Homemade jewel for the girl I love

Hey everyone,

I got this crazy idea today : I want to make a custom jewel for the
girl I love ! More precisely, I would like to do something similar
to this :

This is essentially a 1.6 cm tall cat made out of two pearls and (in
this case) some silver. I would substitute the silver with white
gold for the tail and ears and pink gold for the ribbon. This is a
brooch, so there’s actually a pin behind it.

I need your help getting me started !

I did a lot of research and came to the conclusion that this should
be doable with a minimal investment in equipment, no prior jewellery
making skills and a lot of patience ! I assume the tail, the ribbon
and both ears should be done in 4 different pieces, fixed to the
pearls using epoxy glue. I read about sand casting and this seems to
be the way to go. If I’m right, I’d have to make the pieces using
some sort of plastic and then make a mold of them using a particular
clay. Once done, I’d need to melt the gold using a butane torch and
pour it in the mold. Once solidified, I’d saw the excess of gold and
then sand and polish the pieces using a dremel. The pin would be
done using a bended wire of white gold or silver, soldered in two
points (on the ribbon and tail) or probably glued to the pearls?

I would truly appreciate if you guys could point me into the right
direction as to where I should get all the equipment I’d need
(including the metal). Also, please let me know how you guys would
that brooch, in case my plan isn’t right.

Thanks a lot !

Hi Frank,

The cat pin isn’t spectacularly difficult, but I don’t think I’d
call it a beginner project.

First problem: it isn’t cast. Or at least the original wasn’t. It
was probably fabricated out of silver wire. (or that’s certainly the
easiest way to get there.) This means hard soldering (torch brazing
with very high purity silver brazes.) (we call it soldering, but it
has nothing in common with soldering iron soldering. In fact, the
more electronic soldering you’vedone, the more you have to unlearn.)

The other fun part is the pearls. Yes, they’re glued, but only to
stabilize them. There are also pins that go in through drilled holes
in the poles of the pearls. The ears are on pegs too. Drilling
pearls isn’t rocket science, but it takes a delicate touch, the
right drillbits and a pearl drilling jig. (normal drillbits would
break it.) So would a normal drill, come to think. So you need
something that can be controlled at very slow speeds, like a dremel.

If you just surface glue to the pearl, the parts will rip off,
taking a chunk of the outer skin of the pearl with them.

Pearls (real ones) are composed of layers of nacre, sort of like an
onion. Surface glue would just glue to the outermost layer, which
would promptly tear off. That’s the point of the pins: to give some
shear strength to the whole structure, not just the outermost layer.

Do tell me that you’re not planning on this for Christmas, right? If
you were, ponder (quickly) what else she’d like for this
christmas. Not to be a downer, because it is possible, but not at
all likely between now and this christmas.

Oh, just to complete the picture, soldering on the pin findings
would be no treat for a beginner either. To be honest, were it me,
I’d talk to whoever made the original pin, and see how much they’d
want for another one. It looks like the one in the photo was
actually cast, but done that way for ease of commercial production.
It’s a lot easier to try to make a one-off out of wire, rather than
fussing with the casting gear. They only cast it because they wanted
to make hundreds of them. Which means they really want to sell you

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.


If it’s to be a pin I would fabricate this out of heavy wire and
shape the wire as I go.

I’d also use button pearls that are round on the front and flat on
the back so that is will lay flat as a pin.

The joint pin and catch should be soldered to the decorative wires.
The metal parts of the pin should have tiny pegs soldered on the back
and the pearls drilled where the pegs are so that the metal parts are
securely attached.

This project would take me about three- four hours to make plus a
few hours for the epoxy to set. I’d charge about 300 bucks or so in
labor only.

