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[Tidbits] Royal Pave


#1

In the world of pave setting the area that sits as top of the line is
Royal Pave. It is the area of pave setting that requires the most
meticulous attention… and–oh how I blush to say this–it is an
area in which I excel. It occurs to me–whilst searching for a
suitable topic for this week-- that some of you might be interested
in understanding a bit more about the methodology involved.

When setting royal pave all the girdles of the diamonds come within a
hair’s breadth of touching each other. One bead crosses the span
between three stones securing them in place. There are no beads
between the girdles as these are–for all practical purposes–just
about touching each other.

I do this on special order work only–it is a tad time consuming.
There was a time some time ago when I did a lot of it. I also keep a
sample of this type of setting on premises for those rare occasions
when someone comes to me and says in a raspy and somewhat gruff
voice: So Boychickle. Whaddya know how to do. It is as this point I
whip out my thing. Oops. 'Scuse me. My Royal Pave sample that is. I
always impress. Some of the items from days of yore were hearts. It
is–of course --easier to show this method to you than it is to speak
of it. A picture and a thousand words and all that. And so… off we
go… into the grand world of royal pave… matrix… and animated
gifs. Forgive me if this is boring. But I’m in it now and I could not
stop no matter how hard I would try. Compulsion is like that at
times.

To show you the final result I decided to create a sample in
matrix… placing the prongs and diamonds and gold on different
colored layers for easy separation. This-- obviously–is for those
you familiar with CAD. After final matrix assembly I slowly pulled
back on diamonds and prongs and rendered each pull back… ultimately
saving each rendering as a GIF file. (You need GIFs for gif
animation).

I then reversed the order of each pull-back rendering to make the
image appear as if it were being assembled as if by magic before your
very eyes… ensuring all the while that each image was exactly the
same size. Then… into my favorite animation program… and voila!
In real life–of course–the resulant look is all a product of
original pave work.

Phew. Hope you like this. It may be a bit more dry and informative
that my usual devil- may-care approach… but what the heck. He who
does not dare to get his feet wet upon occasion usually ends up with
dry feet. Please don’t ask me what this means. I haven’t a clue. So.
Ya wanna see. Go then. You know where. It’s a worthwhile peek into the
intricacies of the maddened mind of skilled labor.

One quick word of guidance here. Though both Firefox and Explorer
will let you see the animation with equal clarity… only explorer
will let you hit “refresh” (F5) in order to view the animation again
should you so desire.

For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at http://www.tyler-adam.com where you
will scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that
says Current Tidbits… click it… and you will see represented on
our pages a Royal Pave Heart set by none other than yours truly.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark


#2
To show you the final result I decided to create a sample in
matrix... placing the prongs and diamonds and gold on different
colored layers for easy separation. This-- obviously--is for those
you familiar with CAD. After final matrix assembly I slowly pulled
back on diamonds and prongs and rendered each pull back...
ultimately saving each rendering as a GIF file. 

When I started to read the post I was saying to myself “YES, THE
NOBLE ART OF PAVE”. I am unfamiliar with term “royal” but everybody
has different names for common things. But, than I come to the above!
What a disappointment.

Pave is a french term for english paved. It is not enough for stones
to have girdle contact to be called pave. In well executed pave there
is only 2 prongs (beads) per stone, and no other metal is visible.
The fact that someone can do it on computer does not impress me even
a little bit. Anybody can do it on computer. The trick is to do it by
hand, and layout is the most difficult part of the job.

Since we talked about goldsmithing and mathematics, it would be
appropriate to mention that understanding of underlying mathematics
makes task easier. Even ancient Greeks were fascinated with the task
of filling surfaces with circles (diamonds in our case ). Some
methods were developed to facilitate the task and it is known as
Apollonian Circle Packings. Apollonius was concern with how to do it
using minimum number of circles, so we have to modify slightly.

