Gem Settings


There are three methods of securing a gem with metal . They are bezel , prong , and channel settings . Pearls tend to turn inside prongs , which damages their surface , so they are usually set with an adhesive . Occasionally other gems are glued as well .

Bezel setting

A bezel is a metal band that wraps around a stone . They are stronger than prong settings , but have the disadvantage of not allowing as much light into the gem . For this reason , they are generally used for cabochons . Faceted gems look better in prong settings where more light can enter the stone . Most bezels are hand made , but one can order bezel cups in standard sizes .

Prong Settings

The pieces that hold the stones are called " heads ". They come in the same shapes as the gems they hold ; round , oval , rectangular , marquise , etc . Heads can hold single stones or many . Some heads are solid pieces and others are wire baskets . Note the amount of metal used as it varies considerably . The more metal , the stronger setting .   

Prong settings are preferred for faceted gems . Sometimes they are as simple as a few pieces of wire soldered onto the main piece .

This technique is very versatile . It can be used for simple or elaborate designs .

While some prongs are just wires , others are much stronger . These are designed for daily wear .

Channel Settings

Channel settings align several gems in a row . The channels are cut length wise in the ring .       The stones are placed in channels , which overlap their edges .

While beautiful , they are prone to loosing gems . Lifting a heavy suitcase can cause enough bend in a ring for the stones to pop out . If you chose a channel setting , make sure it has substantial metal both in the band and around the stones .

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