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Polishing before and after setting

I have noticed that after setting of stones, the jewelry once again
gets scratches and marks. Then why is polishing before setting
necessay. Wont it serve to polish the piece at the end and thus save
on the gold.


Hi Rahul,

It is important to polish the pieces before setting to remove the
deeper scratches and marks which would otherwise be risky once the
stones have been set. If the setter is good, he will be careful
while setting and the few very superficial marks that you do get
will not be soooo much of a loss while finishing the piece again.
And of course you will have a better finished piece… After all
that is what your aim is, isn’t it???

Good luck

Rahul, the major reason why I will polish jewelery before setting
stones is to have acess to the areas under the stones. I frequently
compramise by only polishing the areas where stones are to be set
prior to setting the stones, then polishing the entire piece after
the stones are set.


We polish the seats and under the heads thouroughly after cutting
and before setting to make sure we have the best possible finish
under the stone. Once it is set, it’s realy hard to go back under
there and fix any scratch or polish issues.

As for the rest of the piece, I just find it easier to see what I am
doing and make sure everything is right before I set by having
everything clean. It helps avoid using the wrong “mark” when trying
to set things level and square.



there is a good reason for pre-polishing.

If you do a fair polish before stone setting and then a final polish
afterwards it: saves you polishing wear and tear on prongs (and
pulling stones out) and bezels saves your stones from heavy polishing
which can abrade and scratch many stones.

sometimes a good whirl with a bristle brush (remember that post!)
will get rid of your heavier marks of stone setting (they are small
and can polish a localized area) and a nice light buff with a soft
buff on the buffer for that final bright shine.

some people even choose to do their prelimiary buff on the buffer
with a red rouge which then needs to be cleaned off before buffing
(the red rouge will contaminate a finer polishing buff) and then do a
final bull (which can be done after the stones are set) Red rouge
is very abrasive and will leave a finish that looks like a very light
sanding on your jewelry.

I always do my final finishing buff with a product caled ZAM…it
works wonderfully on any metal.

-julia potts
julia potts studios

    I have noticed that after setting of stones, the jewelry once
again gets scratches and marks. Then why is polishing before
setting necessay. Wont it serve to polish the piece at the end and
thus save on the gold. 

If you are leaving scratches and marks after setting stones, I
suggest you use your polishing equipment on your setting tools to
remove the scratches and marks on them that are causing the problem.
Pliers, prong pushers, bezel setters, etc. can all be polished to
reduce the amount of marks and scratches they may otherwise leave

Also, you may want to consider using agate burnishers for certain
stone setting operations. Any lapidary can make several to your
specifications. As long as they are well polished, scratching of
your metal will be minimal.

James in SoFl


With some stones it is fine to polish after setting the stone
however, there are many stones that may get damaged in the polishing
process and it is therefore best to do as much polishing as possible
before setting them. Ways that stones get damaged include getting
scratches, grooves, cracks and chipping. Also, I have seen faceted
stones that have been damaged during polishing as the sharp edges
have been worn down.

R.R. Jackson

Another reason to prepolish–along w/ all those already given- is
that it really allows you to check the piece out for symmetry, flow
and fluid line, crisp transitions etc. If something is out of whack,
you can take care of it fairly easily, compared to having to work
around stones.


Rahul, I think that you could just polish the parts that would be
hard to get at, before setting, and do the outer edges after setting.
But you might find that you had missed spots, later, that would not
be easy to reach after setting. If you analyze your designs
carefully, this might work. But it would probably only be worth your
while if this was for a production piece, not a one-of-a-kind.

For things like prong settings, you must polish before setting. It
is not possible to reach into the crown to fully polish when the
stone is in place.

M’lou Brubaker, Jeweler
Goodland, MN