Materials extra.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

It is very easy to make, first go buy wax, flexshaft or dremel a few
files, you don’t really need any special hammers, just be really
really careful with your carpenters hammer. Start carving the piece
out of wax or plastic. You can find lots of pictures of how to do it

Of course you need a torch to melt the gold and solder the pin to
the piece, that is not hard to do, of course you might melt the piece
two or three times before you are successful. So I would practice on
something first. You have investigated sand casting so you know how
to do that, I would practice at least 1 time though just for fun.

You can use the flexshaft or dremel for the finishing of the piece,
it’s not very hard to do either, you can also see how its done
online. Pictures are very helpful.

At this moment I feel very sad that I am making people pay for the
Christmas presents that I am creating for them. $100 an hour for such
trivial skills.

Hi Frank

there is a reason people go to jewellery school.


If you have no jewellery experience then this project is way beyond

And your research is wrong.

The ears could be made from filing wire and have “pins” soldered to
them, drill into pearl and glue.

Likewise the tail and collar would be made with wire. ETC ETC.

best advice from me is to find a friendly jeweller who will teach
you how to make it.

or try to ask a jewellery school if you could do a one day tutorial.

if jewellery making was only so easy.

If you were near me I would show you and you would make it. Teaching
costs about $100 plus material cost.

I am not trying to put you off, I am saying get some tuition.

I really like the piece BTW.

Hello Frank,

It is a charming pin. I know your lady would love it! Alberic does
have a point regarding the knowledge and skill and tools you would
need to accomplish this. Bill reinforces the same needs. Jo points
out how much time an experienced jeweler would need to complete the
pin. Not to mention finding just the right pearls.

However, if you really want to try it yourself (& I admire your
gumption), you might make the pin back a little easier by
substituting a tie tac type post and clutch. No moving parts to
freeze up if the solder flows into them. That would make the pin
perfect for mounting on a collar or lapel.

Let us know how you proceed, and if you choose to purchase the
piece, that’s OK too,

Judy in Kansas who got the Christmas lights up yesterday, and is
going to lift the amaryllis bulbs since today should be in the 60s.

Thank you SO much guys for your responses.

Thanks for the quote, Jo. I first had in mind to get it done by a
professional jeweler, but found out it’d be so much more meaningful
to do it myself.

I’ve literally spent my whole day thinkering about this and reading
about casting and soldering (heck, it’s 2 AM now, so I’ll make this
post short !). I figured out in the meanwhile that, yes, indeed,
there must be a wire going through the pearls to fix the tail in
place. I wouldn’t have guessed that the ears are fixed with pins,
though, but it totally makes sense.

No worries Brian, I had planned this for next August as I also
figured out it’d take a lot of attempts on fake pearls with silver
before getting it right, not to risk wasting the expensive pearls
and the gold.

It’s great to hear that it could actually be done without casting,
thanks for the suggestions. As for the soldering, it seems pretty
straightforward. I’m just not completely sure as to how and when to
use flux (Borax).

But, before getting any further into this, I’ve been conceiving a
plan B and would like to know if you guys think this would even be
possible. A picture is worth a thousand words :

Plan B consists in a bracelet of Tahitian black pearls with one of
them being encrusted with tiny diamonds and pink sapphires/rubies
shaped into a kitty, as shown in that mock-up. The pearls would be
8.0-9.0 mm in diameter, or perhaps a bit larger if needed. The
finest Dremel head I found is a 0.8 mm, in diameter, engraving
cutter. I figured out that. perhaps. it could be possible to drill
such tiny holes in the pearl and somehow (?) insert the gems into
the holes. I assume epoxy glue could be usable this time, since it’d
be in contact with several layers of nacre.

Is that even remotely possible? Is there even any way to purchase
such small stones? If so, where could I get 'em?

Hopefully that won’t sound too crazy :slight_smile: ! Plan B actually has
priority on plan A.

Thanks a bunch,

Hi Frank,

Where are you? At this stage, I’ll see if I can vector you onto some
local jewelry instruction. Your ‘plan B’ is actually harder than
plan A.

