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Setting Larger Gemstones (Continued)
Now that you have tested and if your setting are like ours, found that the setting won't hold the gemstone firmly as it came out of the package, we are ready to begin modifying the setting so that it will accommodate our gemstone. The first step is to gently bend each of the four prongs in as shown at left. Do this in very small increments. Notice in the picture that you bend the length of the prong from the supporting circle of the setting to the end of the prong. After bending all four prongs in toward the center slightly, test the stone again by placing the setting on the stone as shown above-right.
When the setting appears that it could accommodate a gemstone about .5 to1mm smaller than your stone, you are ready to set the stone in the setting. This is done by pushing down on the setting as it is positioned above the stone. Use the thumb on your dominant hand. When done properly, you should need to apply firm pressure, but not extreme pressure. It should be about as difficult to push the stone as it would be to slide a gallon jug of milk on your kitchen table but not more difficult. Continue pushing until all four prongs pop into position with the girdle of the stone being held by the notch in each of the prongs. When held in position properly the stone should not easily turn in the setting. If your setting and gemstone do not appear as shown at right, adjust the prongs to remove the stone, adjust the prongs again to fit the stone and start over.
When you get the gemstone in this position the setting and gemstone will look great, but you aren't finished. The stone can be held firmly by the prongs, but over time will still come apart until you finish setting the gemstone by bending the top of each prong in so that it covers a small portion of the gemstone. See the picture at left. You need to bent the portion of the prong from the notch to the end of the prong in toward the center. This will require a little dexterity with your pliers and a little practice. (Please see page 18 for how to use our gemstone setting pliers to tighten your gemstone in the setting.) If you don't have gemstone setting pliers, use your chain nose or bent chain nose pliers on opposite prongs. On one of the opposite prongs align the jaws of your pliers along the length of the prong. On the opposite prong your pliers will be touching just the outside of the tip of the prong. Squeeze your pliers firmly in this position and it should bend the tip of the prong in. Reposition your pliers to squeeze the opposite prong's tip. Then reposition again to work on the other pair of opposing prongs. When you have done this properly, the stone should be gripped so tightly in the setting that it can't spin or move in any way. If you look at the picture at right closely, you should notice that the tip of each prong is bent inward to cover a small portion of the gemstone.
A few notes for consideration. First, you should not be able to scratch your gemstone with your pliers. You can scratch your pliers with your gemstone, but this won't be a problem. In this process you won't need to worry about scratching your gemstone. Second, you will need to worry about your pliers scratching your setting. If your toolsmanship isn't the best, your pliers may slip as you are squeezing the setting. This will cause a scratch in the setting. If this happens you may need to file the scratch smooth with a jeweler's file. After using the jeweler's file you may need to polish the scratched area. Use your file as little as possible.
Good Luck in setting larger gemstones. This isn't easy, but it is worth it. Remember that you will get better with practice (we did.) If two carat stones are good and four carat stones are great, then what is a 6 carat stone? (A 12mm gemstone is the same size as a 6 carat diamond.)
In the following web page we discuss how to modify a commercial chain to fit through the loops in a pendant finding like the one shown here.
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Last modified: January 19, 2010
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