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Settings odd shaped stones


Although I have a large supply of Jewelry books, none of them gives
sufficiently detailed on making prong settings for
unusual shaped faceted stones.

I need detailed on how to make settings for square,
marquise, trillian, and pear shaped stones—all of which have sharp

None of the books I have tell where and how to measure the stones to
make the seats. I know the sizes of my stones, but don’t know how to
translate this to the material being used for the
settings. Just knowing that a pear shaped stone is 13X9m around the
girdle is not much help if one does not know how to measure the metal
so that one will get a good fit, and not have the stone wobble around
in its setting.

In the illustrations in my books, some show round wire, some show
square wire, being used for the settings, but do not give any
measurements, nor do they tell how to measure the material being used
for the setting so that it fits the stone it will be used for.

Are there any books that give specific on making
settings for odd shaped stones?

Alma Rands


Alma ~ Sorry to repeat the old line ‘experience is a hard teacher,
she tests first and teaches afterwards’, therefore all of this
can be obtained by years of stone handling and setting
experience. Many years ago I found several very generous jewelers who
allowed me to lean over their shoulders and tutored me verbally as
they set stones, which was a priceless education. The size, shape,
cut and material will dictate the proper size of bezel or prongs
needed. Also, how will the piece function ? If it’s a ring then
perhaps a bezel will be more suited for setting the stone than prongs
would. For instance, a kite cut stone set with “v” prongs works
great. Emerald cut stones have rectangular prongs as a rule. But,
there are always exceptions based on what the look and feel of the
design is. I am constantly learning after over twenty five years in
our industry ! Good luck, and I hope you have many more replies to
your post !

Margie - www.mmwaxmodels - carving and setting in MN.

I need detailed on how to make settings for square,
marquise, trillian, and pear shaped stones---all of which have
sharp points. 

The reason you cannot find anything in the books is that it is an
advanced techniques. Books usually deal with beginner stuff. In
principal, there is not much difference between setting round stone
and square, but certain problems arise which need to be solved. I
have an order now for chrysoprase parure. Stones already in transit
and I should start work in a week or so. If client will not object, I
will post construction of the parure on my website. It is based on
pear shaped stones. May be it will provide some answers that you
looking for.

Leonid Surpin


First off, which books do you have? That way we will know which ones
not to recommend. [grin]

Personally having a very visual sort of brain I tend not to read the
text all that much but go straight to the pictures from which I
nearly always can deduce how a give result was achieved. So I
understand how one book will work for one person, but not for

I might add that a “basket” setting might be the easiest to
fabricate for odd sized stones.

Here’s how I do it: You will need two (I’ll use a round stone as an
example, for an oval stone you make the rings oval and so on) jump
rings, one that is the same outside diameter as the stone, and the
other about the diameter of the wire smaller than the first. Next you
make two Vs out of wire such that the stone will fit within the V
with enough wire above the girdle to secure the stone (don’t do
anything about that yet!). Set the Vs one inside the other so the
when seen from above or below you get a cross, now solder the points
of the V together, drop the small jump ring into the basket so
formed and fit it to the wires (ball burr/file four grooves into it
so the wires interlock with the basket wires), now when it fits
properly solder it into place, now do the same for the larger ring,
this one will become the seat for the stone. When this ring is
soldered into place you can cut the bearings for the stone and set

I think if you go the Hans Meevis’ website that there is a HIDI on
this, but can’t recall for sure. Ok, found it:

here he shows how to make a 6 claw version of what I described above,
slightly different technique, but I guess in this case all roads do
lead to Rome! (Thanks Hans for making this info so easy to access!)

Offcourse you wouldn’t actually set the stone prior to fitting the
setting to the piece your making and have everything polished etc.,
but you already knew that, right? [cheeky grin]

Cheers, Thomas Janstrom.
Janstrom Design.

I need detailed on how to make settings for square,
marquise, trillian, and pear shaped stones---all of which have
sharp points. 

Well, no Alma, not really. What you really need to know is how
settings are made, and after that it makes no difference what shape
the stone is - principles. The underbezel of any setting should be
something smaller than the diameter of the stone so it doesn’t show
when viewed from the top. A 13x9 stone would have around a 12x8
underbezel, maybe a tenth or two less. Then you make a 11x7 piece
for the bottom, prong it, and there’s your setting. There is no real
rule beyond that it’s not supposed to show anything but prongs and
stone from the top. Some like straight-sided settings, some like
extremely angled prongs, some like high, some like low (sometimes
the stone determines that). The details, including what sort of wire
is used, are largely a matter of style and taste, in other words.
The only important things are that the stone ~just~ doesn’t fit into
the prongs and that the culet doesn’t poke through the bottom. Making
nice settings is a real art…

Square settings are usually made by notching a wire and making a
little box, but they can also be more roughly made and then filed,
especially small ones. Marquise is two arcs of metal soldered

