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Thursday morning


Do those of you who make your own faceted settings do so because:

a) The ones I make are better?
b) The ones I make are cheaper?
c) Allows me to minimize inventory of findings?
d) It’s the way I’ve always done it?
e) None of the above (please specify).

Hi, Dave,

My answer would be “e.” First, I use off-the-shelf settings
when it’s appropriate and convenient. But as an exercise,
quickly locate a 12 x 16 pear-shape basket setting in 14 K.Y.
from one of your suppliers. It’s possible, but when I did it
recently it wasn’t easy. Stuller? No. A.L.A.? No. Half a dozen
other findings houses? No. And some of those places ship so
slowly that when an item arrives I often can’t remember why I
ordered it. Tripps? Yes, but I’m not ready to lay in a $1,000
inventory of their items so I can get a competitive price. And
even if I did, there are two rules in my shop – they must be
extensions of Murphy’s Law: 1) no matter how much inventory I
have, I never seem to have what I need today; and, 2) even if I
find what I need, it’s not … quite … what the customer wants.
Sound familiar?

Back to your quiz. The main reason I make my own settings is
that the majority of stones I set are non-standard shapes/sizes.
For instance, today I’m designing a piece for a 7 x 20 mm.
cut-corner emerald-cut pink tourmaline. Yeah, I could use one of
Tripps’ tourmaline heads – they’re great! – but they’re also a
little clunky looking for what I have in mind. I want prongs over
the cut corners, and I want the ends of the stone visible.
Solution? Make a setting (unless someone out there has a
brilliant, better solution, for which I would be everlastingly
grateful because I don’t like making heads)! Maybe I’m just
not dealing with the right suppliers. But I don’t want to have
to pass up a beautiful stone or a good deal simply because I
can’t set it.

BTW, it used to be impossible (for me) to find gold 11 x 9 oval
cabochon heads. Seems like each time I sight-cut an opal it
turned out to be 11 x 9 and I always had to fabricate a head - no
big deal but an annoyance when I was doing earrings or a quick
job. Now I see Tripps lists them: maybe all my screaming and
yelling (and pleading) finally worked.

Have a great 1997 everyone!

Rick Martin