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Lay-out for pave setting

All, I made a large bead, about the circumference of a nickel, last
fall and was asked to pave set diamonds in it. I estimated the
number of diamonds that were needed (about 300 x .02ct). The
customer only had a budget for half that number and so laid out and
set the stones. After doing the job I realized that I had indeed
estimated correctly the number of stones needed, and it would have
been spectacular if I could have done it correctly. The store that I
made the piece for now wants another one. I am wondering if there is
a formula for figuring out how to most easily lay out diamonds for
pave setting. It seems as though I could spend hours figuring these
things out. I would like to use only one stone size, .03 or .02 cts
each but if I need to use more to get the piece to work out better I
would. As well I like to get the stones to share beads so that they
are extremely close, almost touching.

Thanks, in advance for any help that comes my way.

Larry Seiger

Well Larry Seiger, the formula is…( I dunno)…! But for a clue to
save time is find out the center of the blasted nickel sized peice,
with the help of dividers and make an indentation with a “metal punch”
& check off the “hole to side” on all areas, and start to use a
magic-marker and feel out just where each diamond COULD be placed.
This idea could be used with some actual diamonds and lay them on that
particular item to be set. On each and larger circle of stones to be
set, lay another row of stones and visualize and mark with that 'magic
marker". Why this? if you are wrong, you can remove the black marker,
Do Not Punch Mark! You MUST allow space in between the diamonds and
for “the drilling to stone size”, and “metal in between for raising
beads”. It is far better to over estimate the needed stones than to be
"short". If the customer wishes, use a smaller diamond, I feel .03
ptrs. may be a tad too large for this project! I would personally use
.01-.015 ptrs. Yesterday, I just bead-set 75 x .005 and I was bug-eyed
after a while, two beads PER stone! I used a Round Bush Burr 008 for
this!.. :>(

I hope that this might help you Larry, @Gerald …I just love
this kind of thinking work!
gerry, the cyber-setter,eh!

Hi Larry, The surface area of a sphere = 4 x pi x radius squared
(sorry, can’t get usual word processing symbols in this email system).
You could then figure out a rough diamond count based on the average
size of your diamonds (Area = pi x radius squared) or by laying some
out with proper spacing in a known area, say 6 x 6 mm square. Then
divide the 36 square mm into the surface area of the sphere for a
ROUGH estimate.

Or you could layout diamonds on one fourth the sphere’s surface area
and multiply the number of diamonds used by four for a rough estimate.
While it’s low tech, I often opt for the latter method because I can
get a better feel for the diamond spacing pattern and placement of
beads/shared beads in relation to the curvature of the sphere.

Hope this helps though you’ve probably done all of this already.

Donna Shimazu

I have taken courses in both rendering pave and layout of pave for
azuring and it seems there is no one formula for the perfect layout.
It takes a great deal of trial, error and practice. Generally it is
best to layout one section of the piece (like a piece of pie) and when
you find a system that works well (using a pen or pencil on the metal
or chinese white) then use that system on the rest of the piece. The
stone sizes we used varied more on non-linear shapes, larger in the
center or on top (closest to the eye), smaller on the sides. For round
objects we were taught to think of the stones as filling pentagons and
hexagons on a soccer ball. We layout the center with one stone
surrounded by six slightly smaller stones and then layout the edge
before filling in the side areas.

I’m not a world class pave’ setter or anything, but I used to work
for a jewelry manufacturer that made diamond spheres such as you
describe and we would get a rough number by using the surface area of
the spheres divided by the stone size as was suggested and then mark
off say 1/4 or 1/2 of the ball, coat it with sticky wax, and then
place the stones on it table down so that the sticky wax holds them in
place and then you can move them and space them according to how you
like the look. As you remove each stone, it will leave a little
impression in the wax of the table showing you where to punch before
you clean all of the wax off. This method of sticky wax and upside
down stones works on just about anything you want to pave’ very well.
If you have a piece of sheet metal of say, 1/8 or 3/16", you can
drill a hole in it slightly larger than the sphere and then shellac
both sides of the metal so that it will hold the ball with the
majority of the surface exposed so that you will not have to heat and
turn it in shellac so many times but only one time instead. Good luck
to you!

Ricky Low
Houston, Texas

Hi Larry, I use a drawing package on the computer to place stones.
Corel draw works fine. Draw up a circle to the size of the area to be
set & then place another circle the size of the stones to be set ontop
of the larger circle. Duplicate the smaller circle a set distance down
from the first ( this distance can be set accurately in the preference
section) & do a repeat duplicate command until a row of stones goes
from top to bottom. Then select the whole row & duplicate the row
sideways until the larger circle is full. Count how many stones you
need from there.

Most drawing packages will allow this. Once you have used this
technique a couple of times it is quick & very accurate.