Trillian and triangles are done similar to square, generally. I’ve
made a triangle and punched the center with a dapping punch to make a
trillian… Pear is a wire bent around until the points meet, where
they are soldered together. Instead of trying to make a V-prong, I’ll
file a flat spot on the setting and put triangular stock, which I
make by filing down square stock. Then I’ll make the V into that
stock with a hart bur. Stronger and easier than trying to bend tiny
little V-prongs. All of them get filed for the details - prongs
tapered toward the bottom, angled underbezels and such. A nice
setting is crafted…


For things like marquis that have curved sides a quick sure way is
to make a simple ring with the same radius as the stone’s curved
sides. Use a circle template to find it. Then simply cut sections out
that correspond to the stones length except that you want the
completed top rail to be a bit smaller than the stone. How much
smaller? Enough so that when you look at the stone-in-setting face up
you do not see the top rail, yet not so small that you have to really
hog out the inside just to fit the pavilion.

Its probably a whole mess easier to cut the semi-formed material to
suit the stone than to try to predict what free length you need to
complete the shape and be dead on accurate. Fit and trim, not a diet

So in the case of the marquis you cut two semi circular segments
larger than what you think you need and place them on a flat surface
in the correct orientation. Remember that the outer edge of the wire
is going to be longer than the inner so allow extra material so you
get a nice crisp joint that meets all the way across the joint. If
its too wide and/or long simply file the flats on the cut ends til
its just right. As you reduce the length the width is accordingly
reduced too. Run your file so that its cutting both ends at the same
time, make the two segments identical. Then solder and go on from

For squares you can make a soldered jump ring and tap it onto a
square mandrel til its right. I’m not thrilled with this method as
the mandrel corners can cut into the wires and the outiside comes out
rounded. Alternately you could pierce it from a flat plate, this has
the benefit of no soldering to get the basic shape, but is somewhat
material wasteful. Personally I don’t give waste too much
consideration, its the final product I worry about. One less seam is
fine with me.

Just knowing that a pear shaped stone is 13X9m around the girdle is
not much help if one does not know how to measure the metal 

Again, form the metal then cut to fit, don’t worry about measuring
first. In this case I’d suggest make your top rail 12.5-12.7 x
8.5-8.7 depends on the stone belly and how high your prongs will be.
The way here is to form the basic pear shape, overlapping the ends
at the point, then saw in thru the point to form the joint. If its
still too big cut it again.


If I recall correctly John Cogswell’s book "Creative Stonesetting"
came out this past year. Perhaps it might be helpful, but I haven’t
read the book.



Thanks to all the generous, kind people who took time to respond to
my question about setting odd shaped stones… I appreciate all the
detailed you provided, and feel much better about setting
them… You have demistified much of the process for me.

I will practice in silver, with some inexpensive stones. When I feel
confident in my ability to make a setting that will not result in
chipped corners, and lopsided stones, I will dip into my precious
hoard of gold, and set my good stones. The high price of gold has me
totally intimidated about starting anything new.

I have ordered the Blaine videos on flush setting and diamond
setting, which were highly recommended, and it will be helpful to
see the work being done… Also,I appreciate the warning about the
Cogswell book. Unfortunately I have already ordered it, but will
exercise caution in using it as a guide.

Alma Rands

If I recall correctly John Cogswell's book "Creative Stonesetting"
came out this past year. Perhaps it might be helpful, but I
haven't read the book. 

I went out and bought that book after reading a glowing
recommendation. I am very disappointed with it. For my taste, there
are too few examples and, more to the point, they are not all that
creative. I expected much more. If someone wants to buy my copy, I’ll
give you a break on the price.



I read Leonid’s comments on any issue with great interest; on this
particular issue he’s offered, subject to his client’s approval, to
post construction details of a parure on his website. I do hope the
approval is given! I eagerly await the chance to see the fabrication

Although your comments are often acerbic, Leonid, I think you’ve
probably forgotten more than many of us will ever learn, and I very
much appreciate the time you, and other members of Orchid, donate to
all of us. And, of course, my very sincere gratitude to Hanuman and
all who make Orchid possible.

Jane Walker

Get John Cogswell's book on stonesetting. 

Well, I have also read this book and it gave me the that
I needed to be able to work with stones. And I have had several
jewelers who I respect also read the book and they thought the
presented was well-done, accurate, and that the book was
an excellent reference source. So I’ll keep treasuring my copy which
is starting to be a bit dog-eared from getting flipped though so

Sandra Graves

I appreciate the warning about the Cogswell book. Unfortunately I
have already ordered it, but will exercise caution in using it as a

Despite Leonid’s words of warning about John Cogswell’s book, I will
still be placing my order based on the many recommendations from
others on Orchid. Many well respected folk have sung its praises and
that’s good enough for me. As with anything, you read someone’s
book, try their techniques and perhaps adapt them to your own needs.