Modern branch of mathematics studying this, is Tessellation. To adapt
it to pave, first we subdivide surface into tiles of suitable shape,
and than we use Apollonius ideas to fill tiles with diamonds. So you
see how much more fun to do it by hand, than pushing buttons on
keyboard, and chasing mouse around the desk.

I am sure there are some goldsmith who excel in pave, without knowing
anything about the underlying math. I have come to conclusion that
all of us are mathematic beings. The only difference is that some
perceive mathematics intellectually, and some intuitively. We know
intuitive mathematicians as artists, musicians, poets, and etc…

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#3

I must say I am somewhat surprised at Mr. Surpin’s vituperative
stance… and while I greatly appreciate his lesson in French… I am
sure most know what pave means… I certainly do as French is my
mother tongue and I spoke it long before I spoke English. That is all
neither here nor there… and simply because Mr. Surpin has never
heard of royal pave does not mean it is not a description well known
among upper-level craftsmen. As to his depiction of pave only using
2 beads… that would be true of straight row work but not of cluster
work. In royal pave as it relates to clusters… I repeat… one
bead hold three diamonds abd there are no middle beads. My attempt at
showing everyone the graphic I showed was for no other reason that to
show what royal pave looks like… an area of knowledge in which Mr.
Surpin is apparently abysmally ignorant. As to the rest of Mr.
Surpin’s analyses… I have no argument with his mathematical
diatribe as he clearly seems to want to show what he thinks he knows
rather that what he knows he knows. I would like to add one final
quote here and I shall then pass the torch. Criticism–especially the
venomous kind–is nothing more than a simpleton’s attempt at
self-elevation. I await with great anticipiation Mr. Surpin’s witty
response.

Benjamin Mark


#4
and simply because Mr. Surpin has never heard of royal pave does
not mean it is not a description well known among upper-level
craftsmen. 

no arguments here. Never heard of royal pave before.

As to his depiction of pave only using 2 beads... that would be
true of straight row work but not of cluster work. In royal pave as
it relates to clusters... I repeat... one bead hold three diamonds
abd there are no middle beads. 

Oh, contriare mon amie, it is the clusters I speak of and only the
clusters. Unless royal pave means lesser quality than simple pave,
one bead cannot hold 3 diamonds. Simply not possible. Remember, in
pave diamonds are always tangent to each other. 3 diamonds form a
closed configuration. The metal between them is just a triangle. It
is only possible to raise a bead in the direction of 2 diamonds, and
while it may appear to hold 2 stones, it only holding one. All other
configuration require extra beads.

My attempt at showing everyone the graphic I showed was for no
other reason that to show what royal pave looks like... an area of
knowledge in which Mr. Surpin is apparently abysmally ignorant. 

No arguments here as well. However, it would go a long way towards
fostering our understanding and appreciation of the technique if we
could see photograph of actual work, taken with magnification
allowing to fully appreciate the fine details of supposed
craftsmanship.

As to the rest of Mr. Surpin's analyses... I have no argument with
his mathematical diatribe as he clearly seems to want to show what
he thinks he knows rather that what he knows he knows. I would like
to add one final quote here and I shall then pass the torch.
Criticism--especially the venomous kind--is nothing more than a
simpleton's attempt at self-elevation. I await with great
anticipiation Mr. Surpin's witty response. 

Spoken like a true gentleman. While still maintaining reservation
about “royal pave”, I am absolutely humbled by the depth and the
breadth of Mr. Mark’s grasp of the issue, which are so apparent from
his incisive analysis.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#5
it is the clusters I speak of and only the clusters. Unless royal
pave means lesser quality than simple pave, one bead cannot hold 3
diamonds. Simply not possible. Remember, in pave diamonds are
always tangent to each other. 3 diamonds form a closed
configuration. The metal between them is just a triangle. It is
only possible to raise a bead in the direction of 2 diamonds, and
while it may appear to hold 2 stones, it only holding one. All
other configuration require extra beads. 

