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Stone Setting - A Crowning Achievement 

There’s a very imformative and authoritative artictle in Tips this
time about building settings. It’s a good one. I want to comment,
though, about how to solder prongs. Mr. Simon suspends an underbezel
on U-Shaped wires to solder. The concept of suspending it on two
points is sound, but how does one solder 40 26 gauge prongs on a pear
shaped ballerina using U-Shapes? I’ve found that using one piece of
wire for 2 prongs-a U - makes it difficult. Moving or bending one
affects the other, too. In terms of square/plumb issues, it’s better
to use single wires - they’re straight, too. If there’s a reason to
build a 3.5 mm setting, I solder a given wire on TOP of the lower
bezel, file quadrants, and solder to the top - being 4
spacers/“posts” between. Most work will be larger. The prongs will
be far enough apart to solder without flowing the others. So, I go
around and solder them individually. On a ring, install the lower
piece into the shank first, so it’s part of the ring. Then I put 2 or
more prongs on the lower part. One N, and one S, at least. If it’s
a setting plate with a big center and a surround, it’s just like a
simple round stone - just more prongs. Then balance the top part on
the N/S prongs - the “two points”, as square and plumb as you can get
it, and solder. (gently) Bend the top as needed to get
square/straight/plumb. You can replace the prongs later if they get
too messy. Then go around and solder all the prongs into the lower
part (only). You can just lay it into the grooves you made and flow.
Then you trim the top, and pull them into place, and bend the tips to
the plane of the stone girdles, and then solder the top
part…Done. Just inspired to write…

John Donivan, Thank you for your kind words concerning my article �A
Crowning Achievement�, I�m glad you liked it.

Regarding your question �How does one solder 40 26 gauge prongs on a
pear shaped ballerina using U-Shapes?�

The answer is you don�t. A Ballerina ring is a very advanced
project and should never be attempted by a novice. My article �A
Crowning Achievement� published on Orchid is, as it states, a
beginner�s article on constructing a basic round basket crown. This
project is an excellent learning project. Once a jeweler has
learned the basics of crown construction they can then move on to
more intermediate, and advanced projects, with the Ballerina ring
being one of the most advanced projects a jeweler will make. To
create these more advanced projects a jeweler needs more advanced
knowledge and techniques, which was not the intent of the article I
wrote. The method you described is an excellent way to apply the
prongs and one many methods that could be implemented.

I�ll be presenting a more advanced demonstration on crown
construction at Rio Grande�s Catalog In Motion in Tucson in
February. This demonstration will cover constructing crowns for
unusual shaped colored stones, and will demonstrate different
techniques than used in the article on Orchid. Also a new
multi-media CD ROM is in production on this subject covering basic
through advanced techniques and should be ready sometime after the
first of the year. In addition I�ll be writing articles covering
intermediate and advanced projects that will build on the first
article. These articles will hopefully be published on Orchid
sometime next year.

Brad Simon