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Setting rectangular stones

I am making an earring and pendant set out of a very lovely lilac
blue, lace agate from Nevada.

The stones that I’ve cut are pretty much rectangular and each has
one edge that includes a series of crystals which I’m leaving in
place. I also cut the stones in sort of a pillow shape.

Can anyone give me advice as to how to fit the stones so they are
secure in a band?

My customer wants a sterling band around each stone. If necessary I
can drill into the stone for added security.

Derek Levin

I’d love to see the stones. Can you give us a picture?

I search for stones with visible crystals, not always easy to find,
like yours, and I like to set them so the crystals show. For
example, I make a sterling bezel, even a partial bezel, and leave the
area with the crystals open. I don’t see the need for drilling holes
but a little epoxy is a good idea. Makes for a very natural setting,
appreciated by real gem lovers. Have you got any more of these that
you might want to part with? I’m a taker.


Derek, for some good instructions on setting rectangular or
trapezoidal cabs, see William Garrison and Merle Dowd’s book,
Handcrafting Jewelry (1972), pp.38ff. and 101ff.

Judy Bjorkman

but a little epoxy is a good idea 

Epoxy and stone setting should never be in the same sentence. Unless
it’s inlay. A well prepared setting job will never need epoxy.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

Hi Derek,

We used to do a of of this with cabs I cut…although we primarily
used gold.

Please consider making a solid-backed bezel, with rather thin bezel
edges. Then get some hi-temp liquid gasket material from your local
auto supply. It will act not only as a very strong adhesive, but will
also provide some cushioning for the stone as it is flexible when
cured. It is impervious to heat, water, etc., as well, a real
shortcoming of many other adhesives over time.

The thinner-than-usual bezel walls will be a easier to turn over the
stone and look a little better (IMO).

Used with opal or other somewhat fragile stones, the cushioning
quality can be a real plus, in my experience.

Wayne Emery

Though several people have suggested bezel, it’s not something my
customer and I want to do because we are determined to allow the
light through the stone in the earrings. At the risk of a pun, that
is when this particular blue lace agate truly shines. I does so
because some when the light passes through some of the striations,
it glows in pinks and blues with the combination leaving a lilac
glow, which is something we want to preserve. Also there is not a
flat back on the pillow shaped stone.


It sounds as though a simple wire frame that just captures the edge
of the stone, and fine wire prongs on both front and rear edges of
the stone would work, blocking light the least. Prongs on gemstones
in earrings need not be anywhere near as substantial, or noticeable
as on gems set into rings, etc.