Echo! Echo! Cogswell's book is awesome. You won't regret the

So what about it (Cogwell’s book) that is awesome? Specifics on what
you find awesome would be more helpful.



As a beginner in stone setting, I’ve found Cogswell’s descriptions
of basic setting techniques to be perfect for me, thoroughly detailed
and complete. I can see that he would be an excellent teacher and
would love the oppty to take a class with him.

Under his guidance I’ve fabricated settings for and set a large
faceted trillian, a triangular cab, a square cab, and a rectangular
faceted chrome diopside. All of these have come out extremely well
and none show any sign of needing glue.


As I read over all the pros and cons of the Cogswell book on Stone
setting, I can see where some (not all, but some) who are experts in
setting odd shaped stones, and have done it for years tend to be in
the con group, while some (again, not all, but some) of those who are
at a more basic level in this area of jewelry making find the book
very valuable.

I have absolutely no problems with bezels, and tube setting, and
have made prong settings for round stones, and feel comfortable
working with them However, making settings for odd shaped stones with
fragile points is new to me, and I need the kind of basic information
which I understand I will find in the Cogswell book.

Also, I agree that knowing how to do it mentally, and actually doing
it are two different things, and that one has to get in there and do
it, and then do it again, and again. But,one needs a starting place,
and I hope that the Cogswell book will provide it.

I already have a good understanding of what is involved thanks to
all of you who took the time to send me detailed descriptions. Thank
you again for your generous sharing of

Alma Rands

Well, I have also read the book and it gave me the that
I needed to be able to work with stones. And I have had several
jewelers who I respect also read the book and they thought the
presented was well-done, accurate, and that the book
was an excellent reference source. 

I agree. My sister-in-law gave me a copy for Xmas, and I love it.
Lots and lots of detail, which I as a beginner need.




So what about it (Cogwell's book) that is awesome? Specifics on
what you find awesome would be more helpful. 

Ok. So “awesome” is a little strong :wink: It’s still one of my favori
te books in my library of 30 or so jewelry fabrication related books.
Perhaps that puts a little more perspective around it.

In most books that I have, only a chapter or two is devoted to
setting. This book has 200 pages of on all types of
settings. I’ve seen other books devoted to setting, but none @ this
price ($35 USD) that are this thorough.

Cogswell is specific on tools, measurements, construction
suggestions, and has many setting hints. His drawings are clear,
concise and frequent. I’ve had “hands-on” instruction previously in
each of these methods, but not a lot of practice. So in my case, the
book is a sort of reference manual.

His thoroughness is important. He doesn’t assume that the reader has
a specific knowledge base. This doesn’t mean that it’s a book for
beginners. It’s just that different readers have different
backgrounds, and what I consider to be common knowledge may be
different from what you presume to be common knowledge. This is an
improvement from other setting books that I’ve read.

One negative (that John inadvertently pointed out) is that diagrams
aren’t always on the same page as the related text and aren’t always
in order described. This is especially true when he describes
multiple methods to achieve a specific result. As a result, I’ve
made many annotations and connecting arrows in my copy of the book.
It hasn’t been a serious problem, but takes some thought. Also,
anyone looking for projects will be disappointed.

Kevin, I hope this helps.


He is a superb teacher and the nicest person ever. It is really a
treat to be in a class of his!

Elegant Insects jewelry


Although I recommended his book, I can’t agree with the last part of
Sandra’s statement. I just got back from the FSGNE Winter Workshop,
a 5-day workshop for five different classes. I took John’s class. I
was severely disappointed. It was a lecture, not a workshop. There
were several self-centered people in the class who sucked up all the
available time, and we accomplished NOTHING. (Unlike the other four
WORKshops, where people learned and got things done.)

John is a superb teacher, and the nicest person ever. But he did not
properly manage the class, which means the majority were ignored
while a few monopolized his time. Because I have the book, I could
have saved myself a load of money by not attending the workshop. Or
better yet, by attending a different WORKshop.

So, get the book, learn new techniques or a new way of looking at an
old problem. But don’t take his class.

Still PO’d.


I just received my copy of John Cogswell’s book, Creative

As I read his introduction, I thought of the Orchid forum as the
embodiment of the spirit he expresses of the importance of sharing of

Here’s what John Cogswell says:

As workers in precious metal, we are--every one of
us--stewards of our professions, privileged with the gift of
handed down to us (traditionally, mostly by word of
mouth), perhaps adding a little something to it, and then passing
it on. With privilege comes responsibility, and this gift of
knowledge is actually less a gift than a loan. Though it's ours
to use for the brief time allotted to us, it is incumbent on
each of us to pass what we know along to others.

I am grateful to the Orchid community to helping me solve problems
and learn from those so much more experienced. When the time comes
that I have the knowledge to share, I will happily pass it along.

Sally Jewett-Brocato