Stone Setting Techniques
Article: Diamond Setting Hints
This article lists a few diamond setting hints that every jeweler should take note of. written by Gerald N. Lewy. See list below:
1. When setting a series of diamonds in a row, I use a 156C and just touch the inside wall of the hole. This way each and every diamond will sit at the same level and be correctly placed.
2. When bright-cutting the inside bezel for a 'gypsy' set stone, apply downward finger pressure to the #39 Flat graver. This will give you a consistent applied control to the cutting tool and not have a jagged edge when cutting.
3. When starting to drill for a diamond or any small stone, open up the base of the hole with a smaller round bur. Why? The diamond will be sitting only at the upper thickness of the gold and not have to sit at the whole gold depth. Some diamonds have a deeper pavilion, these the pavilions will cause trouble for you while adjusting for the correct depth. A wider opening will also allow the polishing compounds to exit more easily while in the ultra-sonic cleaner.
4. Try and use a smaller round bur at the underside of the "pre-set" holes. When the polishing wheel is cleaning the backside of the gold it will also give a brighter finish to the counter-sunk holes at the same time.
5. Don't limit yourself to one bead-raising tool, I use about 4-5 at my setting bench. Some beads need just a heavier pushing action while others just need a little piece of metal to hold the stone. I prefer a simple Onglette #2 and reshape it to my specifications. Thin, thicker blade or even with a larger face.
6. I use pumice wheels of #180 grit on all of my setting items. Its not because of being rough on my work. It's because it's a mark of a "careful, high quality setter".
7. I remove all of plier marks, graver slipping and just the general rough edges left by the 'casting house'. I don't want my polishing sub-contractor, to grind away more than he has to in finishing my setting work. I use a flat-edge and as well as the tapered-edge. I usually buy a gross of each style at each purchase period.
8. Always clean your gold shavings with a nylon brush after drilling. The reason being is that when the shavings are left inside the hole and the diamond is placed in the hole with these shavings and beads are raised and secured, you might think that the diamond is secured. When the gold item is placed in the sonic-cleaner, the shavings are released and let go..The diamond is now loose!
9. For final claw-filing, I always use a smooth #4 cut Triangular file. The #2 cut does leave minute file marks that are very difficult to remove after setting and prior to polishing. Then, I use my pumice wheel over any filing I've done.
10. When attempting to raise beads, visualize a square or "picture frame" around each diamond. At these juncture points is exactly just where the bead should be placed. At the outside of the work area, all of the beads should follow a line so the pre-cutting graver (of your choice) can be drawn and no damage to those beads.
As you remove a diamond or any other precious gemstone, observe any inclusions or defects in that stone. Always keep your 10X 'Triplet Loupe' at you constant side, lest your client will charge you for any misadventure that might be caused by removing that stone. Take note and record or even have the client view it themselves. I speak this from experience. If you are in doubt of setting a stone don't do it. Being an over cautious setter is far rewarding than paying for its replacement. If you notice a telltale aberration in the claws covering the stone, do not let any jewellery or setting tool "touch the mounting". You might be again being charged in its subsequent "breakage". Many setters are asked to hide defects under the claws, be aware of this, when removing customer's stones! If you see some claws that are out of alignment, maybe it was that the claw was gently moved to cover an inclusion. Why is this done? To protect the "weakness" of that area of the diamond, as this is quite a common practice. It is not to hide from the appraiser, but to help secure, as well as refrain from further damage.
When you are using the burs constantly, always apply an oil based lubricant, regular machine oil. But please refrain from using "Oil of Wintergreen", it is a very strong substance and will with no doubt burn the tender parts of your face. Face, as in getting the oil on your fingers and then in error, touching parts of your eyes or lips. The subsequent result is a sensation that will almost require a full face washing and time-off from your setting. It
doesn't tingle, but the feeling is of intense burning and using words of profanity.
The many things that any setter does prior to setting a large diamond is?is the head of the ring large or small enough to take this particular diamond? Is the head well soldered unto the mounting and done securely? Are there any telltale pin holes in the gold anywhere around the ring in question? Will the claws upon completion be attractive and pleasing to the wearer's eye? Do I have the right selection of burs to complete this project? Is the jewellery item properly polished? Which ring clamp will I use? Now for the diamonds are there any visible inclusions where the claws are to addressed?
How is the shape of the stone in relationship to the head? For a Princess stone, how is the girdle of the diamond ="thin or thick"
If you the reader, wish to have some questions answered, kindly write to gemz AT ican.net or to http://www.gemzdiamondsetting.com "gerry, the cyber setter"
By Gerald N. Lewy
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With over 40 years experience as a stone setter, Gerry Lewy is known throughout the diamond setting community. Gerry started his 9-year apprenticeship with a jewelry manufacturer and tutored by a gentleman ‘setter’, in Haddon Gardens, London. Gerry has redeveloped himself into more than a master setter, his purpose is now to be a teacher of the art as well.
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