The Girlfriend's Guide to Jewellery
28: here it comes… at last! 2011-11-28
Hi everyone! Here I am back again after a l o n g break! Lately, with a mad combination of personal and professional demands, being in touch weekly has proven to be too ambitious for me. My ‘new’ schedule will be a monthly contribution, which should be doable, if all goes to plan.
When last we ‘spoke’ I started to discuss the setting process.
There is of course a wide range of quality possible in both the work and the materials used in the various techniques of gem setting. Skimping on metal, time spent setting or finishing or not taking care in matching the size of the setting used with the size of the stone to be set will all affect the quality and reliability of the finished product. Don’t be shy to have a good look at the settings when choosing a piece of jewellery. The choice of setting style used should be in harmony with the design as well as functional in terms of wear
In this type of setting, the group of claws that hold a stone is called the ‘head’. As few as two claws may be used but more often there are three, four, six or eight claws in a single head. When there are more than six claws in a single head it is called a multi-claw head. The use of multi-claw settings is usually more a design feature than a necessity.
When a stone is set a small notch is cut into the inside face of each claw. The shape of the notch corresponds to the shape and size of the stone to be set. The depth of the notch cut into the claw should not compromise its strength. This notch is called the ‘seat’ because it is literally where the stone will sit in the setting.
When the seat has been correctly cut, the girdle of the stone is fitted into the notches. There should be a point of contact between the pavilion of the stone and the bottom of the seat cut into each claw. The excess length of each claw is then trimmed and ‘beaded’ down over the stone. This will form a point of contact between the crown of the stone and the bead of each claw.
The claws will all work together to hold the stone securely in the head.
A bezel setting is a continuous ‘collar’ of metal that follows the shape of the stone. The stone actually sits on a continuous ledge of metal matching its shape. The collar of metal is folded down over the girdle and around the edge of the crown. The ‘collar’ is then trimmed and polished. It should fit tightly over the stone.
This is the same method and style of setting as a bezel setting only the collar is in two separate crescent shapes usually at opposite sides or ends of the stone.