Monday, February 03, 2014

How to flush set faceted stones

Flush setting stones is a great alternative to having a raised setting such as a bezel, tubes, or prongs.

Flush setting round stones can be a quick and (relatively) easy way to add a bit of sparkle to a piece of jewelry. (and who doesn't like a little bit of sparkle now and then??) You can also set other shapes of stones, there is just a little bit of difference in how you get there. :)
Here is a wonderful video from Cristina on how to flush set round stones:

A somewhat simplified overview:
  • for a round stone you drill a hole, enlarge the hole a bit with a bud or round bur, and then tweak it a little with a setting bur before inserting your stone and burnishing to lock it in place.

  • for a stone such as a trillion you need to mark off the stone position then drill multiple holes, use a jewelers saw to pierce the rough shape, use gravers and various burs to create a custom seat for the stone, then set the stone by 'tapping' or hammer setting to lock it in place

Alternate shape stones require a bit more time to create a seat, but with practice, you can master this and have a great technique to add to your skillset.

It's been a while since I have flush set anything other than rounds but Cristina piqued my interest and since I've determined to get back to the bench, I decided to pull out some practice materials and dust off the gravers!

Flush set trillion in brass mount

This is a cast brass ring mount just for practicing and a faceted trillion (black CZ).  So - how is it done? In a nutshell:

I began by turning the stone upside down on the shank for positioning. I used crazy glue to secure the stone (I used an accelerant called Zip Kicker to rapidly set the glue) and then traced around the stone with a scribe. (you can just 'tap' the stone loose from crazy glue and chip it off with your fingernail)  

I then drilled three small holes, at the points, before using my jewelers saw to pierce out the shape. (sawing at a slight angle to sort of mirror the slope of the stone) 

After that it was almost all graver work as I don't presently have the proper burs for this size work. Working slowly I enlarged the hole with a flat graver and cut a seat (or ledge) for the stone to sit on. An onglette graver helped create an angled channel down in the corners and I used a tiny ball bur in each corner to create pockets for the stone points. 

Once the stone could sit down in the metal at the right position I smacked a piece of packing tape across the entire setting and used a hammer handpiece in my flexshaft to tap the metal bringing it down on the edges of the stone to hold the stone in place. 

I use the GRS quick change manual graver handle to go back and forth between gravers quickly. I like the system because it's compact and it feels very solid in my hand.

When I do the next one I'll take some photos during the process and share as I've received a lot of questions about this technique. :)
And here are some round flush set on a simple band

I want to say again that I really appreciate the feedback on my survey. If you haven't seen it, please go take a look and fill it out while you are there. :) It's been interesting to see the answers and read the comments - as I said in a post a few days back, there really aren't any surprises so far  - BUT, I should add that it's helped confirm a few things for me. -  and that's a very good thing! 

Don't forget that we're in the planning stages for this year's Jewelry Artists Network Retreat - and we're accepting Interest Forms this year as we may have a couple of spots open. :) 
Hope you'll consider joining us, it's always a LOT of fun!