others. i don’t recommend starting with a project
like that though.

One consideration is that the more fragile the stone type, the more
critical the sizing and shaping of the seat is. You can kind of rock
diamonds around with a brass rod and push them in tighter seats with
no trouble, but it’s mighty risky to try it with amethyst or garnet
for instance. Sapphires and rubies can handle a bit of pushing
around, but you have to be careful not to nick them with a graver
when bright cutting or touch them with a beading tool as you round up
the beads. You can not touch them at all with any steel tool or you
are sure to damage them.

Like so many things requiring precision, the more time you spend
laying out your project and cutting exactly sized seats, the better
the end product will look and the less likely you are to break
stones. Make sure you have several extras around, especially if they
are all matched when you get them. It can be very difficult to go
back later and get stones that match exactly. With pave’ using
colored stones, mismatched stones stand out like traffic lights in a
small town at night.

As to suppliers, that can be tough as many stone dealers don’t want
to mess around with anything smaller than about 3mm, especially well
matched stones 2mm and smaller. My first go-to supplier for that
kind of thing is Stuller, although Rio Grande has some varieties in
smaller matched parcels. Stachura may be another source, but I’m not
sure they carry parcels of smaller matched goods like that.

Hope this is helpful.
Dave Phelps

Check out the company TheChinaStone

they were at Tuscon the last two years. Excellent consistency in
cut, color and size. And they’re sold in those sticky clear little
boxes, all lined up, makesit easy to compare everything. They’re not
a bargain, but, you get what you pay for. In no way affiliated, just
like the product.


Pave’ setting is just a setting style, you can really set any size
stone of any material and shape using that style. Its just is a
matter of cutting the appropriate seat for the stones you are
setting. Typically it is smaller round full cut diamonds, but it
doesn’t have to be, there are no rules. Because you are setting so
many stones in a tight pattern it is nice to have them all match each
other as closely as possible. That is as much for efficiency in
setting as for appearance. But sometimes you just have to work with
what you are given and it can get pretty unconventional. When they
all match you can really cruise using the same burs, cutting to the
same depth and all your tables are the same height, giving you a
beautifully uniform look. It’s one of those things that just looks
right to the eye without having to consciously think about it. On
the other hand, pave setting with stones that graduate in size or
have a color progression can be beautiful too. Whatever people want.

An example of no rules is the bur you use if setting round melee.
You can go with ball burs, setting burs, bud burs, cone burs, ball
burs followed by hart burs, I’m probably forgetting some. You can
bright cut before you set or after or, as I do, both. There is no one
single way to do anything. I will say that I very seldom see
incredibly beautiful pave’ and bright cutting anymore. I remember
seeing some just breathtaking work by a German stone setter when I
was about 25 years old. I have never forgotten it and it remains my
holy grail in bead work and bright cutting still. It’s a good habit
to look at other peoples work and try to figure out how they did it.


Just wanted to thank everyone who took the time to share info on
this topic.

I’m using a scope & power assisted graver to do the work. I bought
some 2mm CZs and a sheet of Jeweler’s Brass from Rio to practice
with. Corners, corners, corners. Getting those bright-cut corners to
look good proves to be difficult and challenging. Chris Young