Gypsy/Flush Diamond Setting (ver.1.02)

Gypsy/Flush Diamond Setting, (ver.1.02)

Let me first state that this technique is rated at a 5.75 on my “Difficulty Scale of 10”. (Ten is being the most difficult.) The best part of this exercise, is looking at the completed ring, ready to give to your client.

This essay was posted & submitted a few months ago, but I’ve carefully updated many of the photographs, only this week! In the many weeks & months to come, I will be constantly upgrading some of my previously written essays, by using basically the same (with revisions) text but more interesting photographs.

During this technical essay on Diamond Setting, if there is a sentence, or even a paragraph worth remembering. I will “bold” a technique, that is so very important.

What setting tools do you need?
A=>156C “Carbide, Under-Cutting” bur at 90-degree angle._
B=>Wax-Dob. This is used for picking up the small 3.0mm stone.
C=>Riveting hammer with a clean ‘hitting’ face.
D=>My favourite Pumice wheel, “Flat-Face at #180 grit.
E=>The Onglette #2 graver, modified to cut only on the “Right-Side”.

What does the “Demo-ring” look like? On the right is the ring just out of the casting room, the ring of the left is the ring ready for stone setting.
The very first thing we do is to “counter-sink” the opening from underneath! This will make the opening uniform in shape & enables the dirt & skin particles from collecting. This might sound ‘gross’ but this is what really happens! I usually speed the round bur to gently smooth out the hole. If you wish to polish your inside and underneath section of the ring, this is the best time to do it!
On this demonstration, we will be using a 3.0 mm cz. If you would use a larger stone, there would be a danger of the ‘Culet’ from protruding from underneath this ring! When I’m hammering on a steel mandrel with no groove/slot, the chances of breaking the “Culet” are so very good.
Remember, the larger the stone, the more thick the ring has to be… your decision!

How deep do we make the “bearing cut”? I’ll show you a little diagram to help you, here is the text version.

You should look at your bur for the 3.0 mm stone, first of all the bur should not exceed 75% of the diameter of the stone.
Let’s suppose for this demonstration, the bur size is #022, or 2.20mm’s in diameter.

Do you see where the teeth of the bur end, that is just near the shaft of the bur?
Now imagine that the top of the teeth is the “Table” that is how low the stone will be
, interesting formula? The edge of the teeth on the bur is just where the bearing-cut will be. With this approach, you’ll never go wrong, no more using your dividers, no more making ‘depth-mistakes’.

Prior to starting the setting, I’ll just lightly buff the top of the ring setting area, why so? I don’t want any strong bench-lights reflecting in my eyes. I can use a simple paper-emery wheel to do just that!

Why did I ask you to select a smaller bur? The answer is to navigate around the opening without touching any other part of the hole.

The bearings must at the same depth at all areas around the hole, if your bearing is tilted and not being carved at the same depth, then will your stone sit crooked.

How deep into the wall do you cut? Another easy answer, drill just enough so the teeth of your bur don’t get too deep into the inner-circle of the ring.

What I do is to cut three (3) times around the hole, cut one third, turn your ring slightly and cut, stop again, turn the ring once more and cut for the third time. Each time use your 10x power loupe, examine for your depth IN and AROUND the hole.

The bearings must start and finish at the same level/depth as you turn the ring. After all, “the stone has no brains”, it just rests where you cut!

Here is the tricky part, if your stone doesn’t slide in, here is another great idea! Get a slightly larger bud-shaped bur and cut an opening at only at the rim of half of that hole.

Your result is that you might have an Oval-shape only at the top of the rim, then you can slide your stone in easily and with no effort.

You can now carefully & gently push your stone in with a Copper or Brass pusher to just level it, into the ring. If you hear a little 'snap, or a click sound, your stone has found it’s permanent ‘home’.

Don’t use a metal-pusher or you could break your stone. Please make sure that your ‘table’ of your stone is at the same depth or even lower than the metal. The answer is given in the next paragraph!!

Now that this stone is now ‘resting in its new home’. We may now start to hammer the metal toward the edges all around the stone.

