Friday, October 25, 2013

Setting Faceted Stones

Learning and teaching is so important at a young age.  It paves the way to understanding for a foundation for later life experiences.  Now that later life is here, learning and teaching continues to be an integral part of my life.  At this time I am in both teaching and learning mode.  It has offered a great amount of growth experiences. 

Card made by my mother of me in my younger "learning" years.

Recently I signed up for an online Craft University class where Ann Cahoon, a gold-smith from Massachusetts, demonstrates how to bezel set with tubes, prong setting and flush setting.  Ann is smart, concise and a great teacher.  After reviewing the class content the student does homework assignments and then submits them to Ann for critique.  This process is time sensitive and ends in a couple of weeks.  It truly is like taking a University class. 

I began this process with reviewing the content for all three modalities of faceted setting.  I found that at this time of my life, I am not interested in the complexities of flush settings.  I also wonder about the integrity of the flush setting.  While I enjoy the prong setting process, it is the bezel setting with tubing that most excites me.  So, the two classes that I focused on were the bezel and the prong setting. 

Bezel setting with tubes, I have learned, is not acurately called tube settings.  I had always called it this and find it hard to change my ways, so for now I will call it bezel setting with tubes.  I had thought that bezel settings were for cabochons.  I first started bezel setting cabochons about four years ago.  

The faceted stone has "parts" like an ant has parts.  I remember learning ant parts in high school:  Ant thorax, mandible and legs.  The parts of a gemstone are: table, crown, girdle, pavilion and culet.  Before this class I called those parts: flat top, faceted part, widest part, slopey part and point.  In this instance, progress come in the form of correct terminology. 

I am being brave in sharing my first examples on my blog as my technique is not yet ready for public display, but if I share them now I can then share other examples and the progress of the process will be documented. Perhaps someone reading this blog one day can find some comfort that they are not alone in faceted stone setting inadequacies. 

In my untouched photos I have numbered the copper plates.  Those numbers indicate the chronological order of attempts to the technique.

Prong setting side view

The stones used for the settings are purple cz.  These stones are used because they have similar qualities to diamonds. 

Prong setting top view

The problems that I had with bezel setting with the tube was sawing the tube perfectly straight for soldering onto the copper plate and then getting the top of the tube level to the table of the stone. I commiserated with my fellow students and found that I was not alone in this technique.  In addition to getting the tube completely square, I seem to have difficulty with getting my "seat" drilled with the bur bit level.  In attempting to get it level my stone would fall far below the top of the bezel.

Front view of bezel settings.  1=unlevel table  4=drilled too deeply

Top View of bezel setting

At this time I await the teacher to critique these examples.  It only goes UP from here.  Stay tuned for progress photos and hopefully a finished pendant with a bezel setting. 

Namaste, Susan


  1. Oooooo, how exciting! You are doing things that I have wanted to try, too. But, I have so much on my plate as it is that I'll just have to be content to live vicariously through you. :) Keep us up to date, Susan. I know you'll be using your new skills for some gorgeous pieces real soon.

  2. Oh my oh my, do I ever understand where you are coming from when you talk about full plates. It is as if there are so many exciting and challenging arts to discover and yet how does anyone ever get good at any one thing with all of those resources available? It is like a treasure hunt of the creative world. Thanks for your post, Tela. It is always great hearing from you.


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