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Stone setting confusion

Hi All! I’m pretty new at stone setting and I need some questions
answered. Here’s what I’m trying to do: I’ve been making sterling
post style earrings on the hydraulic press that I’ve soldered some
tube settings onto in standard round sizes- four and six mm. I’ve got
some regular faceted peridot, some rhodolite and regular garnet and
some lighter stones like apatite and pastel tourmalines I want to
set. What I’m confused about is this: Since these earrings and
stones are to be worn on the lobe of the ear or next to the skin
should they have a closed back so the skin doesn’t show through the
stone? OR will I have a problem with the lighter stones if I do it
this way because the sterling inside the setting will tarnish? Should
the darker garnets be open in the back since the color seems rich
enough that the skin won’t show through and I don’t want them turning
black if the silver tarnishes in there? Conversely, should I be using
some kind of tarnish inhibitor or laquer for the closed back of the
lighter stones? And lastly, if laquer is recommended, is there some
kind of hardware store thing I could use in a pinch? Clear nail
polish? Sorry if this is ridiculous. So to rephrase: When is it
appropriate for a setting to have a closed/open back and why? Thank
you so much!


I will only address the lapidary/gemology part of your questions. A
well cut stone will not have any “window” to the rear. All light
enters through and reflected back through the table (top facet) of
the stone. Thus you should not see any of the skin from the wearer
through the stone. Open back does not increase the
reflected/refracted light coming from the stone.

If your stone has a window, then it should cost less as it was not
cut properly.


Regan- I prefer to keep the backs of my stones open for cleaning
purposes. One of our pet peeves are melle set without clean out
holes. Particularly the micro pave. No way to get it really clean.

Don’t lacquer. The silver will still tarnish eventually and then you
have to get the damn stuff off to re polish. It’s a real PITA.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

Thanks to everyone who replied to my post. Finally, I think I get
it! I thought there was something shady about that laquer stuff…
glad I didn’t buy any!