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I have to set 450 small diamonds

I have to set 450 @.095mm diamonds, the largest stones measure at
1.10mm. How small is that? If you are using a bead burnisher of #6
size, you can get the idea of how small each can be. Oh, by the way,
4 claws are going over each of those minuscule stones. These are
going to be made into hoop-styled earrings! This is my second batch
of wonderful diamonds, hope my eyes hang out till the job is

So much concentration is that my telephone is turned off, and no
need for a radio.


I just measured one of these 450 diamonds before and measured in at
.088 mm. I have to use a #7 Opti-Visor lens just to see these darned
small stones. The 4-claws sometimes literally cover some of these
stones. Am trying to have numerous work breaks at every 1/2 hour just
to exercise my eyes. Why? The eye muscles tire easy as they are
focusing on such small stones and at such close proximity.


Gerry wake up! Get a stereo microscope. Those little stones will look
as big as a saucer or even a dinner plate. I have used a scope for
years and would not work without one…o8 mm is not that small if you
have a scope, believe me they are worth every penny and you will be
amazed how much faster and cleaner your work will be. I routinely
pave and bead set stones that small or smaller.

Frank Goss


I just measured one of these 450 diamonds before and measured in
at .088 mm. I have to use a #7 Opti-Visor lens just to see these
darned small stones. 

have you ever tried working under a setters microscope? While they
have limitations in terms of your needing to hold the work in roughly
the same place in order to keep it in the field of view and in focus,
I’ve found that as my eyes (and the rest of me) got older, optivisors
and loupes worked less well. I can still work under a loupe or
sometimes an optivisor, but the microscope makes an enormous
difference in terms of good binocular vision and great lighting,
giving clarity of seeing exactly what you’re doing without eye strain
or for that matter, back strain too, since you can sit a bit more
upright and relaxed with the microscope than with the higher power
optivisors or simple loupes.

Next time you’re at one of the trade shows where someone like Otto
Frei or GRS or others may be showing one of these scopes, sit down at
the demo and see whether it might be useful. You may need fewer
breaks, and break fewer stones, (yeah, I know, you don’t break
stones, but the phrase sounded so poetic…)

Peter Rowe

for god sake, USE A SCOPE!! You can sit there all day with NO eye
strain. The cost for setting the 450 should easily cover the price of
the scope.


Don’t you have a microscope? It reduces the cursing and swearing by
at least 30%.

You still have to find the stones you drop…


I hope that’s a typographical error and you meant to type
0.88mm …088mm is about .003".

Gerry, it’s important to just gaze off to a far horizon if you can.
That helps put the muscles in your eyes at rest.

(I used to do some needlework that was 100 stitches in silk to the
inch - that was fine enough for me!)


Are going to use this as an excuse to buy a pair of Zeiss type

I have to set 450 @.095mm diamonds.... 

I am amazed that you can work with them. In field work I estimate I
can see crystals only down to that size (1/10 mm or 100 microns) and
no smaller. But your eyes may be keener than mine. What is the
smallest you can see with the naked eye?

Sometimes I see glints of light or flashes of light from a host rock
at bright mid-day, mid-summer sun but in dimmer light I lose the
crystal. So the smallest I can see may be only a few microns though
perhaps “image” is a better word than “see”.

On May 18/11 Nick posted that EDS analysis will work with
micro-diamonds down to 2 microns so maybe the naked eye has this
power as well. If so, that has practical jewelry implications. What
do you think?

Gerry, You should think about getting yourself a Meiji scope for your
bench. It’s much better for your eyes and if you can see it better it
will improve your already good setting. If you’re setting 1/4
pointers, you can really blow them up so they look like a 1/4ct. The
human eye needs a little more help than the Optivisor can provide
when they get that small. Mark

I’d like to respond to those who think I should use a microscope in
my setting. Here is what I found from another setter. He spent over
$1,500.00 last year, he told me it is hard to restart looking through
the scope. Now he hardly uses it and it’s sitting dormant on his

In my setting needs I can very easily navigate the holding of the
numerous clamps and hand vises to do my setting.

At my tender young age of 6? to adjust to a newer realm of viewing is
not to my liking. If I bought this mechanism 10 years ago, fine, but
now? I can still see through the #7 lens of my Opti-Visor very well,
thank you! It’s not too often that I am given these little iddy-biddy
.0075pt; (3/4pt). diamonds to 4-mini-claw set.

As the analogy states, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix”, I hope I made
myself clear. Again many thanks for you all who cared.:>)…Gerry!

Hello Gerry!

You must mean 0.88 mm. 0.088 mm is about the thickness of copy
paper. Setting diamonds smaller than 1 mm must be a pain even if you
have an Optivisor. No wonder eye muscles get tired. Using a
microscope, makes an enormous difference. Takes a while to get used
to work with the microscope but it’s worth it. You see every little
detail MUCH better and you don’t get tired that easily. Take care.

Per, Sweden

I routinely pave and bead set stones that small or smaller. 

Can you recommend a scope with photographic capability good for 1/10
mm or smaller?


I know you think you’re too old for new toys, but trust me on this
one, you * really* want a scope for a job like that. Zoom stereo
scope with a GRS acrobat stand. Weirdly enough, the acrobat stand is
the more critical part of the package. Let’s you put the scope
anywhere, easily.

There’s got to be someone near you who’s got a scope rig you can try

(you’re in Toronto if I remember right?) Try it. You’ll like it.

Brian Meek


You must be talking about stones 1 mm, and smaller… 1/10 of a
millimeter is paperthin. That’s 0.0039 in inches. About microscopes,
there is a post at The Engraver’s Cafe that you can check out in the
Tips Archive. Stereo Microscopes to buy and Avoid.

Per, Sweden=


If it ain't broke, don't fix....... 

You really don’t know what you are missing. The difference is about
the same as using a bow drill vs using a flex shaft for cutting

I remember the day I set up my microscope, and the feeling I got. It
took me about 30 minutes to get used to the reality that I wasn’t
looking in the same direction as my work. Spend a day getting
acclimated, and you will wonder how you ever managed without one. The
ability to see the details of a setting at 10-20x far outweighs the
minor amount of time, and the one time cost of a Meiji microscope.

These scopes are extensively used to inspect small work in many
industries such as electronics, and can be found occasionally on
E-Bay. You need one that has a.5 diopter lens, the working distance
between the scope and work doubles to 6", and allows more light onto
the object. The GRS stands have a padded headrest, it is adjustable,
to allow proper distance to the eyepieces. The Meiji eyepieces are
adjustable as well, both for the distance between your pupils and
diopter correction for your eyesight.

I have 2 of them in my studio, one with the original GRS stand and
the halogen lights combined with a fluorescent ring light, the
second one is on the GRS Acrobat stand, I use that one for wax work.
I usually hold the pieces in a die ball when I am setting stones. If
I am doing contract work, I take a few minutes to make a custom clamp
from jet-set. Somehow, hammer setting stones seems to go much faster,
the metal seems to flow under the hammer, and clean up and details
look much sharper to the naked eye after working on them under a


Hi Gerry,

you can come to Ventura and use mine. You would have to add the cost
of flying from Toronto to Burbank, CA

nice to hear from you