(If anybody else knows someone who’s teaching in whatever area he
comes back with, please feel free to chime in. I don’t know

(Not the bracelet, per-se, it’s the pearl with the stones set in it.
That is something even I would think twice (or thrice) about.)
(It’s do-able, and not even spectacularly hard, but not at all
durable.) Stone mounts of that size are nobody’s idea of fun, and
certainly not something I’d advise using to try to learn on.)

As far as hard soldering goes, the flux isn’t pure borax. Get
yourself to the local welding supply place, and ask them for white
paste flux. Tell them you’re doing jewelry silver soldering (or
brazing), and they should be able to set you up. If they’re asking
about silver percentages, you’re probably talking to the wrong
person, but tell them that the percentages are a bit north of 75%.
(Percentages effect melting temp, which changes which flux you
need.) (Temps in the 1100-1350F range.)

As far as setting stones into the pearl, what you actually do is set
the stones into silver tubes, which then get glued into the pearl.

There are custom cutters for cutting the stone seats that you get
from jewelry supply houses. Don’t try to fake it with hobby store
dremel cutters. That way lies pain and frustration. But setting a
bunch of stones that size is normally an exercise in annoyance, so
trying it first time out of the gate isn’t going to be fun.

If you go to my website, I’ve got a list of national (American)
jewelry tool suppliers. It sounds like you need to take a good look
at their catalogs, to see what kinds of toys are available. I’d also
recommend picking up a copy of Tim McCreight’s “The Complete
Metalsmith”. It’s a good basic jewelry making textbook.

The link for the suppliers is here:


I've literally spent my whole day thinkering about this and
reading about casting and soldering 

Frank, I meant to pitch in on thisthe other day and just plain
forgot. The other thing about plan A that nobody mentioned is that
you can’t sand cast it anyway. It would be possible for a pro to do
it but not for you or most folks. That’s because ithas what are
called “undercuts”. Sandcasting on a small scale is best used for
flat things like pendants and belt buckles. You put sand, you put
your model, put sand on top and when you pull the cope and drag
apart outpops your model. Think about sand casting a coke bottle -
how are your going to fill the bottle with sand, pack it in your
mold, and remove the model leaving the sand inside the model in
place? You can’t… Good casters use plugs and cores to do that
sort of thing but it’s beyond what you’re going to be able to do and
it’s just not worth it for one piece anyway. Which also raises the
question of why to build and model and cast it when you can just
build the model as a finished piece to begin with…

Plan B is possible except most people will object to gluing the
stones. If I were to do that I’d make tiny bezels with posts and
inlay those into the pearl. The biggest problem I see, that might be
a killer, is that your holes are so close together that you have.5mm
of nacre in places and not much more in other places. I mean the
material that’s between the holes, on the surface. That is unlikely
to survive the process, though it might. Probably it will just flake
off in at least one place and there goes your $100 pearl… You
could do the bezels and drill so they lay on top…

Hi Frank.

I have been following this post and can relate to where you are and
what youare trying too do. I have to agree with Richard in that it
is very helpful to have someone teach you. that said I have only
taken two workshops in my 40+ years of making a living doing this.
One was on Enameling at Penland and the other was a GIA course on
working with Platinum. Both were very rewardingto have taken and cut
my learning curve greatly. When I started The publiclibrary was my
classroom. Worked for me and might work for you.

As far as tools, which I think make the professional a professional
along with a little knowledge:-)

There are some suppliers I would suggest you check out. first the
ones listed on this site. Rio Grande is one that has a extensive
collection of tools that will make your task much easier. Stuller
Settings, and a host of other jewelry tool supply houses you can
find on the internet.

With the proper tool and the knowledge how to use it you can do
almost anything.

Your project is very ambitious and with the help you can and will
get from this group I am sure you will make something that you two
will cherish for years to come.

