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Gypsy or flush mount setting issues


I’m having trouble getting the metal to sufficiently form over the
stone whenever I attempt to flush mount.

I’m using standard burnishers and small burnishers on sterling
silver. The stones I use are sapphire, citrine, onyx, garnet and

Following this flush mount article

by Charles Lewton-Brain, I’ve been using various combinations of
ball burs, bud burs and stone setting burs. If I’m trying to set a
3.0mm stone I use a 2.9mm ball bur or stone setting bur and if it’s a
2.0mm stone, I use a 1.9mm bur and so on.

The process of drilling the initial hole through the sterling,
opening it with a bud bur and finishing the setting with either a
ball bur or stone setting bur works just fine until I try to burnish
the metal over the stone. This is the part that doesn’t work for me.

Could anyone lend some insight into what I may be doing wrong?

Thanks as always!
Saint Louis, MO

Hello Chris,

the trick is that the gemstone has to fit exactly in the whole, no
room for space left. In matter of fact it should snap into it very

Charles explaines very well that you have to push the metal DOWN…By
pusching it down, you compress that little bit of metal over the
stone holding it in place. However, all depends on the accuracy of the
size of the stone being perfect round shaped (or whatever the shape
is) and the setting you’ve cut to seat the stone into.

The procedure is very simple but it has to be performed very exact.
If anybody could do it, stonesetters would loose their job.

Have fun and enjoy

1 Like

Chris, when you pack a stone after doing your ball bur seat, you are
essentially setting this up for “bead setting” not flush setting.
However, if you need to use this technique check the girdle of the
stones. If the girdle has an arc or rounded shape use a setting bur
and pack, if it has a flat or sharp curve use your ball bur. This
will keep the stone from moving hopefully. When teaching this at GIA
the technique is to bur out the hole to 90-95% diameter then use a
hart bur smaller than the opening under the top surface edge all the
way around making sure you don’t cut double seats. Then you “snap” it
in with brass pushing rod, then burnish. In this case, with your
softer stones that won’t work because of chipping. My suggestion is
you inspect girdle, pack and then work the metal over from opposite
angles, then all the way around. This will “tack” it in place before
you go all the way around.

Good Luck!

Russ Hyder
The Jewelry CAD

Hello Chris, Be sure you don’t open the hole too much with the
budbur. That’s when it often goes wrong.

The hole cannot taper outwardsat the top. The stone absolutely must
be a tight it after the seat is cut for this method to work. You’ll
be fine.

Have fun
Tom Arnold

Try using a 45 degree hart bur or 90 degree bur to form a “lip” on
the inside of your seat. This may help with the girdle of the stone.
Also try a bit more depth when cutting the seat for the stone. Sounds
like the stone either may be rocking out of the seat or you can’t get
enough material over the stone. These techniques should held.


I have had problems, too, with instructions for flush setting. I got
Brad Simmon’s dvds, and they have a better method. I recommend
watching them over my description because I have not done a lot of
flush setting… after cutting the seat one size smaller than the
stone, use a hart bur 45 degrees to finish cutting. Use the one that
is the same size or smaller. Go in at an angle to undercut, so that a
lip or over hang is created, and then pivot to straighten the bur to
cut into the seat at 90 degrees. When removing the bur, be careful
not to take out the lip. Put the stone in setting, and start
burnishing by placing tool on the stone and going around at 45
degree angle pushing metal down on the stone. Simmon recommends
making a burnisher with flat end that rests on the stone; for softer
stones he uses stainless steal tine of a fork. Hope that helps… I
do recommend Simmon’s videos or a visual aid because it helps make
sense of it all and I had success stone setting after watching.
Also, I practice on scrap metal with cz’s before putting stones in
pieces usually when I am not as used to the process.

Melissa S.

Dear Chris,

This is one of my favorite setting styles, generally a flush mount
but not an actual gypsy ring in a good while. I recommend you have
sufficiently small burnishers to concentrate the pressure on a small
area as you work and as the burnisher is moved around on the inside
of the seat.

The one definite change I would make is to take a hart bur and cut a
slight undercut just where the girdle of the stone will be. Of course
this requires a faceted gem with a girdle in the first place. The
undercut should not be deep and should be open enough for the girdle
fit safely. Larger gems need a bit more care in contour of the
undercut if the girdle is thick or thin.

Cut the hole ever so slightly too small for the gem to drop in.
Then, take a bud bur or other tapered bur which is at least the size
of the stone diameter somewhere along the taper. Turn the bur slowly
(even by hand is ok) and try the gemstone, moving is gently to see
if it will drop in, perhaps at a slight angle or when perfectly
aligned over the hole. When the stone goes in, you will have a bit
of a hassle removing it with this low tolerance fit. Try to be sure
the seat is level as you want it. You can work the stone by moving
from behind to remove more easily.

Why the undercut? More work is put into the seat cutting than in the
burnishing. The upper rim of the undercut will burnish neatly down
on the gem fairly easily.

