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Setting faceted stones


I am a beginner trying to learn how to set some faceted stones I
have. I have a diagram from my class but we are in summer break
and I ran into a problem. I have tried to set three stones and so
far I can’t seem to get it right. I’ve already broke one prong
and I fear of breaking them all. Could anyone point me in the
right direction for help? Or offer some tips on cutting the
prongs. I think I’m not cutting them right.



Hello Lorisa, Is it possible you’ve cut the prongs too thin? Cut
about a third of the way thru and down far enough for the stone
to sit well below the top of the prong. I don’t want to go
against your instructor, but if you need to spread the prongs a
bit to make a stone fit, cut the seat first. The prongs come
very evenly spaced from the factory so you will cut into them
evenly. You don’t want three thick and one thin. When you push
the prongs down you just need contact with the stone, you do not
need firm contact. Remember, the best way to get good at setting
is to do a lot of setting. Have fun! Tom Arnold


Hi all - I got a chance to see the large, 13.something carat Eight
Star Diamond that is touring the country yesterday. Very nice
diamond - I really liked the cut, and the way it reflected color and
light back out. Gorgeous. However it was in what I considered to
be a pretty clunky setting, and in discussing this with the clerk
(they offered to re-set it at no charge in any setting I wanted if I
bought it - for $2.3 million they should!!) she mentioned that
all the light enters through the top of the stone.

I am fairly new to setting stones, and don’t deal at all with
diamonds, but I have a couple of questions that haven’t been
completely answered with a search of the archives. When I set
colored gemstones I do feel that a completely closed setting results
in the stone reflecting less light back out at the viewer. Is this
true, or a misperception on my part? Or is there a difference
between diamonds and colored Or is it a difference in
the quality of the stone and its cutting? I don’t see how, from a
purely physical standpoint, light can NOT enter from the sides and
bottom if they are open. Maybe I just don’t understand the physics
of the facets and how they reflect light back out?

Clarification would be greatly appreciated - as I design more
settings myself, I need to know more about how to maximize the
brilliance of the stones.

Beth in SC


Beth, Each stone will reflect light back to the viewer due to facets
and the refractive index of the stone, diamonds, CZ, Strontium
titanate and some others have a high RI (refractive index) others do
not have high RI and do not look as brilliant or as much sparkle. An
open setting will allow light to come in from the side and =93Light up=
the stone just as much as light from the top, until you get to
certain RI ranges and then it will not as much, it is really pretty
complicated and I can give you more info if you like off the board,
but some people say I explain things too much and loose the point.

Aaron A Tracy
Graduate Gemologist


Beth , that diamond [the American Star] is one of the single most
incredible objects of the gem arts on this planet .It took about a
year to plan and cut the stone , one difficult facet took three days
to polish alone . I have held it in my hand , loose before it was set
. Eightstar diamonds [ any size/quality] are unique in that they
return ~100% of light , above the girdle ,back to your eye . Many
diamonds [ round , that is to say brilliant cut] return enough light
[if not the 100%] that they can be set down into the metal with no
apparent loss of brilliance . All other stones must be judged on an
individual basis . Hold them over white paper , do they lose color ?
. Drop the stone into the groove between adjacent fingers , does the
color concentrate ? You can get a “feel” for the amount of light
leakage by placing a gem upside down over print , and seeing how much
print you can see through the gem . Given time and experience you can
learn which settings can enhance the stone , it depends on the gem
material and cutting of each stone , enclosing will cocentrate color
, exposing will lighten , you can combine effects with a raised
setting and recess behind the stone .

Mark Clodius