BtY for your small droll bits try Rio Grande. if you do the pearl
check out their stone setting burs…

And as a warning once you start this project you will be hooked for
life. almost worst then being a drug addict :slight_smile: enjoy your journey
and adventure in jewelry making.

I have to chive in here. Due to a no no I did 30 years ago. My wife
and I had a gala ball to go to and she needed some Pearl earrings
that were different. I simply took a 90 degree stone setting bur and
a full drilled Pearl. Super glued the post in place and then took
the burr and cut a seat for thediamonds on the other side of the
hole through the Pearl. Super glued them in place for the night.
Well 35 years latter the diamonds and post are still in place and
they are her favorite earrings my wife wears even today. Simple and
get lots of comments. No bezels. quick and it works. just my luck
but have done it more over them years and no failures yet…

Sometimes you just need to try something way out there to see if it
will work…

Make lots of jewelry and always try something others say will not
work. You might just find the missing equation that will make it

As someone who is self taught (and still a beginner at best), I
agree with many of the professionals here that you are going about
this wrong. I admire your enthusiasm. But I suggest you at the very
least get books and instructional videos that have detailed
projects. Just pick a piece that is from the projects and it will
still be made by you. You will learn very goodskills for later on. I
have done this for three years and I think it hasbeen the best way
to learn without a mentor. (I would rather go to classes but I’m
working on an masters in economics and working full time). You could
possibly make the cat, but setting stones inside pearls? Just trust
me, you can make awesome things without delicate pearls.

Rick Powell

Thank you so much guys for the support. Setting diamonds in a pearl,
even though possible, was indeed a fairly bad idea. I’ll rather set
themin gold, much like a micro pave. Actually, my intention is to
make hera shamballa style bracelet (she likes those bracelets),
similar to this one :

I know, I know, I know. Doing such a tight diamond pave requires a
tonof skills, but I would have 8 months to figure out how to, so it
shouldbe doable! RioGrande looks like jeweler’s one-stop shop,
thanks for thereference! Unfortunately, though, they will only sell
diamonds to “qualified” buyers (eg. professional jewelers, students,
etc). I’ve contacted them two days ago regarding the possibility to
buy their 0.01 carat diamonds, for the pave, nevertheless, but
haven’t head back from them, yet. Other than that, if I’m right, I
would need :

1- Something to drill holes to set the diamonds, I’m looking into a
Foredom Flex Shaft

2- Something to push the metal prongs/bits to hold the diamonds,
probablythis (although it seems oversize) :

3- Decent enough magnifying glasses :

4- Pliers and flies could come in handy.

5- Lots of patience !

Basically, it looks like I’d first have to drill perfectly sized
holes for the diamonds and then carve four ever so small prongs/bits
of metal that I’d then push towards the diamond. I’ll have to watch
a couple more videos, but with ton of practice, it should be doable!

I’ll keep you guys updated about this :)!

And thanks for the kind words, Vernon. It does look like a lot of
work toget that done, but a lot of fun either! I’m very excited to
get this going.

Thanks !

I more very important thing to have when flat setting stones:

Frank- You will need a much stronger Optivizor than a 3.5 that the
link shows. You’ll need at least a 7.

To bead set you will not need the setting tools you show on the Rio

Those are for bezel setting.

You will need at least 5 gravers.

1/2 left and 1/2 right onglette gravers. A full onglette graver a
wicked sharp graver and about a 40 flat graver. You’ll need fresh
handles to put on them. Then you will need to prep the gravers by
grinding, shaping, and sharpening them. So you will need at least two
sharpening stones.

You need some beading tools and shelleac to fill and hold the bead
while you drill and set plus alcohol to dissolve it out when you’re

Drills for your pilot holes. Stone setting burrs in exactly the same
size as your melee dias.

