What does it take to be a diamond setter?
Creating a diamond setting is an extremely delicate process
When it comes to the design of an engagement ring, a diamond takes centre stage. Therefore, it’s very important for a skilful diamond setter to be involved in the process of jewellery making. But why exactly is that?
It’s up to a diamond setter to make sure the diamond is secure on a piece of jewellery; the true challenge is to make sure the gemstone feature in the best possible way without the setting overpowering the design. Therefore, being a diamond setter is a skill mastered over time. It takes years of experience for a diamond setter to master different techniques and styles under the watchful eye of a setting expert. When it comes to additional skills it’s important to be patient, hands on and creative. Here are a few steps a diamond setter will take to produce a setting that will maximise the durability and enhance the dazzle of the diamond:
STEP 1 – THE ART OF STONE SETTING
There’s no denying that it takes sure precision, creativity and expert skill to create the perfect setting for a specific diamond. In a diamond setter’s case, the tools definitely play a very important role in the making of the setting. Using the right tools will help the diamond setter cut slots into the metal before they can place the stone; they need to create the right amount of pressure to beads, finesse prongs and walls around the unique stones. With very steady hands the diamond setter will use hand-held tools such as a bezel rocker, a pusher, a ring clamp, a burnisher and a set of needle files to place the diamonds in platinum or gold.
TOOLS USED BY A DIAMOND SETTER
The bezel rocker is used to neatly secure the gemstone in place
Bezel rocker – In order for a diamond setter to create a bezel (cup in which the diamond is held) they need a bezel rocker. This specific tool will ensure that there are no unsightly marks on the metal band of the ring. How is it used? The bezel around the diamond will be pushed from side to side by the bezel rocker to neatly secure the gemstone.
A diamond setter will use a pusher to push claws over a gemstone
Pusher – The pusher is used to securely place prongs or claws over a diamond. The wooden handle is perfectly designed to fit comfortably in the diamond setter’s palm while they push the areas of the setting around the gemstone to securely hold it in place.
The ring clamp is great tool to hold a piece of jewellery without leaving a mark
Ring clamp – A ring clamp is an essential tool if a diamond setter is planning to place diamonds in a metal that is difficult to hold by hand. But how would the piece of equipment assist? The tool has a leather lined jaw which allows the diamond setter to hold the metal ring or piece of jewellery without leaving a mark. This will help the diamond setter to speed up the process of placing a diamond neatly in a setting.
A diamond setter will use a burnisher to create a professional finish
Burnisher – This wonderful piece of equipment will allow the diamond setter to give the metal of the ring or piece of jewellery a smooth and shiny finish. It’s also used to polish out unwanted marks on the metal that were made during the diamond setting process. The burnisher really comes in handy when it comes to assisting the diamond setter in creating a professional finish.
A variety of needle files are used by the diamond setter
Set of needle files – A diamond setter would use needle files to file down the height of a bezel making the diamond fit more securely. Needle files are also a great tool to use when a diamond setter is planning to make the bezel finer from the inside; this will make is easier for the diamond setter to place the diamond in the metal. There are more than six types of needle files to suit the diamond setter’s needs while creating a specific diamond setting.
STEP 2 – INSTRUCTIONS
After a diamond setter has selected their tools, polishing machines, drills and tiny chisels they will wear magnifying goggles or look through a modern magnifying scope; this will assist them to view the finer detail of their work. Once they have everything ready a diamond setter will receive a job bag with a diamond that has already been polished and cut and the jewellery mount. Setting a pair of earrings can take up to a half an hour while a more complex piece of jewellery can take anything from eight to nine hours to finish. Here’s a list of the possible settings the diamond setter might receive from the workshop:
STEP 3 – CREATE A SPECIFIC TYPE OF SETTING
A diamond setter will take years of experience and practice before mastering the following well-known settings:
PRONG OR CLAW SETTING
A variety of needle files are used by the diamond setter
In order for a diamond setter to be able to master a prong or claw setting, they need to be able to place the diamond in a small metal claw that securely holds it in place. The diamond setter will have the option to create a round, pointed, flat or V-shaped prong; this all depends on the size and style of the diamond.
A halo setting makes the centre stone appear larger
When it comes to the halo setting the diamond setter needs to make sure the centre diamond is the main focus. The challenge for the master setter would be to place micro settings around the main diamond to make the stone appear larger.
BEZEL OR TUBE SETTING
A bezel setting has a thin metal rim around the centre diamond
For a bezel setting a diamond setter would have to secure the diamond in a thin metal rim called the bezel or tube setting. The diamond setter will then ensure that the setting protects the diamond, as it’s meant to do. To complete this process, the diamond setter will have to use tools such as carbide burrs; tools used to cut through metal.
A channel setting includes two banks of thin metals on either side of the gemstone
With the channel setting a diamond setter needs to secure a row of diamonds between two banks of thin metal on either side. The challenge for the master setter is to place diamonds seamlessly right next to each other with no gap along the channel.
The pavé setting gives smaller gemstones extra sparkle
A diamond setter’s goal for the pavé setting is to ensure that the small diamonds are securely held in place with tiny beads of metal. This specific type of setting is extremely difficult to master, and is extremely time consuming as each diamond is set to create a diamond encrusted look.
A tension setting is when the diamond is secured by the tension of the metal band
The tension setting gets its name from the effect it has on a diamond. In order for a diamond setter to create a tension-style setting, they need to ensure that the diamond is secured by the tension of two metal bands. But how exactly would they do that?
It’s important for the diamond setter to get the exact dimensions of the diamond using a laser to calibrate the size. Once the diamond setter has the measurements they will cut tiny grooves into the sides of the metal bands to keep the diamond in place on both sides; using the pressure of the custom-designed metal.
A diamond setter needs to create small prongs while making a micro setting
The micro setting, also known as the micro-prong setting, takes a lot of skill and attention to detail to achieve. Here the diamond setter has to secure diamonds in a very small (micro) prong. The diamond setter’s challenge would be to create a ring or piece of jewellery where the micro set diamonds add to the overall design of the ring while giving it an encrusted look and feel.
SWISS OR GYPSY SETTING
A diamond setter will securely place a diamond without the stone sticking out from above the surface
When it comes to men’s wedding bands, the swiss or gypsy setting is usually the most fitting. The reason? The diamond setter will securely place a diamond in the centre of the metal band without the stone sticking out from above the surface. This way the diamond is protected by not exposing the girdle of diamond in any way.
A diamond setter needs to make sure that they can securely place a diamond on a piece of metal while displaying the stone in the best possible way. This delicate skill takes years of practice and guidance for a setter to master. So, next time you view your beautiful piece of jewellery or engagement ring keep the passion and hard work of a diamond setter in mind.