Invisible setting


I've been a manufacturing jeweler for over 30 years.   I am

familiar with chanel setting and have set “au Pave” for over 20
years. However, I am unfamiliar with the techniques involved in
"invisible setting". If you wish to, please share what you know
about this technique. Presently, I have a customer with a badly
set example of this technique, which I hope to tighten. I am
deeply appreciative of any you wish to share with me.

				Thanking you in advance for your consideration,

					John Rhys Arrowsmith

Hi John, Invisible set stones can be the bane of the bench
jeweler’s existence. Let me direct you to speak to Blaine Lewis
at He’s a list member as well, so keep an eye
peeled for his posts. Happy Setting!

Kathy in snow-bound (brrrr!) PA

Hello John, The invisible setting that I am familiar with is
done this way: Grooves are cut in the stones just below the
girdle. The metalwork has the appearance of fine net. A stone is
popped into each hole in the net. If you can get to the back of
the piece, push this fine metal tightly against the loose stone.
If you must work from the front, push straight down on the stones
surrounding the loose one.Don’t rock them, it is very easy to
chip something. Have fun . Tom Arnold

Boy John, move slowly - this may not be a job for a Monday.
Usually the invisible set stones are set “tongue in groove” -
with the tongues and grooves carved into the girdle of the
princess cut. The better ones will have wire running underneath
as support. I have successfully tightened these by using a
graver (ever so softly) to draw a small bead from the wires
underneath onto the bottom of the stone. Be very careful, it is
certainly possible to push the stones out of the mounting by
doing this. Generally I have found the middle stones to be
loose - if it is an outside stone go ahead and tighten it as you
would a channel (with emeralds in it - grin). Good luck. I’m
interested to hear what everyone has to say on this issue. Mike

Here’s what I know about it: the stones have groove on the
underside. The groove goes onto a bar in the underside of the
piece, and the sides of the stone(s) are channel set. It’s a
specialty. I’d give it to someone who knows how to invisible
set, myself.


What I’ve been able to sort out is it appears to be a tongue and
groove sort of thing. I 've had some luck resetting when the
darn things blow up. But it really is hit and miss for me.
Most recent one was a three row with the princess cuts having a
groove and the mounting had a rail cut into it that fit the
groove. Gently snapped them back in and burnished the outside
channel wall to snug them in. I’m reminded "Don’t do favors."
I’d leave it alone unless I sold it.

I’ve seen some guys and gals solder them in. That can get messy
with gobs of solder. Or…if the guy before you cheated with
solder everything could fall apart. Good luck.

A couple of weeks ago I requested from anyone with
actual experience in the technique of “invisible setting”. Most
responses were from those well meaning folks who have “heard” of,
but are not personaly experienced in this technique. Thank you,
sincerely. We’re all in this together.

However, I really need the help of someone who knows what they

are doing. Are you that someone? Please!

hellow John a couple weeks ago i attended the MJSA show in NY and
Gesswein had a neet machine there that could cut the groove into
diamonds and other you might talk to them for some
info etienne perret

Hi John,

I have set a couple hundred of these and have taught the
invisible setting technique for the last three years. As with
most stone setting applications there can be many different
methods that will achieve the same goal, but with the invisible
setting Its been my experience that your choices are few and
unforgiving. The stone has opposing grooves that sit just below
the girdle on two of the four sides of the pavilion. The groove
is parallel to girdle and runs the entire length of the
pavilion. The groove is quite small and only about the size of
four or five human hairs. They is no tongue just groves.

The stones sit on a rail system like boxcars on a train track.
Each rail of the track is shaped like the letter " Y ". Each tip
of the Y rail rest in the grooves of the stones, and the girdles
now overlap the tips of the Y and almost touch each other. The
stones are then taped downward into the mounting using a wooden
dowel. The downward force spreads the Y forcing the metal into
the grooves. The diamonds are not free to slide back and forth on
the track because of support bars that run between the tracks.

You should never try to work these unless the original manufacturer has
gone out of business or will not warranty the piece, and the work that
you perform should be done at the customers risk. You can tighten loose
stones by using the the tapping method only after you are sure that none
of the girdles or corners overlap.

The following is an attempt to clarify these instructions. If
stones #1, #2, #3 where almost girdle to girdle, and tapped
downward onto the Y rails the tips of the Y’s would be driven
into the grooves.

