When setting gemstones into castings that started life as CAD files, jewelers often complain that they don’t have quite enough metal with which to work. Building a little extra setting material into your CAD files is simple, and it can make a big difference for the bench jeweler who will eventually work on the piece—which in many cases is you!
This is especially true when working in harder metals, such as 14k white gold, to enable the jeweler to maintain the overall desired shape of the piece. But bear in mind that you should place the added setting material only in areas that come in contact directly with the stone and can be cleaned up easily. And, as always before changing your methods, check with your jeweler to see if he or she would like the added setting material before trying this. (Note: The lighter green areas in the images shown indicate the added material in each setting example.)
Adding extra setting material to bypass and split-shoulder settings is helpful for setting not only the major stone but also to preserve the overall shape of the ring. Once the stone is set, the excess material can be cleaned up and polished efficiently. I typically add a 0.6 mm pipe to the area around major stones. This is also extremely helpful when setting in harder metals.
Beefing up channel settings aids in the setting process while helping to preserve the overall shape of the piece. I typically add 0.5 mm pipe to the areas around the stones. The extra setting material ends where the last stone comes into contact with the channel wall.
When designing pieces with flush-set stones, adding extra material is especially helpful in areas that are hard to work around, such as bezels, heads, and fixed objects. Only add material where it’s needed, as the rest of the setting will usually be burnished over. I typically add a small section of 0.5 mm pipe to the side of the setting facing the fixed object.
Due to the amount of detail, adding material to these styles of settings helps immensely. But be careful to add just enough material; too much material requires timely clean up, while too little material can result in deformation of the pattern. I generally add 0.5 mm pipe to only the areas that come in contact with the stone.