Leonid, for once, I’m going to disagree with you on a subject I
rather expected you to know more than I about. But you’re incorrect
here in assume that the triangle area defined by three diamonds is
"raised" into a bead only holding two stone. It’s not shaped that
way. The point of the graver is pushed into the sharp corners of the
triangle (taking care not to hit and chip the stones), pushing metal
towards the center of the triangle, not towards the diamond. Done
three times, as the graver is rocked up with each push, the result
is a three sided point on top, with the three sides opposite to the
orientation of the original sides of the triangle space, and at the
base, a hexagonal base to what was before the triangle. Doing this
causes the metal in the triangle to expand sideways to the force of
the graver, over the stones, and slightly rocking/swinging the graver
side to side as this is done, encourages this even more, as well as
slightly rounding out the outline of the bead. The end result (I’m
leaving out a good deal of detail here) is a round bead where there
was a triangle. the bead is smaller in diameter than the point to
point dimensions of the original triangle, but is larger in diameter
than the flat to flat dimensions of the original triangle. That means
the bead slightly extends over the girdle of all three stones,
holding them in. Having them initially seated very well, so they are
snug with no movement is critical, as there would otherwise not be
enough hold on the stones to be secure. But this technique results
in a bead, somewhat larger than one might usually raise for fine
pave, and it holds all three stones.

By the way, I don’t consider myself an expert in this, though I can
do it when needed. It’s the way I was taught to do pave setting when
I took a class in it from GIA in the mid 80s, and so far as I know,
they still teach this method. At the time, the instructor described
the process as “packing” the metal into a bead, rather than raising
beads. I don’t know if this is still the terms used. I do know,
though, that I’ve known a number of diamond setters who do exactly
this same method, though not all of them. Some do as you describe,
with apparently equally good looking results.

I’d also say that Benjamin’s name for this, “Royal” pave, is the
very first time I’ve ever heard this technique called by that name.
But as I say, it is not the first time I’ve seen the method, nor is
it the first time I’ve seen that method described as being the
epitome of high quality pave setting technique. Now I just wish I was
better at it myself. Done right, it’s amazing work. Some of the best
of the work I’ve seen done this way, I should add, is not new, but
antique, but not all. I met a German setter a couple years ago who
did absolutely flawless looking setting using this type of method. He
also charged more per stone than most setters I know…

Peter Rowe


#6

Oh come on you two, is the squabbling really necessary. Leonid, I am
still learning and would not even know where to begin with ANY pave
technique at this stage of my practical skills aquisition. Your
thoughts regarding tesselation and use of mathematics do strike a
chord with me since I am the original Ancient Greece geek (I am even
part of a Greek reenactment society :slight_smile: ), and my first ever job
after leaving school was as a trainee draughtsperson in a mechanical
engineering drawing office so I can very much relate to the way in
which you like to do things using precise calculations and formulae.
If it works for you and maybe helps some others come to grips with
how to execute some of these methods then why should it be a problem
to someone else just because they work in a different way?

I can also see the side of the discussion from those who are less
enthusiastic about the mathematical approach, preferring to use
their artistic flare to work out what looks right to them.

Who is to say which is right and which is wrong if in the end the
result is pleasing to the person making it and more importantly to
the customer who will eventually buy and wear it?

Surely it is horses for courses and some will prefer one technique to
achieve an end over another, so long as the end product is good.
Having 2 methods (or more) to achieve the same results is surely also
a good thing to help the learners out there try them all out to see
what works best. It opens up more avenues and techniques to explore
which could also be useful in other ways too. I have been away from
the Orchid forums for a while as I had a minor hiccup with having to
transfer my email account between a defunct machine to my new laptop
and really missed all the amazing info that is contributed by such a
diverse collection of jewellers at all levels. That is what makes it
great and such a unique resource, the fact that there are so many
people with such a huge range of techniques and abilities who are
happy to share their wisdom and experience. I would love to hear from
BOTH Leonid and Benjamin in more detail exactly how they go about a
pave piece of this or any other style (I believe there are quite a
few) because I think it would be really useful to those of us still
carrying our ‘L’ plates who are here to learn from those more
experienced. I am game for trying anything (legal) once at least and
would love to put some of this into practice. So on that note,
please please boys can we not agree to differ on this one and share
the benefit of experience from you both?

