Reply, Non-calibrated stones


I am not a great goldsmith, but like you, I buy stones and then have to
have a setting. I, too, would be interested in the voice of experience
telling us how far you can fudge a calibrated setting. Sometimes you
can’t stretch the prongs out (or in) far enough, but often the belly of
the stone won’t fit in the gallery. With 10x12 and larger usually you can
go 0.5mm or a little more either way on either dimension. My advice would
be to find a caster in your area with a stock of waxes and work with that
person. First, it is much easier to take the stone to the wax and set it
in and look. This will give you a pretty good idea of what will go. The
casting will be a little smaller, not much, ask your caster how much.

Second, if you learn a little wax work (don’t need anything more to start
than some junk waxes to practice with, a dental tool or two, and an
alcohol lamp) you can modify the settings to fit. If the stones are
rectangular or emerald cut, you might be able to take a four prong
mounting in wax and make a solid wall out of the two prongs on the short
side. Then you have a sort of a tension setting. It is pretty easy to do,
or maybe the caster will do it cheap. He is spruing up anyway and has the
tools handy to clean up the waxes as he does so. If you can find a
pendant or head that will fit, it isn’t too difficult to learn to put a
shank around it. If you get good, you can take a four prong basket
setting in wax and cut a 10x14 in half, cut a little out, and make an 8x
14 for that tourmaline. although the rule you see in the books is always
to make the wax perfect, you are doing good to get the basket wires back
together, and if the joins aren’t perfect, it may be easier to fix when it
is in metal, even after it is tumble polished, which may remove the fins,

One could go on . . . implicit in all of what I am saying is the
assumption that money is tight. Much of what I have set is $1 to $10/ct
wholesale. If you are setting more expesive goods, you may be putting
them in ladies rings, say, which are heavier, 6+gms. With these, and a
little more cash, you can get a wax worker to modify more easily. There
is usually more gold surface and it is easier to add a prong or move it,
usually in the wax. With the cheaper goods and lower margins, it pays to
know what sizes your caster has lots of waxes for, what you can fudge,
etc. Then you don’t buy that 5.5mm heart with no notch, even if it is
real pretty. Also consider the time you will spend looking for the wax.
My caster has a case full of 3000 waxes mounted on the wall. They are in
some order, but sometimes it is necessary to look all over, then pull the
wax from the stock drawer, try it, etc. Might be cheaper to buy
calibrated or send your goods overseas to be recut to fit . . . if you are
working on many pieces alike.

Roy (Jess)

Depending on the type of setting you are using, and the degree to which it
needs to be modified, sometimes all it takes is a piece of wire or sheet
and a torch. Many times I have enlarged a basket setting by cutting the
section to be lengthened and soldering in a new wire of the proper length.
Other times, if you need to shorten a setting, just clip out the desired
amount of wire and zap it together. Presto! Use the same method for
bezel type mountings, except you use sheet instead of wire. To help
re-form some shapes get assorted shape bezel mandrels and use them to help
reshape the new setting.

Hope this helps!
Heather Sickler
Intrica Fine Jewelry
ICQ# 5421116

Good insights… thank you, and thanks to all who’ve been responding… My
situation is I receive stones to sell on behalf of the cutters… some are
hard to sell, even though they are pretty… now I understand why!

I’ve gotten some great advice on list and off… and have compiled the
following approaches:

Go to someone who does custom work
Go to someone who can modify existing settings

Adjust the wax myself to fit the stones I have (or have someone else do
that) and offer them with the stone… or have it cast and set, instead of
offering it loose.

Have the better (and larger) stones recut – especially if it would
create a better stone in the process! (like a 6.25 ct aqua with a
slightly pregnant belly that’s 12.3 x 11 now!)

Use the inexpensive stones in fun, creative settings I do myself in
silver just for the pleasure of doing it! Doesn’t work out… no huge
loss… does work… someone can enjoy it!

Offer the less costly off sizes as preforms to new cutters for practice

thank you all!

| Carol J. Bova @Carol_J_Bova |
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