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Prong Setting Gems: A Beginner’s Guide

Using prongs is the most common way to secure a gem to a jewelry piece. Learn basic prong setting procedures and how to make a variety of adjustments.

11 Minute Read

For your jewelry to look good and the gems to stay secure, you must learn to set your stones correctly. This will take some practice. Start with the easiest gems to set: thin cut, but not too small, round stones like diamond and cubic zirconia. Then, try deep, “belly cut” rounds. Next, proceed to ovals and other fancy shapes. Although tiny gems are simple, they pose their own challenges simply due to their size. You can attempt these once you familiarize yourself with prong setting tools and procedures.

The prong setting process is fairly complex, due to the number of factors you must keep in mind. However, it requires just average eye-hand coordination and a healthy desire to learn.

Required Tools for Prong Setting Gems

Setting Notches

Most prong settings come with long wires or bars you’ll need to notch and shorten. (You can also find pre-notched “Easy Mounts.” They’ll save you time and labor but still require a…

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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