Do a practice plate in silver with CZs. With a good on hand
instructor and after about ten or twenty stones you should have it

The main ket to this style of setting is having the gravers
perfectly sharp at the right angle and perfectly polished.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

Frank, you will need a engraver to cut the metal to form the prongs
to hold the stoned in Pave’ settings. Then a beading tool to form
the prongs into little beads to hold the stones. A mill grain tool
does a nice finished lookon the outside of your pave work. Prong
pushers are not needed for what youwant to do. I would suggest you
get some CZ’s to practice with and some silver. easy to cut and form
the prongs with… Your drill needs to be smaller then your stones.
then use your stone settingbur to cut the seat for the stone to sit
in. make sure that the seat is cuta little reaper then the girdle on
the stone. so it is a little below the surface when set in the seat.
this will allow you to cut the prong with your engraver. just before
you get the engraver to the edge of the seat with your cut pull up
on the engraver handle so the sliver of metal is pushed over the
girdle og the stone. Then use your beading tool to form the sliver
of metal into a bead…

Hope this helps…
Good luck. have fun…
Flex shaft is a good investment…:slight_smile:

Hi Frank.

Err. I hate to always be the downer, but you have this amazing
talent for finding really tough stuff to want to start out on.

The shamballa bracelet looks to be reasonably simple. Almost easy.
Then you add micro pave.

Yeah. Just so you have some sense of what that means, when I was in
college, I spent a year at a trade school in London.

I did 8 hours a day, 1 day a week, for 8 months of nothing but
learning to do hand set stone settings. I got to be about half-way
decent, by their standards. After doing it one day a week, for 8
months. There’s a reason why you see so much pave on "serious"
megabuck jewelry. It’s tough, and there’s a lot more to it than it
looks like, and most of it is done by hand. This isn’t to say you
can’t do this, but think hard about how much time you have to
devote to this. As Jo says, do trial pieces with CZ’s. They break
much more easily than diamonds do. If you can do it without breaking
CZ’s, you’ll have a hope of not breaking your diamonds.

If you’re thinking about pave, that magnifies your tool
requirements. Suddenly you need setter’s sticks, engravers, a flex
shaft, and at very least that optivisor you were looking at. When I
was 20, in college, I could do pave with a 3.5x optivisor. Now that
I’m. not 20, I need a microscope. Add $1700.

Add in a solid workbench to work at. If you’re doing pave, you need
a proper bench that’s properly solid. Another several hundred.

The hard part is learning to properly sharpen the engraving tools.
If you don’t have someone there to show you what ‘right’ is, you’ll
spend ages floundering around fighting poorly sharpened gravers,
just because you don’t have an example of what a properly sharpened
one cuts like. There are mechanical sharpening systems that’ll
sharpen them to whatever angle you specify, but that’s another $1K
or more. Pave (and engraved settings generally) are one of those
things that are VERY hard to learn from books. If you’ve done it,
the books make sense, but if you come to it cold, there is nothing
the authors can do teach you that the very subtle, faint, gritty
feeling as you cut means you’ve snapped the very tip off your
graver. You have to do it, and feel it before you know what’s
normal, and what’s not. Engraving of the level that’s required for
pave is a very, very serious hand skill. As is the skill to properly
sharpen the engraving tools. Trying to pick it up on your own isn’t
impossible, but it’s certainly nobody’s idea of a good time.

I can’t stress this enough: find some local jewelry classes, and
talk to whoever’s local to you. You really do need a local teacher.

As far as the tools you were looking at: 3.5x optivisor. Good.
Depending on your eyes, may just be good enough. Most people use a
2x (#4) optivisor for general bench work. Longer focus depth, traded
for lower power.

Setting tools package: no. As Jo said, those are bezel tools. Won’t
help with this.

Good luck.

Are you sure you wouldn’t just rather take her on a trip around the
world? It might end up being cheaper.


Hi everyone,

Thanks again for the support, especially to Brian, Jo, Vernon and
Bill !

