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My first gypsy setting


I’m a hobby jeweler working mainly in Sterling. I am about to try my
first gypsy setting in a silver ring. I have various stones, oval as
well as round. My reference books (Tim McCreight and Oppi Untracht)
both explain the process clearly, but only on round stones. My
question then is " can I set an oval faceted garnet in a gypsy
setting? ". Any help or advice would be appreciated

John Bowling

My question then is "can I set an oval faceted garnet in a gypsy

Only you know the answer to this question. Gypsy setting is not
particularly difficult, but I would not recommend it as a first

Leonid Surpin.


How I’ve done it is I trace the shape of the stone where I want to
set it in the metal. I then drill one or two holes (depending on size
of stone) and following that I take a cone bur and bur out the
rounded part of the stone, until the girdle just barely sits above
the setting for it. Then I take a sharp graver, and carefully with a
light touch remove enough metal for the pointy parts. I then take a
hart bur around the area to be set, but underneath the top surface
part of the metal. Since points can be fragile with pear and square
cut stones, I take a small round bur and hollow out the area where
the point will sit. Leave a lip of metal to burnish over the stone
once you’ve got it in the setting. For ovals, use a cone bur at each
end of the oval, and use a graver to make the resulting figure 8 an
oval. Then use a hart bur to make the seat. Some folks like to use
flex shaft hammers, to hammer the metal around the top of the stone,
but personally I find these alarming.

There was a fabulous jeweler in Mason City, IA, who was a complete
expert at these kinds of settings. He showed me a ring he made with
white gold and colored different shaped diamonds. It was beautiful.
I’ve seen him on the orchid list, maybe he’ll respond to your


Round will be much easier, because a round setting bur will mill out
a nice round hole for you to set into. Not so with oval. Don’t have
setting burs? Get some.


I feel almost obligated to reply after Susannah’s flattery. Yes, it
is possible to set stones other then round in this style. I don’t
mean to squash the aspirations of a budding jeweler but I must agree
with Leonid and Mlou, inlay or gypsy setting is a more advanced
technique, (even for round stones). Susannah has it right in a nut
shell, not exactly the way I do it, but there is more then one way
to peal an orange. As with all setting, precision of fit is
important, vitally so in this technique. The seat under the stone,
the depth into the metal, and opening for the stone must all be dead
on accurate before you even think about burnishing! Only you know the
skill of your hands. If you feel you are ready, then go for it. If
you cut to big or to deep, start over, really, you can’t fix it and
do a good job. If what Susannah says is true, it is only because I
have made the requisite number of mistakes.

David Lee, CMBJ
david lee jeweler