Dean Watson

Hey Ricky Low and others of Orchid one more thing,eh? After you drill
through the metal, in preparation for pave’ setting, it is advisable
to counter-sink the other side of the metal, that is to “azure” the
reverse side of the hole? why? It looks MORE PROFESSIONAL". It
removes any ‘bur’ around the hole, to remove any extrusion of metal
from drilling through from the other side. It gives a neater
appearance, it also aids in polishing, the partially opened hole
allows the ‘grunge’ to fall out into the soni-cleaner. It also gives a
’finish’ to the drilling process. So when the polishing tradesperson
cleans the ring, the “azure hole” is also partially polished. I use a
round burr of number 012 or 014. Even if the holes is slightly off of
line, you can make the holes in line again by leaning one side of burr
to recalibrate the looking of the holes. Hence, a nice cleaner looking
ring. Some jewellery companies first look at the this and say this
setter cares about ‘his’ work! This is a part of MY setting process!

Hi Larry, I use differnt ways of laying out a pave:

1.- Having noticed the size of the diamonds, I trust my eyes and space
the marks for the drills ramdomly. Not the best arrange but the

2.- Figuring out a linear pattern. For instance, pave setting a
half-sphere surface, I mark the center first, then, given space for
the center stone, I divide the rest of the surface in a series of
circular rows a little wider than the stones to be set (say 1’9 mm for
stones of 1’7 mm) and space the diamonds in each row. Once all the
holes are done I set the diamonds row by row. If all the diamonds are
spaced equaly, regarding those in the adjacent rows and those within
the same row, the linear pattern is hardly noticeable when the work is

3.- If the pave involves stones that vary in size and I’ve been asked
to set them as close as posible, almost girdles touching, I go
through the bother of spreading a thin layer of bees wax (applying
some heat to the jewel and rubbing a piece of wax on the surface to
be set) and I stick the stones to the surface table facet down, trying
the best possible arrange, and after noting down their position,
remove them, one by one, marking its position. This is a lot time
consuming, but the results are very accurate.

However, for quick stimations of how many diamons of more or less
equal size can go in a given surface, I use the second way, this is
to mentally divide the surface in rows of stones.

Hope this can help. English is not my language. In Spanish I could
give you a better explantion.Bye. Fernando, Spain.

Okay Ricky Low and others on Orchid! If you all go to my web-site and look into “Galleries” and then tap into
the months of “June & July”, you will all see how I have been doing
this VERY SAME METHOD. I use this “wax system” always. I use bee’s wax
and the results are just what the ‘setter’ wanted. No guessing, no
wondering of spacing, nuttin! Just remove the inverted “table down"
stone with tweezers gently, and voila! But to have the wax stick to
the object, I slightly heat up the item with a bench alcohol lamp and
let the wax run and build up. If you apply the wax to the cold item,
it (wax)will peel off before you apply any diamonds!!! I use
"PRO-CUT” wax made by Grobet File of America. Now Ricky and others, be
very sure you allow for “bead spacing” at this juncture of the
preparation. Its nice to figure out where the stone is to be placed,
but what’s gonna happen if you forget all about the beads? This is
just where experience finds itself. I suggest a few ‘test’ strips of
metal and or maybe a silver ring with no holes. You’ll be absolutely
amazed how easy this will become after a few tests. Now comes the next
part of, its that of drilling the “almighty hole”, do not use a fairly
large twist drill. I use now a measured .98mm drill, nothing larger or
you might drill away all of the metal for the stone to ‘sit’ on/in. If
you use a thinner drill, it might break it in the metal and you might
have tunz of fun removing it…:>( So this step of spacing and
drilling is more than 1/3 of your preparations. If this procedure is
done well, it will make your life that much easier in setting pave’.
Do not rush yourself and make do with just any layouts, its a “pure
thinking” step. Let me know how things work out,eh?..gerry, the
cyber-setter / teacher / orator / writer / explainer / maven!..:>)

Hello cyber- Gerry Yes, it is a time comsuming method using wax so
another way I use is I get an erasing shield like they sell at any art
or drafting supply for about 15 cents. It is a small, thin rectangle
of metal with holes in it used to cover areas of drawings to
selectively use an eraser. What I do is add a few holes in it the size
of the stones to set and then use it like a stencil with a sharpie
marker and mark little dots the size of my stones on the piece and lay
it out optically that way and punch into the center of the black
circle left from this stencil. If it has to be really clean work, you
can take another slightly larger circle that would represent the bead
circle or space between the stones and mark it with a pencil, so that
I have a line circle with a solid circle inside it, this way insuring
that the spaces between the stones are also the same size and you get
an even and uniform look. I don’t have time to set pave’ anymore
anyway. HTH