Hi Jane; My 2cents on the invisible setting issue. I had a friend who
went to a workshop in California to learn how to work with these
beasts. Here’s the secret. . .
They have a diamond cutter sitting next to them to custom fit stones
where it is required, which I would guess would be about when it was
time to get the last stone in the channel.
When these pieces were uncommon, they were, as you say, in the
province of the great “Old Houses”. Now the look is hot, which means
every hack manufacturer who thinks he can pull it off will have a go
at it. You’re seeing the results. When I have worked on these
pieces, if I could even get a stone to fit, I would cut away the
outside channel by the stone, slip it into place, and solder a small
strip to replace the metal I’d removed. That way, I didn’t have to
put pressure on a stone that was snug up against another stone (which
has a notch in the girdle!). My vote would be to go over every
piece of inventory before you accept it, find out who’s stuff is
slip-shod, and avoid it. Meanwhile, rely on the manufacturer to
correct problems with their product.