Setting gemstones to make your own jewellery.

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Setting your own gems in ready-made blank settings is a very easy and affordable way of setting your gems in ready-to-wear jewellery pieces.  If you are a hobby gem cutter or just like buying gemstones, this is a good way of creating saleable pieces from this interest.

Many people interested in gemstones have a stockpile of loose gems that rarely see the light of day.  While it is nice to have a collection of nice gems, their real value and beauty is expressed when they are set in a fine piece of jewellery.  While custom made pieces are suitable for very expensive, high value gemstones, it can be difficult to find a good manufacturing jeweller and the work is usually quite expensive. 

Currently, there are 2 main types of blank jewellery settings:  Snap-Sure settings and Pre-notched Cast settings.  See below for more information.

This is a revolutionary new idea in gem setting.  It is so simple that it's silly !  These are available in a wide range of gems sizes and shapes.  These simple claw-settings are ideal for the inexperienced to start on.  Once you have done a few of these, it will give you confidence to step up to the cast settings.  Please note the Snap-Sure settings generally are lighter than the cast settings and are more suitable for smaller stones.  See our easy to follow instructions below or see our gem setting page for some helpful photographs:

a)  Just turn the stone face down (point up) on a semi-hard surface that will not scratch the gemstone (eg. magazine, etc). 

b)  Push the mounting down over the gem until it "snaps in".  Check and make sure the stone is level in the setting - if it is not, a gentle push with your fingernail should straighten it up.

c)  Check to make sure the prongs are snug against the girdle of the gem - if they are not closed tightly on the gem, use some smooth pliars to press them across the opposing prongs under the gem.  Do not use serrated jaw pliars as these can scratch the silver.

d)  Remember - gentle is the key as too much pressure can twist your setting or damage a valued gemstone.

e)  In most cases, adjustments like this are not necessary.  The whole setting process will literally take just a few seconds.

These cast settings are slightly heavier in construction compared to the Snap-Sure settings.  Therefore, these will wear better.  There is no cutting seats or filing prongs necessary as all claws are pre-notched for your convenience.  These castings are also fully finished with just a normal polish necessary after the stone has been set.  Some castings available are only semi-finished and require specialised tools to complete the piece so please remember to check this when comparing prices.  See our easy to follow instructions below or see our gem setting page for some helpful photographs:

a)  Place your gem in the setting - this can be done similarly to step 1 above by placing face down and pushing the setting over the gemstone.

b)  Turn the setting + gemstone over carefully so that the top of the piece faces you.  Level the stone in the setting with your finger

c)  Use a pair of smooth jawed pliers to gently bend the prong in against the gemstone but do not tighten completely at this stage.  Work in an X pattern to tighten opposite prongs in sequence. 

d)  Closely inspect that the gemstone is level and square within the setting as you work.  If the gem is not square, simply close the opposing prong slightly to adjust this.

e)  Once you are happy with how the gem is sitting, tighten all the prongs to complete the job.  A prong pusher is recommended for this step (see below) but is not essential.

f)  Remember to be gentle and take your time to avoid damaging the setting and/or the gemstone.  Do not use excess pressure or force.

g)  For settings with accent stones, be sure to mount these first before doing the main gem.


Suitable pliers can be found off the shelf in beading supply shops and are easily found on Ebay.  However, you may have something already that can be modified to suit. We just use a simple pair of hobby pliers that have the serrations ground off the jaws (see photo on our gem setting page)

Prong pushers are recommended for the final tightening step - pliers can be used for this but a prong pusher is designed for the job.  These are also easily purchased but are very simple to make - just find a screwdriver with a comfortable handle and cut off to convenient length, then just grind the end smooth and flat (see photo on our gem setting page).

Using these settings is very easy but we do recommend care.  Please use the instructions above as a guide and be very careful not to damage either the setting or your gemstone.  Slow and steady is the recommended approach. 

Hope this has been of some assistance to those looking for something to do with all those gemstones.  Dont leave them sitting in a box gathering dust - set them and let the world see them in a fine piece of jewellery.


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