Setting pear & heart shaped faceted stones


I have just recently joined Orchid and have been bumping around in
the articles etc.I’m looking for info on how to set in bezels or
prong faceted stones with heart or pear shapes. I work in silver, for
now anyway. I can pick up most techniques fairly quickly, a shove in
the right direction would be helpful.


Hi Kent,

I'm looking for info on how to set in bezels or prong faceted
stones with heart or pear shapes 

Have you looked in at any of the many videos here on Ganoksin? There
are several videos I have seen where a bezel was used for pear and
marquee set stones. I have not seen any heart shapes being set, but
it may be worth your while to check some of the videos out. There
are specifically two very talented metalsmiths that have MANY videos
posted of their work and their processes. This may give you some
inspiration on how to fabricate some settings. Also I would
recommend for you to obtain a copy of “The Complete Metalsmith” by
Tim McCreight, if you do not own one already. The basic Metalsmithing
techniques are covered very nicely and there is a new video addition
out too, which I hear is very well done.

This is my take on it.

With pear shapes you have the point and then the rest of it. With
hearts you have the point and the cleft and then the rest of it. I’ll
come back to that.

Starting with pears in prongs here. When you set the stone you will
be nestling it down into your seat (which you have already cut). You
could set the heel first and then nestle the point down into its
seat. Trouble is this may put a lot of pressure on the point, the
most easily damaged part of the stone. Keep in mind that the point
prong is often a V prong that is at an angle when viewed from the
side. The deeper you nestle the point, the closer into the main body
that portion of the prong gets, the more pressure you put on the
point. OR, the deeper you nestle the point, the further towards the
heel you shove the stone.

If you have cut the seats a bit uneven (sometimes its hard to tell
just by looking, Pears often have a deep belly and slight differences
between left and right make a big difference in how the stone seats
in the prongs), by setting the point last you can make NO adjustments
to try to correct this misalignment.

I like to cut the point seat first. I have no formula for how high
up the V prong to make it, I just eyeball it. But generally I lay the
stone in the uncut prongs, note the relative position of the girdle,
then figure the stone will come down anywhere from one to two MM,
depending. Depending on what, he said? My answer is, depending on a
lot of considerations that you’ll eventually get the hang of.

OK, the point seat is cut. Next tentatively pinch in the walls of
the V prong enough to form a stop. Lay the stone back in and the
point will rise no further up the prong than where you made the stop.
This is your reference point for all further seat cutting. You will
bring the seats lower, a little bit at a time till the stone sits
level and true and firm from all angles. Got it just right? Good, go
ahead and bend the prongs and finish it off.

One down.

Hearts. Here you have the extra complication of the cleft. Which
means you have TWO constant points to anchor. If your setting has a
prong actually IN the cleft it gets tricky. Cut point and cleft seats
first, paying close attention to level when viewed from the side.
Again, cut and fit, cut and fit. A slight bit of extra prong pressure
can tilt it out of whack noticeably. so pull all prongs in a little
bit at a time. This allows you to make corrections before its too
late. You may have to pull the stone in order to make a correction
cut on a prong. However, once the prong bends X amount you may not be
able to pull the stone without some major distortion of the work
you’ve done to this point. If there is no prong in the cleft just
handle it like a pear. Anchor the point, level down to that point.

Bezels. Life is a little simpler here.

On a pear, I would still start at the point, but for an additional
reason. And that is slack in the bezel. With a round or oval stone,
there is no single concentration point for slack. Some people might
describe it as excess metal. You are basically making a larger
perimeter smaller so you wind up with slack material, its gotta go
somewhere. On a pear if you start your bezel pushing at the heel, by
the time you get to the point you’ve got a considerable amount of
slack with no where to hide it…ugly point. But if you start your
pushing at the point you have the whole rest of the stone to
compensate. Nail down the point, then move to the heel directly
opposite, then mush your way at each of the clock hours in such a way
that you’re not accumulating slack. That’s probably not the clearest
way to explain it, sorry.

Heart in a bezel. This is tricky. You have your two anchor points
BUT you may find that when you push the bezel at the shoulders your
cleft pops out! In this case I would consider starting at the point
and rolling your way along, sequentially so to speak, so that you
deliberately accumulate slack that you can then ‘stuff’ into the
cleft. This is very dependent on the particular stone. The fatter the
belly and/or rounder the cleft, the more it tends to pop out the
cleft. Bear this in mind when selecting stones.

Simple. One, two, three, right? Yeah, take your coffee break now.

Please note, No voodoo or rocket science was used in the making of
this post. Analyze what’s happening as you explore your way along.

Hello all,

Well, I think I know what to do with the setting…somewhat at
least, I do understand the “slack” or “quilting” of the metal when
doing a bezel. The fitting/ trying of the seat angles & girdle cut
makes sense too.

Now, with non-standard sized stones I’d like to be able to fabricate
my own settings…glutton for punishment I guess.

My solder skills are pretty good and I’ve made tube, prong, bezel
settings for round stones with pretty good success. Now any help
with a tutorial or illustrated image fabricating mostly prong
settings of the pears etc. would be most helpful. Perhaps there is
some archived material here I’ve not seen yet on this site? Thanks
for your valuable


Ok, I’ll bite again.

First, look at your stone. How steep a belly does it have? How thick
is the girdle? Does it have a big window?

