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
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