The stage where gemstones are firmly fastened into a metal casting or framework is known as “stone setting,” it is an essential yet complex step in the jewelry-making process. The stone setting’s main objective is to safely contain the gemstone while showcasing its brilliance, cut, clarity, and color. This vital process guarantees the gem’s security and improves its aesthetic appeal, enhancing the jewelry item’s overall beauty.
There are several stone setting types, each offering a distinctive appearance and calling for a particular skill set. The choice of setting can significantly alter the appearance of the finished item, from prong settings, which use metal tines to retain the gemstone, to bezel settings, where stones are wrapped in a narrow strip of metal.
Stone setting is an art that requires accuracy, time, and an excellent eye for detail, regardless of the technique used. It’s an intriguing part of jewelry design that combines artistry and aesthetics.
8 Stone Setting Types
1. Claw/Prong Setting
The most typical setting (known as prongs in North America) is a claw setting. This is because the setting does an excellent job of showcasing the stone, as the claws barely cover the stone’s top, and the open sides let light enter the stone’s back.
There are numerous options for the design components. If the stone has pointed corners (like Princess or Pear), you can use V-shaped claws instead of the more common square or round ones.
You can also change the setup’s claw count; choose a four-claw option if you want to go with tradition. Alternatively, you might choose six, eight, or ten claws or more, depending on the size and form of the stone.
Claw settings are frequently very durable when done well and maintained, although occasionally, the claws become caught on clothing and bend. Every few years, the claws must be retightened to ensure they are firmly holding the stone.
2. Bezel/Rub-Over Setting
A bezel setting, sometimes called a rub-over setting, in which the stone is held in place by metal that has been pushed over the stone, is one of the safest options.
Bezels are an excellent option for softer stones like emerald, tanzanite, and opal since they boost the stone’s level of protection.
Because of the setting’s form, not much light is let in underneath the stone, which might make diamonds or colored gemstones appear a touch lifeless. As a result, stones set using this approach are significantly less prone to fall out.
3. Halo Setting
The halo setting is a more modern variation of the more traditional cluster design. It is a popular choice because you get a lot of shine for your money.
The piece sparkles even brighter since there are more of them and because halo settings frequently employ smaller stones than cluster settings.
Because they let a lot of light into the stone, pave settings are typically utilized for halo settings.
The halo setting can be used with pretty much any style of stone, but it is extremely common with center stones that are Round and Oval cut.
4. Trilogy Setting
The trilogy setting is popular, especially for engagement rings. Take Meghan Markle‘s example!
This type of arrangement can be customized in several ways, including:
- Three stones with the exact dimensions and shapes
- Three different-shaped stones
- Smaller, equally shaped outside stones surround a large central stone.
- A sizable central stone and surrounding stones of varied shapes
Everything relies on the size, shape, and type of stones you use, making constructing a customized item much easier.
You can choose which of the two settings mentioned above will be used or mix and match them to suit your preferences. For instance, you may have the outer stones bezel and inner claw set.
5. Cluster Setting
This traditional and timeless style gained popularity in the 1980s and the late 2000s when Princess Diana and The Duchess of Cambridge wore cluster settings as engagement rings.
The cluster-style setting was one of the earliest settings designs that encircled the primary stone with smaller diamonds. Although you can choose to have all the stones be the same size, the center stone is typically noticeably larger than the side stones.
This engagement ring style is quite popular among people who select a colored gemstone rather than a diamond as the center stone, such as a sapphire or ruby.
6. Channel Setting
A channel setting is the most popular setting for eternity rings; it looks great and protects the little diamonds usually used in eternity bands.
The stones are fitted into a channel carved out of the band, and metal is placed over their edges to hold them there. Because the stones are fixed in the ring, they do not experience a lot of daily abuse. Princess or round brilliant cuts of diamonds are most frequently utilized in channel settings.
Accent stones can also be set on the shoulders of other ring styles, but eternity rings typically feature this kind of setting.
7. Pavé Setting
Using a pavé setting, little diamonds are frequently added to jewelry and, more recently, engagement rings. The word “pavé” in French means to cover anything, usually with stones. This is typically done with diamonds in jewelry.
Very tiny prongs are made when the diamond seats are carved, holding the stones in place, and frequently the results resemble tiny claw settings.
8. Micro-Pavé Setting
Micro-pavé is a pavé setting that uses very tiny stones, sometimes as small as 0.5mm, in contrast to the pavé setting previously described. Micro-pavé typically uses rows of small diamonds to produce a highly brilliant appearance.
Due to the tiny amount of metal holding the stones in place and the chance of a stone falling out with this style of setting, we typically wouldn’t recommend using this setting if you plan to wear the ring daily.
The Bottom Line
A simple piece of metal is transformed into a beautiful work of art through the crucial and challenging stone setting process in jewelry manufacturing. It entails precisely positioning gemstones into a metal framework to highlight their inherent beauty and ensure a tight fit. Whether it is a claw, bezel, trilogy, cluster, halo, channel, pavé, or micro-pavé setting, the choice of stone greatly impacts how the jewelry item turns out in the end.
Understanding stone setting allows us to appreciate the skill and accuracy that went into creating each piece of jewelry we see. Each technique adds to the variety of jewelry creation with special qualities and requirements. Therefore, understanding stone setting offers a fascinating insight into the artistry and expertise that go into producing every beautiful piece of jewelry, whether you’re a jewelry enthusiast, an aspiring jeweler, or someone who simply appreciates the beauty of a well-crafted piece.