You must hammer-hit the metal to move the metal towards to facets of the stone, never hitting it ‘down’. Start at the hours of the clock 12:00 to 6:00 then 9:00 to finally 3:00. Examine to see if all of the metal has joined to the facets, then continue all around ‘the clock’.
Just how do I know if and where the hammer ‘hits’ are making contact?

I use a black marker and liberally black paint the area where you think the hammer will touch. In fact go to the whole route and just paint all over.

Every time the hammer hits the metal, a little amount of the black pain is removed. Now you know EXACTLY where your hammer is making direct contact, isn’t that just a nice little exercise?

If you hit ‘down’ in a vertical position, the chances are just fantastic in breaking the ‘table’ of the stone. This is only if your stone is set higher that the surrounding metal!

We must now ‘Bright-Cut’ all around the inner-circle. You can (if you’re right-handed) cut towards the left. Turn the ring to the right, cut, and turn the ring to the right, cut until you’re finished.

bright-cut gypsy
Keep the Onglette graver always in a near vertical position, therefore letting the ‘barrel-shape’ angle of the graver give you the correct inside-angle.

After some experience, you will not see any of that ‘faceting’ on the inside of the newly Bright-Cut surface!

Use your “Flat-faced, Pumice #180 grit wheel”, now carefully remove all of the hammering marks that have just taken place. For this setting project, keep your pumice wheel edges nice and sharp.

Avoid removing too much surface metal as you now will have a fantastic looking ring when completed!!!

Try not to have a flat surface on the ring, but gently sculpt the surface with your Pumice Wheel into a slight curvature to this ring! This ring should not have any flat areas!

Keep setting & practicing until this project ‘feels easier’ with you, as it will in a very short time! It is much easier to set with a larger stone as you can get used to your new tools. Then slowly start with a progressively smaller stone. I find no problem in Gypsy-Flush Setting 2.00mm stones, but that’s after my usual 2,000 rings of experience.


Thank you for so much good information, Jerry.

Hi Debra
So pleased that you liked my essay on Gypsy Setting”. You could print it out and refer to the notes when needed!!
I’m today starting another essay. This one is on “3 & 1” oil, but my version is “3 essays in one”…>)

I’m Gerry, On my iPhone!

Hi Jerry! I read your discussion with much interest. I am a newbie and just set my very first stone in a copper practice ring blank yesterday. I followed a very simple set of steps and the stone went in level and is secure. I’ve never used a graver so didn’t try that, just finished the ring with a tiny burnisher.

My particular question is why not use a HSS bur? I thought the difference in bur types has to do with their longevity, yet your remark seems to indicate there is more to it. Can you please enlighten me? I’m just beginning to appreciate the complexity of the tools used in jewelry making! Thanks so much.

Hi Rita Ekers
There is little similarity between these two bur types, namely HSS and the
Carbide burs. Let me first text describe the difference.

  1. The HSS have teeth that are* further apart & very deep cutting bur*,
    therefore making the cutting action so very aggressive. 2) Then again, the
    teeth are not uniform in creating a thin ‘seat’ because of their
    manufacturing process resulting in the way that they will cut in a small
    area. If you want a well defined cut as in a mini-claw project or Gypsy
    setting stay with the Carbide bur
    , avoid this HSS bur 100%!! BTW, all burs

    MUST BE OF A 90
    DEGREE angle.
    The Carbide bur have their teeth so uniform and so easy to cut a ‘seat’ in
    the metal. “Longevity” is not the main reason in using them!
    If you find that the Carbide bur works for you in Channel-Setting,
    mini-clusters & Flush-Setting I’d stick with this Carbide burs.
    The HSS bur is the favourite bur for larger Engagement rings &
    , the tooth configuration is what really counts here!!!
    In the picture supplied, the top bur is the fine Carbide & the HSS is the
    lower bur. Can you see the difference in the “depth & width” of the teeth
    being machine cut?
    Has these answers been of any help to you?

*Gerry Lewy *

1 Like

Absolutely this is very helpful! It sheds light on why I’ve had some issues cutting seats. I thought the HSS and carbide burs were interchangeable. I will look much closer at my burs in the future! I really appreciate the time you took to answer so precisely.

