Monday Jun 17, 2024

Choosing the Setting, The Jewelry Buying Guide

Choosing the Setting

The setting you choose will be determine primarily by your personal taste. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to be familiar with a few of the most common settings so that you have a working vocabulary and some idea of what is available.

– Bezel setting.

With a bezel setting, a rim holds the Amethyst gemstone and completely surrounds the gem. Bezels can have straight edges, scalloped edges, or can be molded into any shape to accommodate the gemstone. The backs can be open or closed. One advantage of the bezel setting is that it can make a stone look larger. The bezel setting can also conceal nicks or chips on the girdle. It can also protect the girdle of the stone from chips and nicks.
Keep in mind that if you use yellow gold in a bezel setting, the yellow of the bezel surrounding the gemstone will be reflected into the gemstone, causing white stones to appear less white. On the other hand, a yellow gold bezel can make a red stone such as ruby look even more red or an emerald look more green.

A variation on the bezel setting is the collet setting. The collet setting has a similar appearance to the bezel setting but involves the use of gold tubing.

– Prong setting.

Prong settings are perhaps the most common type of setting. They come in an almost infinite variety; four prong, six prong, and such special styles as the Belcher, Fishtail, or six prong Tiffany. In addition, prongs can be pointed, rounded, flat, or V-shaped. Extra prongs provide added security for the stone and can make a stone look slightly larger. However, too many prongs holding too small a stone can overpower the stone and make the setting look heavy. When setting a marquise, heart shape, or pear shape gemstone, it is recommended that the point or points be held by a V-shaped prong which will best protect the point or points. For emerald cut gemstones which have canted corners, straight, flat prongs are the best choice.

– Gypsy setting.

In this type of setting, the shank (metal part of the ring that goes around the finger) is one continuous piece that gets broader at the top, and is shaped on top into a dome. At the center of the domed top is an opening, into which the gemstone is inserted. There are no prongs. The look is smooth and clean, and popular for men’s jewelry.

– Illusion setting.

The illusion setting is used to make the mounted gemstone appear larger by surrounding it with metal, often worked to create an interesting design.

– Flattop and bead setting.

In a flat top setting a faceted gemstone is placed into a hole in the flat top of the metal and then held in place by a small chips of metal attached at the stone’s girdle. Sometimes these metal chips are worked into small beads, so this setting is sometimes called a bead setting.

– Channel setting.

Channel setting is used extensively today, especially for wedding bands (or wedding rings). The stones are set into a channel with no metal separating them. In some cases the channel can continue completely around the ring, so that the piece has a continuous row of stones.

– Bar setting.

Bar setting, which resembles a channel setting, combines the contemporary and classic look. It is used in a circular band and, rather than using prong, each gemstone is held in the ring by a long tin bar, shared between two stones.

– Pave setting.

Pave setting is used for numerous small stones set together in a cluster with no metal showing through. The impression is that the piece is entirely paved with stones. The setting can be flat or domed shaped, and can be worked so that the piece almost appears to one large single gemstone. Fine pave setting work can be very expensive.

– Cluster setting.

A cluster setting usually consists of one large gemstone and several smaller stones as accents. A cluster setting is designed to create a lovely larger piece from from small stones.

Distinctive contemporary settings

Today there are many interesting and distinctive designs offering something for everyone. Fine “casting” houses produce top quality settings that simply await the stones to finish them off. Some firms produce “semi-mounts,” settings complete with side stones, awaiting only your center gemstone. These can provide affordable and easy solutions to creating a new ring, or remounting stones from something else.
An increasing number of custom jewelry designers also cater to today’s market. International jewelry design competitions such as the Spectrum Awards designer competition sponsored by the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), or the Diamonds International Awards sponsored by the Diamond Information Center, provide a showcase for their work. The result is an almost limitless choice, ranging from bold sculpted gold and platinum combinations to intricate antique reproductions.

 

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