Gypsy Setting Trouble for Jewelry Student

Hey guys,

I’m a jewelry student and I’m having trouble producing a gypsy
setting that doesn’t look mangled from burnishing. When setting a
5mm stone, I use a 5mm ball bur, and then I burnish it in. Should I
be using a 4.9 mm ball bur? Should I be tapping the stone in better
with a mallet?

What am I dong wrong? Thanks in advance!



Lets first say at the onset, YOUR bur is too large. I would use a
4.75 MM. The balance of the.25 will allow the stone to sit inside the
prepared hole. Here is the whole scenario for you, there is no rule
to follow, but this method works.

Drill out your hole with either a ROUND bur, or maybe a BUD bur to
initiate the ‘opening’. Place the stone over the hole and visualize
how much of the stone is covering the hole…got this so far? Next
get out your under-cutting bur or as I describe it as a “156C” then
make a Bearing Cut into the hole and make a groove into this wall.
But the question is now how deep do YOU go with this bur?

Here is the easier method I use 100% of the time. You will see
little teeth on the upper part of the undercutting bur.

These little teeth are the marking sections to work with and this is
the only method to use. At the very top of these teeth nearest to the
3/32" shaft you will see the teeth end. NOW LOWER THE BUR down to the
hole now stopping at the point where the teeth finish…this is the
correct depth you should be using and drilling.

Now further along with this exercise. Let the bur cut around the
inside of the hole and use the teeth as a “marker”. Cut into this
hole at 3-4 increments. If you start the cutting at one point, the
final cutting should join as to where you started. Place the stone
into this opening by sliding the stone at a 45degree angle. DO NOT
USE A STEEL PUSHER, I ask you to use a softer Brass pusher at all
times. If you hole is opened to 4.50MM you will not get that stone
at all. Please check all burring with your 10x Loupe, at all

Once the stone is in place, thankfully, proceed to now burnish or
form the LIP of the metal with your Brass pusher and push down the
rim of this metal or lip. If you use a Steel pusher you will have
deep gouges surrounding the stone. Not a great idea for cleaning. I
use now a FLAT-EDGED #180 Grit, Pumice wheel to do my light cleanup.
If you are able to Bright-Cut the inside of the hole please do so, it
looks much cleaner for the finishing process. I would even use a very
fine Emery Paper of #2 cut, for the final overall metal cleaning.

I hope that this essay helps you and all, who are in the very same
predicament in setting Gypsy Settings. Added note here…DON’T USE A
MALLET. If you do, you’ll be compressing the metal too fine for the

Gerry Lewy!

I can’t wrap my head around the use of a ball-burr for gypsy
setting, I always use a setting burr so the walls of the hole are
straight up and down not flared out, the farther out they are the
more metal you have to push, the more mangled it gets and the more
(if you are like me) you end up slipping the #$%#ed pusher into your

Now the cheat! I love a good cheat. Whenever possible I then hammer
finnish the whole thing. Pusher marks? What pusher marks? grins


hmmm… I use a 45 degree heart bur, so the stone snaps (gently)
into seat and there isn’t much pushing to it.

I agree with the idea of using setting burs, but I take it one step
further. If the stone is not a TIGHT fit with a good seat use a hart
bur after useing the setting bur to open up the hole to the correct
size.Hart burs come in many more sizes than setting burs. After you
have accomplished the correct seating, take a scribe and burnish just
the inside edge of the opening, use no force. Hold your scribe
slanting out at a small angle and ream the inside lip. If you have a
tight fit with no over cut you will not need to burnish the surface.
Also polish the piece before setting. Using the scribe to burnish
the lip will give you a nice bright looking edge.

put the mallet down!

get yourself a nice flame bur- perhaps 4.75mm but depending on the
stones shape 4.50 mm may be too small- you’ll learn with time- how
to choose the correct size smaller than the stone to carve the metal
out of the area…but first there are more important parts of the
process: start the setting by drilling a hole with a twist drill bit-
perhaps size 60 to start the hole…

then modify a 45 degree hart bur by grinding the tip off, giving you
a nice cutting tool to make an even seat to eventually snap the stone
into…it is very important that you keep everything level in the
ring/metal you are flush/gypsy setting. A pair of dividers and
scribe are essential to the flush /gypsy process.