Thanks
Carol


#7
you're incorrect here in assume that the triangle area defined by
three diamonds is "raised" into a bead only holding two stone. It's
not shaped that way. The point of the graver is pushed into the
sharp corners of the triangle (taking care not to hit and chip the
stones), pushing metal towards the center of the triangle, not
towards the diamond. Done three times, as the graver is rocked up
with each push, the result is a three sided point on top, with the
three sides opposite to the orientation of the original sides of
the triangle space, and at the base, a hexagonal base to what was
before the triangle. 

This is like trying to decide which dialect is the true language.
Pave has many variation. None of them is royal, never the less.
Dividing area in three beads is one of them, if area is large
enough. I gave an example of the finest and the most cleanly looking
variation, when there is only 2 beads per stone.

Another point is that Mr. Mark said that one bead holding 3 stones,
and that is impossible. One can raise 3 beads, as you described, and
make it look like one bead, but it is optical illusion. There is
still 3 beads. I suspect, that mr. Mark experience with pave is
limited only to doing it on computer, and not with the graver in his
hands.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#8
I can also see the side of the discussion from those who are less
enthusiastic about the mathematical approach, preferring to use
their artistic flare to work out what looks right to them. 

I can very much relate to artistic approach, since I am a sculptor
by education. I did not adapt analytical approach from the very
beginning. I start to appreciate engineering approach to things, when
I start working in collaboration with other goldsmiths. If you work
alone, and you crew something up, it is only your time and your
money. But when you work on something that others already invested
time and money, you have responsibility to make sure that efforts of
others are not wasted. In these situations it is simply unthinkable
to use artistic flare.

I understand that many forum participants are individual artists and
work alone, but if someone planning to get a job in a shop, where
serious work is done, collaboration is the name of the game. Just
think what would you say to fellow goldsmith, who spent 40 hours
working on a piece, which he passed to you to do your part and you
screw it up. What would you say?

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#9

Would it be possible to see an example of this German stone setter’s
work?


#10
Another point is that Mr. Mark said that one bead holding 3
stones, and that is impossible. One can raise 3 beads, as you
described, and make it look like one bead, but it is optical
illusion. There is still 3 beads. 

Leonid, I think you misunderstood what I described. While I’m not
creating a bead with a single push of the graver, I’m not rasing
three distinct shapes. Rather, and compacting the corners of the
triangle, pushing them towards the center. The result is a hexagon,
not three beads. Pushing the metal in the corner (point of the
triangle) towards the center of the triangle (not towards the stones
as is the case in normal bead raising) causes the sides of the
triangle to expand. The result is not an optical illusion of three
beads looking like one. It’s one larger bead. Obviously, this method
is limited by the sizes of the stones used. With larger stones, the
triangle between them is simply too much metal for a single good
looking bead. But with small stones, it works well.

I do agree with you about names though. “Royal” might be whatever
sort of setting you do for the queen… What matters is the final
result in terms of looks and security of the stones. If the stones
are secure and the piece looks great, and will perform over time as
one would hope and expect, then the actual details of how one did the
work become less important, and the name one ascribes to the method
becomes only useful when talking to either marketers and sellers, or
to other craftspeople when trying to describe what one did. The
jewelry itself couldn’t care less what you call it… (even if it had
a brain, it wouldn’t much care…)

Peter


#11
Would it be possible to see an example of this German stone
setter's work? 

