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Setting melee for best effect?

Hi! First-time poster, here (and hopefully I’m doing this right). I’m
getting ready to set stones in a wedding band I carved. The
recipient provided a family wedding band for materials with 8 lil
diamond chips - these are the only stones they want in the ring.

They also wanted didn’t want any undercutting in the ring, so the
tiny stones (1.15-1.25mm) will be gypsy set into a thick, sculpted
band (between 2.5-3.5mm). Am I okay to drill all the way through to
get light behind these little guys? If I drill through, there’s
still going to be a finger in the way of any backlighting. How do I
make these setting not look completely dead?

Also, I’m pretty fresh out of school and haven’t worked with
gold/diamonds much. Let me know if my terminology is as wrong as my


Flush or gypsy set is a good style of setting for a smooth finish. A
prevalent misnomer is that diamonds need light from the bottom and
sides to shine. That is not the case. The light coming out of a
diamond is the light that goes in from the top. That’s why cut is
important. You can test this by trying to get a different result with
the diamond loose and then with the bottom covered. Push it into
putty or cover the bottom with your fingers. No change. Look up
diamond cut and you will find pics of how light travels through the
stone. Pretty interesting. This is not the same for colored gems. One
thing that can be bad is burning something behind the diamond. Very
hard to get out, don’t do that.

Gypsy is a fussy way of setting. The hole for the gem needs to be
tight, almost a press fit and not to deep or its hard to get the
metal to move enough to tightly hold the gem in. Might n be a good
one to practice in silver unless you’ve done a couple before. Find a
burr just the right size or a hair under then carefully make it big
enough the gem just fits.

You need to make a tool as well. A small steel pusher for setting
that has a rounded end. Should be fun. Go for it

I'm getting ready to set stones in a wedding band I carved. The
recipient provided a family wedding band for materials with 8 lil
diamond chips - these are the only stones they want in the ring.

There are potato chips, corn chips, no diamond chips. Either rough or
faceted diamonds.

Brandon- The holes behind diamonds aren’t about light. Modern,
properly cut diamonds will shine bright with out the holes behind.
The holes are for getting the stones clean. Look at all of the micro
pave stuff that is out there. No pilot holes. Still bright. Before
modern cutting technology diamonds needed all the light they could
get. Especially before electric lights. Very fine older jewelry had
ajour behind the stones to let in more light, and as a sign of fine
craftsmanship. Tim and I still do it today just for the sake of
making the inside of the ring as pretty as the outside even though
it’s not really needed.

If you are new to this game and the diamonds have great sentimental
value to the customer I would recommend that you have a professional
who specializes in setting diamonds do the setting part for you.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

There are potato chips, corn chips, no diamond chips. Either rough
or faceted diamonds. 

Except that there are, on some very cheap junk, or especially some
antique jewelry, diamonds that really are best described as chips.
Not whole crystals, not facetted, but often thin cleavage “slices”.
In short, chips. Usually quite tiny. Not round. often triangular or
partly so. A pain in the rear to replace when one falls out, since
finding something that not only matches, but fits the prior setting
(adjusted by the first setter to fit the shape of the original) You
can cheat and just set a similar sized single cut or better, rose
cut. But these never look quite the same.


Hi Jo- aspiring smith here- you used the term ajour, which I
promptly lookedup- I was wondering what kind of ajour you use behind
your stones. Thanks for furthering my knowledge! Jean

You may be sorry you brought this up Brandon.

This was a recent topic on another forum and I posted my method for
flush setting a small round, faceted stone. I hope nobody minds me
re-posting it here. In my experience everyone does everything a
little differently. So I’m certainly NOT saying that this is the
best or only way to flush set rounds. It’s just how I do it and even
I don’t do it this way all the time. It’s just one way and you may
find it of some use?

Drill a hole with a twist drill smaller than the diameter of the
stone. Usually all the way through for future clean-out but
sometimes just deeper than the culet if no hole in the back is
wanted. I use twist drills with 3/32" shafts so I can use a quick
release hand-piece.

Then select a ball bur just a hair smaller than the diameter of the
stone. You want to stone to almost fall in the hole, but not quite.
Cut the hole deep enough to clear the pavilion, the stone is not
going to rest on this seat. People use setting, bud, cone or
whatever bur they prefer. I use ball burs.

Select a 90 degree (or 70 degree depending on the stone angles) hart
bur and cut a bearing (or seat) down inside the edge of the hole
created by the ball bur. The idea is to cut a bearing the same
diameter as the stone, not much bigger at all. You want the stone to
be almost tight when you lay it in the seat. The bearing needs to be
deep enough into the hole to leave you a little bit of flat wall
surface as a lip at the top. A good way to think of it is you want
the table of the stone to end up flush or just fractionally
recessed. Mostly so you have adequate material to secure the stone
but also to offer some small protection. Plus you want the customer
to be able to wear the piece for years without wearing away the
securing bit of metal.

Now that the seat/bearing is cut you have to get the stone in. Lots
of people click them in. They sort of lay them in so half of the
stone is in the bearing and then push the other side in with a
graver. That’s okay but you may chip a few stones. I like to cut the
upper edge of the hole, with that same ball bur, just the right size
so the stone fits in with a little friction but so I can use a
fingernail to get it in the seat. If it’s a fragile stone I will use
a point, a broken bur shaft with the pointed end rounded polished
that is in a wooden handle, to run around half of the bearing to
lift it very slightly. Then you can lay the fragile stone in with no
friction at all.

Now that the stone is in and flush but is a little loose. The
tightening process is both intended to secure the stone and give you
a beautiful finished look. You are after a bezel or edge that is
high polished and beveled slightly. If you goofed and cut your seat
too big so the stone is flopping around (not good) you will first
need to go around it lightly with a hammer hand-piece until nearly
tight (followed up with careful rubber wheeling to smooth). Then I
use those points again to go around the bezel, I push fairly hard
against the metal but not down on the stone (no slipping!). You just
go around the stone to tighten and make it look good. With practice
you can do it on fragile stones without damaging them. You can also
use the back of a flat graver, polished and pulled backwards so it
burnishes instead of cuts. You want the stone tight with a somewhat
substantial high polished, perfectly round bezel.

Like everything else, all of this takes tons of practice. Hope that


Hi Mark & all on Orchid!

Here is my version based & is somewhat different than your technique
in Gypsy/Flush setting. I use a “Right-Sided” (shaped) Onglette #1 or
#2 to do the inside Bright-Cutting.

I don’t do ‘burnishing’…just my style & taste. Bright-Cutting
gives more luster & finish to the inside of the stone setting circle.
I fully respect your techniques, but I’ll never to say that my way is
better! The attached essays were printed some years ago for the
’Bench" (now out of print) magazine. The advertising is directly from
the reprinted pages…:>)

Gerry Lewy