I’d like to get started with this project of bead setting :

I’d appreciate if someone could confirm that I correctly understood
the very basics of bead setting :

  1. Drill a hole with a ball (?) burr, 3/4 diameter of the stone
    (0.9mm (?). the stones are 1.3mm (.01ct)) deep enough so the table
    of the diamond is slightly above the surface of the metal (by
    slightly less than the lenght between the table and girdle (?)).

  2. Drill the seat of the diamond with a setting burr (same size as
    the diamond (1.3 mm)).

  3. Cut the beads using a #2 onglette graver, starting about 2mm away
    fromthe stone (not sure that’ll be possible, though) and stopping
    just before reaching it. slightly lift up the graver at the end
    (from a 40 to 45angle (?)).

  4. Shape the beads with a beading tool.

  5. That’s it? Jo mentions several types of gravers, but I believe
    those would be for bright cutting, which isn’t needed in my case
    (there’s virtually no space between the diamonds)?

I would need :

  1. Flexshaft [eBay link removed: sorry no eBay links on Orchid]
  2. 0.9mm round burr : Rio High-Speed Steel Round Burs - RioGrande
  3. 1.3mm setting burr : Rio High-Speed Steel Stone-Setting Burs - RioGrande
  4. Burr lubricant : BurLife® Stick Lubricant - RioGrande
  5. #2 onglette graver (not sure which on Rio Grande’s website !).
  6. Stone to sharpen the graver : Diamond Sharpening Stones Set - RioGrande
  7. Beading tool (not sure what size) : Maillefer Round Beading Tools - RioGrande
  8. An optivisor (I’m still in my 20’s !).
  9. Eventually some shelleac after trying on a silver plate.
  10. Bandaids !

Thanks !

And thanks for sharing your personal experiences with beads setting.
I’m willing to invest quite a lot of time and effort into this. I’d
like to give it a try on my own before considering taking classes.
Should it fail, it will certainly have been a fun experiment

Hoping you’ve had great holidays, guys !

PS : I did considered a trip, but that wouldn’t be possible at this time,
unfortunately (and then came up the bracelet idea)…

Hi Frank,

I'd like to get started with this project of bead setting :

Oh boy. I guarantee that you’ll have a learning experience.

If you listen to nothing else I say, please listen to this: find
someone local to you to teach you how to do this. Internet videos
and books aren’t enough. You really do need to watch someone who
knows what they’re doing, and can critique what you’re doing, live.
Most especially about sharpening the gravers.

1. Drill a hole with a ball (?) burr, 3/4 diameter of the stone
(0.9mm (?). the stones are 1.3mm (.01ct)) deep enough so the table
of the diamond is slightly above the surface of the metal (by
slightly less than the lenght between the table and girdle (?)). 

You can’t drill accurately with a ball burr. Drill the hole out with
a regular drill bit, slightly undersized. If your stones are 1.3mm,
I’duse a 1mm drill.

It doesn’t exactly matter what the drill is, so long as it’s smaller
than the diameter of your stones, by ‘enough’. ‘Enough’ is a
judgment call.

2. Drill the seat of the diamond with a setting burr (same size as
the diamond (1.3 mm)). 

That’s one way to do it. The ball burr was the beginning step of
another way. Make sure the included angle on your setting burrs
matches the angle of the pavilion of your stones. The goal is to end
up with a hole that has a small ring around its inside, that
supports the pavilion of the stone at the very edge. The other goal
is to make sure that the stone sits both level with the surface as
well as coplanar with it. (as in: the table should be either in-line
with the surface of the metal, or a smidge above, but most
importantly, level in both pitch and roll with respect to the metal
surface. On a sphere, you have a little more room to fudge, as its
impossible to compare adjacent stones.)

3. Cut the beads using a #2 onglette graver, starting about 2mm
away fromthe stone (not sure that'll be possible, though) and
stopping just before reaching it. slightly lift up the graver at
the end (from a 40 to 45angle (?)). 