Only if you find him here in Seattle and ask to see his work. I
don’t know his name (though I suppose with some effort and asking
around I could get it. I know roughly where his office is…), and
only saw a few custom pieces he did for my employer. This was a few
years ago. Wanting to see examples of his work assumes that he must
somewhere have a web site, or that I have access to photos of his
work. So far as I know, neither is the case. Last I heard, he has no
need to expend effort marketing his work, since he’s already pretty
backed up, and doesn’t lack for business. He does work exclusively
for the trade, so doesn’t need to market via a web site. That,
actually, is also part of the reason my boss doesn’t use his services
that often. He costs a good deal more than having our in house setter
(who’s pretty good, but not quite the equal of that fellow) do the
work, plus he’s backed up enough that the wait times to get the job
back are a bit longer than my boss likes…

Peter


#12
I think you misunderstood what I described. While I'm not creating
a bead with a single push of the graver, I'm not rasing three
distinct shapes. Rather, and compacting the corners of the
triangle, pushing them towards the center. The result is a
hexagon, not three beads. Pushing the metal in the corner (point of
the triangle) towards the center of the triangle (not towards the
stones as is the case in normal bead raising) causes the sides of
the triangle to expand. The result is not an optical illusion of
three beads looking like one. It's one larger bead. 

The goldsmith who was training me to do pave, took 3 stones arranged
as a triangle, and set them. After setting was completed, he took a
flat graver and shaved off all the beads. The stones were still
holding. It was done to show that beads do not hold stones. The
stones are held by seat deformation, created by the process of
raising the bead. The bead itself is for decoration only.

This is one of these cultural differences. Where I am from, raising a
bead refers to process of manipulating a graver to create this seat
deformation. Whether or not it results in visible bead is of no
importance technically. I can take an article, set as you describe
and drill through this large bead. The bead would be gone, but stones
would be unaffected. There is a technique in fact, when after setting
as you describe, a small sharp burnisher is used to create conical
depression instead of a bead. And that is my point.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#13
Another point is that Mr. Mark said that one bead holding 3 stones,
and that is impossible. One can raise 3 beads, as you described,
and make it look like one bead, but it is optical illusion. There
is still 3 beads. I suspect, that mr. Mark experience with pave is
limited only to doing it on computer, and not with the graver in
his hands. 

Are you not able to understand the possibility of one bead holding
three stones? I have been doing this kind of work for years –
probably more years than you’re old – and never with a computer.
What you saw was only for illustrative purposes. Draw three circles
touching each other. Those are diamonds. At the center of the
juncture point of the three circles draw a round black dot touching
what would be all three girdles. That would be a bead holding three
stones. This is not rocket science. It’s craftsmanship. If you still
can’t figure it out… next time you’re in New York… call me and
I’ll show you what it looks like in real life.


#14

The Royal Pave kerfuffle was interesting.

I had never been requested to set like that before, so I thought I
would try it out on a few cubics and some silver.

I am quite experienced as a setter, up to the level of setting for
other jewellers, but I am by no means a total expert.

Well, I did get the three stones to set tight, but not in a manner
that I would let out of my shop. I did five different attempts, with
3mm stones and then with 2.5mm stones. If the stones are very close
together, the center triangle, packed or not, is to small to bead
over all three stones. If the stones are set slightly further apart
and the triangle is packed there is still not really enough material
to form a bead. I imagine if a flat ‘pusher’ was used, the center
tri-angle could be squashed over, but that would look ugly.

As it is, I put up a temporary picture on my blog to show what it
looks like. Just some rough work to see how the metal moves.

As can be seen, its more the flashing that holds the stones in,
rather that an actual bead. None of my setting books actually show how
to do it correctly, and I cannot find any examples on the internet.
Anybody got some good close up pictures?

http://www.meevis.com


#15
Would it be possible to see an example of this German stone
setter's work? 

I don’t know about that, but this page:
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/8s

has much fine pave work on it. Plus it’s pretty easy to see the
variations - nothing but stone, a bit more spread with metal showing
in between, etc. As has been said here, pave is a technique, not a
rule.


