The Best Gem Setting Hand Tools

This list represents the basic tools someone learning stonesetting might want to have around. One would of course add to this list.

  1. Burnisher; printmakers type, long thicker version with slightly curved tip. Other burnishers are good too. A point burnisher is essential.
  2. Stone setting punches or 4 pieces ) of square or round 3-4mm drill rod 4″ or 9 cm long for making punches with.
  3. Stone pushers, or 4 pieces 3mm square or round drill rod 7cm (2.5″) long (per person)
  4. Beeswax, soft, for mixing with ground or filed charcoal as a tool for moving stones around.
  5. Small metal sperin box with a layer of melted and cooled beeswax on its bottom to keep stones in order and keep them from flying around.
  6. Point burnisher (broken burr to reshape) and universal collet handle.
  7. Oval gravers, one or two with a cross section of at least 3x5mm
  8. Round gravers, two with a base 1 mm across.
  9. Flat gravers, two, with bases 2 and 3-4mm across.
  10. Beveled gravers, two, with bases 1.5-2mm across.
  11. Knife graver, one.
  12. Millgrain wheel (s).
  13. Beading tools (and/or beading tool making block)
  14. 8-12 graver handles. Fit them to your hand so they are comfortable, hold them in your fist with the third finger tucked around the middle of the graver handle and see how they feel.
  15. Oil of wintergreen from the drug store. Only a very small amount is needed. Put a bit of cotton wool in the cap and press the graver into it to lubricate it.
  16. 1-3 pairs cheap flat or chain nosed pliers for reshaping.
  17. Flat needle file, triangular needle file, barrette needle file, 20 cm long ones from Germany are best.
  18. 1 flat fine cut narrow (3-5mm) file if available.
  19. 1-5 18cm (7″) lengths of broomstick handle to put pitch onto for pitch sticks.
  20. Hard setter’s pitch (Black setter’s pitch from Fischer-see below) or orange flake shellac.
  21. Jett Sett as a pitch option
  22. Aquaplast as a holding option during setting.
  23. Arkansas hard sharpening stone or equivalent.
  24. 1 fine (600-800) grit sanding stick to be rubbed with pencil and used to polish gravers.
  25. Selection of emery papers.
  26. Access to grinding wheel and polishing system.
  27. 1 cheap or free knife for adapting. A small pen knife is also good. Broken or damaged burrs to adapt for other tools. (Try the dentist or local jewellery stores)
  28. Set of medium cut round burrs; or one each of 1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 3.5mm, 4mm sizes.
  29. Set of medium cut setting burrs; or one each of 1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 3.5mm, 4mm, 4.5mm, 5mm sizes.
  30. Set of bearing cutters; or one each of 1mm, 1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 3.5mm, sizes.
  31. Set of taper bore burrs; or one each of 1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm sizes.
  32. Set of cup burrs; or one each of 1mm, 1.5mm, 2mm sizes.
  33. Glass or inexpensive round facetted stones to practice with, 3 to 5 mm, minimum 20.
  34. Cabachon stones and glass facetted stones to practice with, 4mm up. Selection of tubing, sheet thicknesses etc
  35. As well, a standard goldsmith’s toolbox and tools will be needed.

The Best Flex Shaft Tools For Gem Setting

Additional Supplies For Gem Setting

Stonesetting Reading:

Robert Wooding, Diamond Settting Manual, Diamond Setting: The Professional approach, Bead Setting Diamonds with Pav? Applications, Channel Setting Diamonds and Walter Zeiss, The Setting of well as Master Stonesetting by Gerald Wykoff. These are in order of preference. Woodings videotapes have good reviews and the GRS company tape on bead setting is really quite good on the technical side and in its close up filming. The best videos in the field for stonesetting are from Blaine Lewis of the New Approach School. They are unsurpassed for quality.

Stonesetting Reading on Ganoksin