another tip is to purchase a box of masonry/cut nails. they are
stainless steel generally and won’t contaminate your metal or leave
traces of softer metals on your piece like copper and brass
sometimes do…then modify the heads into pushers and for burnishing,
setting, matting, stamping- i have at least 50 modified nails that
work much more effectively for a myriad of tasks…particularly
burnishing and setting -as you can polish some, round the edges of
most so they don’t slip off the piece damaging the stone or pearl,
etc, modify some to exact shapes for different stones shapes, and
bezel shapes and metal gauges, as they are smaller than the standard
bezel rocker, and longer than bezel pushers little square heads, and
you can use jett set or some other material if you like to customize
the handle/grip for your needs compared to the round wood most are
mounted onto, groove some for prong work, and they are probably three
hundred times more effective than pushers on the market…the
modifications are as endless as the designs you can dream up…cut
nails are an essential in my studio -at about a lb. for 3.50 or less
you can make hundreds of tools…

Next I have noticed a lot of students get a design idea and cast or
construct a ring or setting and they have forget to measure the
depth of the 6mm stone so then the culet sticks out way too far, or
in to the wearers finger…unless the stones you select are all
machine cut, their depths will be different…so make certain you have
enough metal to carve out before you begin.

measuring is a great part of the process, as is level cutting.A
piece of tape on the shaft of your bur(s) keeps all the elements at
the same depth as the scribed position you eventually want your stone
to sit at in relation to the top of the ring or piece of metal
without having to constantly measure everything…( of course you have
to measure where the tape goes!).I thoroughly recommend the Jewelers
Bench Reference ( a small black book you should add to your library
in any case) and Charles Lewton-Brain’s “Cheap thrills in the tool
shop” and he has a new one out though the title escapes me that i
recommend highly… back to the subject:

once you have a nice level seat scribed where you want the stone to
sit, use a scraper, sharp graver, or the flame bur, mentioned above
and go around the line to create the seat…nice stratight sided, and
as precise as is possible…(use magnification for this, if nothing
else…you want to create a cut that will allow you to slip the stone
into place and snap it down so it lies neatly at the exact depth you
originally intended in your design plans) continue -with very little
force, and sharpen as often as necessary- to trace and cut around
that circumference until there is enough metal removed to accomodate
the stone (providing the stones girdle is relatively even) when
viewed from directly above the ring so it gives you the shape you
want the surround to be.Then at an angle, slide the stone into
place.and snap it down.

Clean around the edge with something like 3M’s abrasive discs (A
fantastic product- and you’ll become addicted readily, and want to
polish everything in sight!), then burnish with your modified cut
nail or agate, or other burnisher untill it is nice and tight and
does not rattle at all…if you need a short cut to end a slight
rattle bend a piece of…say 26 +/- gauge wire to the stone’s shape
and solder it to the underside( with plumb easy solder and a good
heat proof ing on the stone) to act as a bearing and end the
problematic over-removal of metal on the piece…

Gypsy/flush setting is one of my absolute favorite setting methods,
and one of the most hard to master, but it comes with time, and each
attempt will improve. stone shape is important, and of course, it’s
easier to begin with a cabbed stone than a facetted one, and the
harder the better!..if you do slip with a burnisher or pusher, or
modified cut nail, a slurry of tin oxide, or linde A should remove
the scratch from the common stones used in jewelery making…it
sparkle again…if you need or want any more info and want to contact
me off orchid to clarify something feel free…
@rebecca_rourke1 … hope this helped somehow!!!


These instructions for Gypsy Setting is totally right on! Very good
text demonstration, but why a pair of dividers in regards to setting
a 2 full cut stone? I have another simpler technique or another
option for all. If everyone looks at a 156C (a.k.a under-cutting
bur) you will notice that the teeth on the uppermost section of the
bur there is a blank area that is just BELOW the 3/32" shaft. I use
this section of blank space as a “marking device” to give me the
visual depth to the inside of the hole that has to be drilled out. I
use this method on EVERY Gypsy/Flush application. It is somewhat
difficult to “score” with a pair of dividers when setting a very
small stone. One more thing, is to “Azure” the underneath part of
the hole from inside the ring. This will allow me to clean out the
hole as to make it clean and evenly round. I use a slightly LARGER
round bur in this process. This is a bit of professionalism!!! I use
a mini, brass-pusher to press the metal over and down onto the stone.
I would then use my Pumice wheel of 180 Grit, to smooth and
pre-polish the metal. There is no law on setting, but different
setters have different methods making this setting world “easier” for