#16
Well, I did get the three stones to set tight, but not in a manner
that I would let out of my shop. I did five different attempts,
with 3mm stones and then with 2.5mm stones. If the stones are very
close together, the center triangle, packed or not, is to small to
bead over all three stones. If the stones are set slightly further
apart and the triangle is packed there is still not really enough
material to form a bead. 

Dividing triangle in 3 beads, even if they look like one is not
optimal solution. It is practiced by some, but I suspect that they
were taught to do it, to conceal more efficient way. Some goldsmiths
are very, shall we say, possessive of their techniques and never
share them completely.

Ideally, pave should be done with 2 beads per stone, border stones
are excepted from this rule. The triangle, between stones, is used to
raise one bead only to secure one stone only. To see the benefit of
this approach, 3 stones are not enough, because border stones are
handled differently, and if is technique tried with 3 stones all of
them are border stones.

For border stones a technique which is call “covered setting” is
used. Don’t ask me where the name came from, because I have no idea.
The roots of the technique is cut-down setting, but adopted for
multi-stone clusters.

One more thing needs to be said. Pave arrangement is unique to every
piece and depends on the shape and curvature of the article been
paved. Triangle arrangement, applied to square or rectangular
pieces, will not give satisfactory results. Circles and ovals
approaching circles, also not optimal. Pave is an art of choosing
proper layout, proper seed arrangement, and proper technique. Two
beads per stone is not an automatic decision. Pave can be done with
2, 3, 4, 6, or even more beads per stone. The less beads, the cleaner
the appearance, but creating paved appearance overrides any other
consideration. One should get trapped in the technique and sacrifice
the design goals.

Pave is probably the most nuanced technique in goldsmith repertoire,
and must be approached with a lot of forethought.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#17
Draw three circles touching each other. Those are diamonds. At the
center of the juncture point of the three circles draw a round
black dot touching what would be all three girdles. That would be a
bead holding three stones. This is not rocket science. 

I know it works fine on paper, but I am still struggling to
understand the following: Since I need to put my graver some place,
that leaves me only with the direction towards 2 stones.

As Peter described, the process can be repeated 3 times effectively
creating 3 beads, which look like one, but in my mind it is still 3
beads.

As you pointed out before, it is a concept which can only be
understood by upper echelon craftsmen. Regretfully, I do not belong
to this highly esteemed group, so I am still mired in pesky details
of where to put graver, how to approach a stone and other annoying
minutiae, which make us, common smiths, so frustrating to talk to.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#18

The Cooper Hewitt link has a fabulous video, the center one, on
invisibly set stones by Van Cleef and Arpels. It’s not only very
fascinating, it may even clear up some of the variances between
channel, mystery and pave for those interested.

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/8y

Regards,
Dinah


#19

i am a jeweller who is capable of doing pave setting…where 2
beads hold one stone, this is my understanding of the so called
royal pave… as its the cleanest neatest way of setting a cluster of
round stones

royal pave… micro pave… standard pave… blah blah blah

leonid your work and knowledge is exceptional.

and i sometimes wonder why you bother with the replys to these silly
arguments but thanks anyway…

you make me think a lil harder…
cheers mate


#20
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/8r 

A very good first try, if you were not trained in this setting
technique! If you clean it up a bit more, cutting from the junction
of the girdles in toward the center triangle a bit more, "raising"
the metal a bit more, while removing that extra bit of "flashing"
you see, before using the beading tool to form the central bead, you
will see a big difference. A small round, or anglette graver worked
with a bit of side to side and slightly up pressure will raise this
center metal high enough to make a very nice clean bead, that will
lock all three stones tightly. Takes a lot of practice.

When a sharp grave is used to remove all extra metal, especially any
of the little “flashings”, this is an extremely beautiful style of
setting, and all you see is gemstones and small beads. Time
consuming work, though the results are worth it.