If you are having a terrible time with the metal on the outside, you
might try hammering a polished setting punch and save your wrists.
This does necessitate more clean-up and I reserve the hammer for
larger stones of a tough sort. For small gems, the slight undercut
and internal burnishing is all that is needed.

All the tools can be shaped from bur shanks or old beading tools,
etc. The diameter is just right.

Best success wished! Oh, if your do hammer, try flowing a bit of wax
on the stone to keep it from bouncing out until you get some metal

My wrists don’t allow me to do much of this sort of burnishing
anymore, not on gold. Silver and platinum are ok but only for limited
times. Take care of those hands in this sort of work. That is my 2


I have read a lot of very good advice here. The one tip I have is
that metal is not pushed “down” so much as pushed "down, and away"
from the stone, holding the burnisher so the pressure is parallel to
the crown angle. Forcing the metal away at this angle pushes it
against the stone as the metal “packs”. The stainless steel fork tine
burnisher mentioned earlier is great for this, especially when
working with stones softer than diamond. I use it on flush set
diamonds too, and then I trim the burnished metal very lightly with a
highly polished flat graver to create a smooth polished edge to the

Blaine Lewis has a very good instructional DVD: “Bezel and Flush
Setting”, that explains this technique well, and has some great tips
on tools, including making the fork tine burnisher. Even after
setting for 30+ years I learned a lot from that video and also his
"Art of Setting Princess Cuts, with Fancy Cut Applications". I have
loaned both DVD’s to a couple local young jewelers, because Mr Lewis
does such a good job of explaining these techniques.

Purchasing the Meiji microscope a few years back, as my eyes got
worse, also has made a huge difference, and my setting work such as
the flush settings are now much superior to any that I set using my
"younger eyes".

I was asked one day “Gerry, can you Gypsy-set a Princess stone in a
plain flat wedding band?” I answered “Yes!” Although this was a.15
diamond It came out with just little polishing afterwards…now how
long did it take?..about 20 minutes. It was easy!!!

I did use all of rules in the book, but some local setters are not
inclined to venture into this realm of setting. They just say "No"
and let the mfgr. shy away from making rings with this setting,

Gerry !

Hi Chris,

There are a least a couple of different ways to do this. Some will
cut the seat to the exact diameter of the stone and then burnish it
in place. Others will cut the seat a hair smaller than the stone and
then use a 70 degree hart bur to cut a bearing at the desired depth
that ultimately matches the diameter of the stone.

If you’re cutting the seat to match the diameter of the stone and
then pushing the stone into the seat (similar to Charles description)
then you must (IMHO) use a flat, high polished burnisher (like the
back of a flat graver pulled backwards so it doesn’t remove metal),
held at an angle perpendicular to the crown of the stone, and press
against the top inside of the seat, going round and round the stone,
to secure and then tighten the stone. What in effect happens is that
as you push the top edge of the hole away from the stone you are both
pushing metal down and over the stone slightly and creating a high
polished, beveled circle around the stone. Note that many use a high
polished carbide steel point for this rather than the back of a

If you’re using the other method, where you cut the seat smaller
than the stone, you need to cut the seat so the stone almost fits,
but not quite. Then cut a bearing inside the hole with a 70 degree
hart bur, deep enough so the table of the melee will be nearly flush
with the surface. The diameter of the bearing should match the
diameter of the stone. To get the stone in, some will “click” it in
and some will use a small burnisher with a rounded point, run around
in the bearing, to slightly lift the edge of the seat to allow the
stone to be slipped into the seat. Once the stone is in the edge of
the hole can be tapped down and then tightened the same way you
would do it in the first example (with the back of a graver pulled
backwards or using the high polished point held in a graver handle
of some sort).

Good luck!

Purchasing the Meiji microscope a few years back, as my eyes got
worse, also has made a huge difference, and my setting work such
as the flush settings are now much superior to any that I set using
my "younger eyes". 

I bought my Meiji when my eyes were still fairly young, but still
many years into my career and I would advise any young (or not so
young) bench jeweler to purchase one along with a ball vise. Your
work will improve 100 fold. It’s amazing the things you never really
see with OptiVisors. And while you’re spending money on great tools,
consider a GraverMach (or Max) and a Power-Hone. Gypsy setting with
these tools is a joy. So is bright cutting. Your milligrain (sp) will
be perfect.

I don’t have any shares in GRS Tools nor do I work for 'em. But I’m
an ecstatic customer.

I did use all of rules in the book, but some local setters are not
inclined to venture into this realm of setting. They just say "No"
and let the mfgr. shy away from making rings with this setting,

Hi, Gerry. In your post, you said “I did use all the rules in the
book”. Are you referring to a specific book? If yes, could you offer
the name of the book?

Hello Gerry,

I love princess stone and gypsy set, could you tell me how to do a
square gypsy setting, I love to learn all kind of setting and learn a
lot from ganoksin but I am a vision learner if possible could you
show me with drawings, I know I ask too much but thanks in advance.