jewelry settings - pendantjewelry settings - pendant

Choosing the Right Jewelry Settings for Your Gems

How do you choose jewelry settings for your gems? Learn the pros and cons of pre-made settings, assembling findings, modifying wax models, and custom work.

3 Minute Read

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When Pre-Made Jewelry Settings Won’t Do

Let’s say you’ve just acquired a beautiful, 8 x 6 mm sapphire. You’d like to pair it with a 3 mm diamond you’ve had sitting in a box for some time. You’re thinking of creating a pendant. After researching your favorite vendors, you can’t find anything to fit this combination of gemstones. What do you do now?

Your first option, both in difficulty and cost, is buying mass-produced findings and assembling them.

Assembling Mass-Produced Findings

Jewelry makers create jewelry from findings or “jewelry parts.” So, staying with your pendant project, you first need to locate a head for the oval sapphire. A head is just a basket with prongs to hold a gem. At this stage, it has nothing attached to it for use as a ring, pendant, etc.

Next, you need to find a bail, the part of the pendant that hangs from a chain. If you’re lucky, you can get one with a setting for a 3 mm round gem, all in one part. If not, get a separate setting for the diamond and solder it onto the bail. Then, solder the bail to the head.

Finally, set and polish the…

Donald Clark, CSM IMG

The late Donald Clark, CSM founded the International Gem Society in 1998. Donald started in the gem and jewelry industry in 1976. He received his formal gemology training from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Society of Gemcutters (ASG). The letters “CSM” after his name stood for Certified Supreme Master Gemcutter, a designation of Wykoff’s ASG which has often been referred to as the doctorate of gem cutting. The American Society of Gemcutters only had 54 people reach this level. Along with dozens of articles for leading trade magazines, Donald authored the book “Modern Faceting, the Easy Way.”

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