Best regards,


1 Like

Rita (and everyone)
If you read my latest essay on Tube Setting, you will get more information. I always make sure what I think is regular, might be so darned important to the ‘basic-level’ readership on Ganoksin.
If you still need my “setting help”, just write to me!

I’m Gerry, On my iPhone!

Thank you! Great info here, I am going to try out some of these next time I have a gypsy set job.

Whats a good way to clean burrs?

Hi Chris
Any bur cleaning can be done collectively in a sonic-cleaner or a steam-machine! But why? Your burs will only get soiled again once you start using use them. Remember that rust will start upon drying them.
Get your burs quickly oil-lubricated ASAP!! Steel and water are constant enemies.

I’m Gerry, On my iPhone!

Mine get loaded up with silver.

Which then combined with bur lubricant overheats the bur when cutting, causing the bur to become dull quicker. This is mostly a problem with my setting burs more so than ball or flame burs.

The bur doesn’t get “dull”, the tooth edges are totally worn down! Why so? If the bur was continually lubricated, there would be no heat build up and ‘bur softening’… then your expensive burs will keep sharp for many setting of stones. The lubricant is there for a reason, use it!.:wink:

I’m Gerry, On my iPhone!

When you say “hammer”, exactly what do you mean? An actual hammer hitting on the edge? Or a punch that you hit with a hammer? Do you haver use a hammer handpiece?

Esta Jo

Hi Esta and others!
The word “hammer” implies that I was using a regular hammer & that is correct!
I don’t use a reciprocating hammer just for one major reason. That little anvil hitting on a small surface digs and leave many deep holes all around the setting. This problem is made worse by attempting to clean up the “hitting mess”!
I’m very honest in saying that I wouldn’t use a little anvil to move the metal!
I still have to “Bright-Cut” afterwards. How can I possibly do the cutting if the metal is squeezed all around the 2.50mm opening?
By hitting with a regular hammer face, there are no damaging effects from the series of hitting.
I still have plenty of metal to cut! The hammer contact is wider and now the metal is ‘gently pushed’ over, not ruined!
Other jewellers may not agree with me, but that’s my opinion after a few years at the bench.
I’m Gerry, On my iPhone!

Fine tooth burs load up with the silver ‘dust’ and the leftover lubricant that doesn’t liquefy binds the dust into the teeth. I notice at that point the performance is compromised, more due to the lack of available cutting edges.

It pays to stop and clean off the teeth with a wire brush before like you said it softens up and wears the edges down.

Can any of the technical type 'smiths here tell me any benefits of using liquid Bur Life over Mineral Oil please. I’ve used both and other than cost they seem about the same to use. I wrote Rio 2 weeks ago and never received a reply from them. Its not even the cost so much as the shipping, currency exchange and any duties that really has me questioning if Bur Life is worth the extra dollars


Hi Aurora
What I use today is what I used for the past 55 years. I don’t use any mineral oil, Bur-Life stuff or anything else!! I use “3 in 1” oil that you can buy literally anywhere. I use a Medium viscosity, nothing to splash your face or clothing. Bur life is a semi-solid.
The end result is that you need instant cooling & lubricating effects. Of course “3-1” is loads cheaper!..:wink:
BTW, when I was apprenticing we had neither one week & used just what available as 10W-30 motor-oil. “If it works, use it”!!

I’m Gerry, On my iPhone!

I use a bur paste from ikohe jewelry supply #26-3003. There also have a
liquid and stick as well. I put the paste in a shallow lid and just dip in
as needed while using. It doesn’t sling oil and covers the bur really well.
I think it is just what your preference is. When I was in college they used
wintergreen oil on burs and drill bits. I wondered why that oil instead of
other kinds also.

Susan Thornton
Owner, Thornton Metals

Yes, it is just what your preference is. What works for you and what is the
best practice for your jobs. I learned the paste material when I trained at
the New Approach School with Blaine Lewis and Drew Hadley, otherwise I
would have never thought to use it. There are many ways to do things and
loads of products out there. Go with what you have that works.

Susan Thornton
Owner, Thornton Metals