                                      #1   # 2  # 3
                                   stone stone stone
                                  Y        Y       Y       Y

I hope this helps,

Blaine Lewis

Invisible setter? No I’m not! You might call “Baguette World”.
There foreman (around 3 years ago) was Effer. He warned me not
to attempt the piece I was determined to create. He then invited
me to tour the shop if I was in L.A… The owners name is Koby
Katz @1800 432 3222. Since it is your benefit your after you
might look up their # and pay for the call. The only other
insight I can give is check all rings carefully for loose
invisible sets. The interior stones are impossible to tighten. I
like yourself would like to know more. However, I’m not
interested in creating pieces any longer with this technique.
There is something wrong with laser cutting a perfectly good
diamond only to set it so precariously; don’t you think!

Blane & all:

In working with this setting, I’ve found most not to be done in
the manner Blane describes. I believe this method is the
traditional one done for decades by some very prestegeus firms
but the style I have observed on commercial pieces I see is to
simply lay the stones in troughs, no grooving of the stones, and
the metal around the channels is hammer tightened to fit them
together and hold them merely by friction. A very unsatisfactory
method, especially when a sizing or other work is required as you
simply cannot move the entire area or you’re asking for trouble.
They will drop stones in the ultrasonic(try explaining this to
your waiting customer who’s just spent thousands)and are
IMPOSSIBLE to reset! I’ve tried many times and always wind up
sending the damn things back to the manufacturer. They have many
of these little square-cut stones in varying sizes(they’re all
different) and can fish thru their stock to find one to fit. I
don’t know if they cement them in or what. I’m afraid the
popularity of this style has forced many to do a quick & dirty
method in order to reduce costs and speed up the process.
Personally, I discourage them whenever possible. Worse than
two-prong marquise settings!


The following is an attempt to clarify these instructions. If
stones #1, #2, #3 where almost girdle to girdle, and tapped
downward onto the Y rails the tips of the Y’s would be driven
into the grooves.

                                         #1   # 2  # 3
                                      stone stone stone
                                     Y        Y       Y       Y

Blaine…You really helped a lot, but I have two questions
about your response.

No.1…I didn’t understand the support bar that rins between
the tracks. What are they and what do they look like ?

No. 2…How do you create the Y’s ?

Thanks for a great explanation.
Sol K.

As a “mall jeweler” working for one of the top 10 chain stores
It is my observation that most of the invisibly set rings,
pendants etc have the side stones cast in place. This is evident
by the rather large openings underneath the stones so that the
investment will hold them in place during burnout. My theory is
further supported by the observation that the areas around the
stone set area is dead soft as apposed to being work hardened as
I would expect had the stones been set by traditional methods.


Hi Sol

The Support bars are like azure bars and can be two bars per
stone, or one bar spaced every couple stones.

When the stones are tapped and driven downward the Y starts to
look like a T. The tips of the T are forced into the grooves
that are cut into each stone locking them into place and
tightening the stones as they are driven in.

                                #1    # 2    # 3
                             stone stone stone

                      this() between the Y's
                      is a support bar and sits lower
                      than the top of the Y rail

This Y or T shaped rail can be so small that you may not realize
that it is shaped in this fashion , but it has been my experience
that this is what holds the stone in place.

I cut the V in the top of the rail with one pass using a 120
degree graver or you could use a knife graver followed buy a flat
graver and make a couple of passes.

I hope this helps,

Blaine Lewis


Like you, I’ve observed the same things in production “invisible
sets.” Just how they expect these to stay in place for a year,
let alone the typical 30 to 40 years a wedding ring should last
is beyond me. Perhaps folks don’t expect their marrages to last
long anyway? More likely, these are simply examples of the “more
& faster is better” mindset so prevalent these days.


Blain, Could you tell me where I might obtain some of this Y
shaped material? I found a supplier that sells CZs with the cut
groove on the side. It’s interesting that the end stones have a
cut just on one or three sides. I would just love to try making
some pieces with this technique. Best regards,

Todd ( I am almost done with JA Master certification. Tough stuff.)

Hi’ Todd, Please telll us more about those CZ with the cut groove
on the side, we are also very interested in any about
invisible setting and that “y” shapes material that you speak of.
Best regards from Heather @Lyncre_Pty_Ltd_613_5