When you make the top rail it should be somewhat smaller than the
dimensions of the stone. How much smaller depends on the belly. What
you have to do is tuck the top rail under the outline of the stone
but this may be restricted by a steep belly and the gauge of wire you
plan to use. Of course you’re going to cut the top rail on its inner
surface to clear the belly but you need to plan relative sizes with
that cutting in mind. Cut too much trying to stuff that stone in and
you weaken the setting. Sometimes its advisable to use flat or square
wire, since you’re going to wind up with a triangular cross section
anyway, the extra width helps for strength.

You can make a V prong several ways. Solder or weld two flat wires
to make the V then grind it to its tapered shape. You could start
with a square wire and grind that to shape too. It might be feasible
to fold a strip but you’d need tolling for that. The advantage to
using square is you have just eliminated a solder seam on a component
that will get soldered again, and you don’t have to bend a soldered
joint over a potentially fragile stone. But its a fair amount of

You may opt for a single round wire prong, or two or three wires
clustered together.

Cut appropriate recesses in the top rail to nestle your round wire
prongs into. When soldering the prongs on, I like to use a full
length of straightened wire and set it up with a couple of third
hands, kind of in midair, so I can check alignment from all angles.
By using a long length you can more easily eyeball for proper
alignment. You can use an adjustable protractor til you get the feel.
Solder one prong, cut and re-setup. Keep the same angle on all the
prongs, or at least consistent with their relative location.

I’ve read about stabbing shorter prongs into a soft charcoal block
but I have two problems with that. 1) the prongs are so short you
can’t get a good feel for alignment because you can’t really SEE
what’s going on. 2) Soft charcoal gives you just one shot at
stabbing. You can’t easily adjust angles. 3) Charcoal burns away and
the wires can shift if you take too long at heat. OK it was three,
shoot me.

After you’re satisfied with the ‘spider’ as I call it, you’re next
move is to attach a bottom rail. If its a pendant or earring, no
sweat just make a smaller pear shape wire that fits the prong
bottoms. If its a ring center you have to consider that when you
grind to finger size you are cutting away significant material. Two
ways to approach this. Make your small pear wire and essentially dap
it in a forming block or use ring bending pliers. Adjust and fuss as
you see fit(pun intended). This will likely give you a slim bottom
rail. If it works for you design that’s fine.

Sometimes you want the look of many ring castings where the bottom
rail is kind of massive by comparison. You can use flat wire for
this. If you’re slick and the stone is big enough you could then
taper your bottom rail in a pear shaped bezel block. If no block,
just remember to use a thick enough flat wire to accommodate all the
grinding you may have to do to get a nice sleek shape.

If for some reason your top rail is visible when you lay the stone
in and view face up, you can take a short cut if shortcuts are OK in
your book, Grind a bevel to the top rail so you are not looking down
onto a wide surface that is perpendicular to line of sight. What
you’re doing here is making the reflection thinner, fooling the eye.
The eye doesn’t see everything, it sees the most notable things.

A thick girdle will have an impact on wire gauge for prongs…thicker
girdle needs thicker wire unless you’re OK with just cutting a
minimal seat and wrapping the wire around the stone. Not my
preference but I’ve seen it done countless times. Its not pretty.

The window in the stone has an impact on how much taper to build
into the profile of the completed setting. If the window is huge you
might want to keep your bottom rail away from the window, which mean
less angle to the profile or shorter prongs. Both of those are
related to the pavilion depth and bulginess, your hands may be tied
so you make the best compromise you can. If you’re dealing with a
window, and most of the time you are, polish the daylights out of the
inside of the setting, not so much for brightness as for smoothness.
Nothing worse than seeing ginks thru the table, although I see that
frequently in commercial stuff.

OK, I’m going to lunch now.

Dear all

There are two items of setting notes that appeared to be missing,
height/depth and the points. I’d like to dwell on these two items
now, if you please. As for the depth of each stone, I’d like to
explain in these “setting notes” are in great detail as they are very
important. I have taught my students that the setter/jeweller must
have the stone be at least 1/3 rd lower that the tip of the claw.
So if the claw/prong is of some considerable height, don’t leave it a
mile high, reduce it!!! The upper 1/3rd is as I call it “my working
height”, why so?

After filing the claw tips to shape, pushing metal over that claw
and subsequent finishing as polishing, the remainder will be
sufficient for security. You just can’t expect the stone to stay in
the ring if the overhanging metal is paper-thin, do you?

The next point to discuss is the point of any Marquise, Heart-Shape,
Princess are the dangerous points of those delicate stones. So how
are we to overcome this dilemma? Very easy, obtain a round bur that
is the correct thickness of that girdle and drill in at least 1/3rd
into the claw, why so much? Isn’t there going to be a space inside of
the claw…YES !!!

This space is needed for one reason, and here it is. When you are
doing all of the folding over of the metal, you must not have any
touching of the stone to be making contact with the metal. This is my
whole purpose, you can now do what ever you need to do without the
danger of chipping of any corner point, diamond or genuine stone.
Without this deep space in the claw, you will be running an excellent
chance of total stone breakage.

Next item, is how wide should this burr-hole be? Enough that the two
sides of this hole should envelope and touch the two sides of the
girdle, leaving the point totally free. Once you, the bench
crafts-person have the skill under their belt, any cornered stone is
very easy to set, trust me…:>)

One more thing, try not to have the finished claw tips having the
height above the surface of the stones “table-facet”. The customer
might be complaining of metal cutting her fingers as this is a