Not exactly. I always use a round (round bottomed) graver to start
the beads, then an onglette to clean up the cutting path left
behind. Onglettes aren’t wide enough to push up much of a bead. As
for what size of round bottomed graver? Dunno. Smallish, generally.
(Or, the ‘right’ size for the space available. Again, a judgement

4. Shape the beads with a beading tool. 
5. That's it? Jo mentions several types of gravers, but I believe
those would be for bright cutting, which isn't needed in my case
(there's virtually no space between the diamonds)? 

Tell the truth, I normally use my onglette mostly for cleanup and
bright cutting, it’s the others that do most of the setting work.

I would need : 
1. Flexshaft [eBay link removed: sorry no eBay links on Orchid] 


2. 0.9mm round burr : http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep810y 

Probably not.

3. 1.3mm setting burr : http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep810z 


4. Burr lubricant : http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep8110 


5. #2 onglette graver (not sure which on Rio Grande's website !). 

Among others. (round, flat bottomed, etc.)

6. Stone to sharpen the graver :

OK, I expect

7. Beading tool (not sure what size) :

Pick up the set that comes with the handle. (113-340) No telling
what size your beads will turn out to be, and you need a handle.

8. An optivisor (I'm still in my 20's !). 

Enjoy it while it lasts.

9. Eventually some shelleac after trying on a silver plate. 

Not shellac, that’s a term from older books, and generally describes
something quite different these days. Setter’s cement or setter’s
pitch is what you want currently. If you can’t find that, use
Jett-Sett, or one of the thermoplastic setting compounds. They’re
much nicer, and much stronger.

Setter’s cement is very much like dop wax for lapidary work, so at
last resort, use that. (Rio, 206-054) I poked around at Rio for a
few minutes, and couldn’t find any setter’s cement. Looks like all
they’ve got these days is Jett Sett.

The purpose of this is to grab the part, and hold it onto a handle,
like a cut off bit of broomstick. So you’ll need it even if you try
working on a sample piece of copper first.

10. Bandaids ! 

Oh yes. One word of advice: do not, ever, let your holding hand get
‘downrange’ of the engraver. Keep track of where the graver will go
if it slips RIGHT NOW. Do not ever let your other hand be there.
You will regret it if you fail. A graver sharp enough to peel metal
will puncture fingers with frightful ease.

Especially when trying to raise a bead the first few times. Trust me
on that.

And thanks for sharing your personal experiences with beads
setting. I'm willing to invest quite a lot of time and effort into
this. I'd like to give it a try on my own before considering taking

Frank, please, listen to me on this: find someone local to take
classes with. You will save yourself much struggle, pain, and time.
(and probably money too.) Sometimes, wisdom is realizing when it’s
time to ask for help. You’vetaken the first step by coming here, but
the greater step is to continue to take it slow, even tough you want
to leap off and go make her that jewel you’ve been dreaming of.
Trust me, I’ve been in your shoes. It really will work out better if
you get local help.


Since you are going on with this project, I will stop trying to get
you to go to a professional.

I would drill a hole with a drill first all the way through, easier
to clean, then use a ball bur to take out excess metal (makes it
easier for the setting bur to work), use the setting bur to get the
stone deep enough.

3. draw a square around the diamond just lightly with a scribe or
just mentally, from the corner of the square is where the prong
should start, not 2mm away. You really need to get the metal out
between the stone with a flat graver or a very small cone bur the
smallest you can get. 
4. Shape the beads with a beading tool. 
5. you did not mention a ring clamp, do not hold the ring in your
hand or you will need lots of bandaids You really need a bench pin
with a cutout to support the ring clamp. Also go to an engraving
site and see how the gravers or shortened. Do not use full length
as shipped. I would go to grstools.com and buy a graver and handle
from them. They are already cut to size and shape and you can use
the same handle for multiple gravers. 

I still do not understand why you want to spend hundreds of dollars
vs $15 or $20 each or less for someone to do it.

Good luck
Bill Wismar