Setting stones in jewellery
When we head out to buy jewellery studded with diamonds, we know what to look for. The 4 C's - cut, colour, carat and clarity - are at the top of our minds. But to make the perfect buy, we need to keep in mind just one more detail, namely the setting of the stones in the piece. The manner in which a semi-precious or precious stone is set is co-dependent on the quality of the stone, and the right setting will showcase the gem in all its brilliance. This is most important in the purchase of wedding and engagement rings, so all you to-be-wed men out there, read on!
The bezel setting style for jewellery is among the oldest known to craftsmen today. It is pleasing to the eye as there are no sharp edges; only a rounded, smooth finish. It is also the most secure for of attaching the stone to the piece as it involves the metal strip forming a band around the gemstone. The stone is placed deep inside the mount and the metal is pushed around and a little over the stone to form a safe ring. It's a versatile style which works for both faceted and cabochon stones.
One of the most commonly seen settings, the prong setting can be varied according to the size and cut of the gem. Since the diamond or gemstone is at a raised level with just a few, slim metal prongs holding it in place, it catches light very easily. This increases its bling and glitter value in the eyes of most customers. It is a preferred setting for solitaires, where the focus is on the jewel. Abhishek Rastogi, Design Manager at Tanishq states that prong setting was much sought after in traditional jewellery, especially those set with diamonds. The Tiffany setting, where four or six prongs hold the stone at its girdle (the thickest portion) is a variation of the regular prong setting. It is the unique style used by Tiffany & Co.
This is the most preferred style of setting for various pieces of jewellery, especially when diamonds are the stones being used. The jewels are placed close together in tiny grooves or notches in the metal band, and are secured using very little metal. The finished effect is that of a continuous band of gemstones, like that of cobblestones on a pavement, punctuated by barely-there beads of metal. Siddhartha Sacheti, COO of Jaipur Gems stated that pavé is preferred by most women. It is best used if you have many small diamonds of good clarity waiting to be set in a single piece. Platinum Guild International sees the use of a full circle of pavé diamonds on narrow platinum bands as a popular trend. The pendant from Tanishq's Mia collection is an interesting mix of textures, where diamonds in the pave setting surround a single mother-of-pearl piece.
Channel setting is a great option when the stones are of uniform size. Here, gemstones are secured between two bands of precious metal, creating a channel. It is also a very secure setting, protecting the stones from chipping girdles. The stones are placed side by side along the channel and the metal is hammered up around them. This setting suits a variety of faceted stones, including baguettes, princess cut, round and emerald cut. It is also a favourite for engagement bands, for both men and women and is featured in many a wedding collection. The channel setting with baguettes is additionally used as an accent to a centre stone in high jewellery pieces. Similar to the channel setting is the bar setting, where thin metal bars are placed on either side of each gemstone to hold it in place. This is a more contemporary look and used usually for finger rings. It is also a look that would suit men's jewellery pieces, as the metal is showcased along with the stones.
Some lesser known settings are the snow, invisible and flush. Snow setting was invented by the gem setters at luxury watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre for one of their Reverso watches. Here, diamonds of different sizes are meticulously chosen and placed following the lines of the design alone. It creates the look of a carpet of fallen snow completely covering the metal; only in glittering diamonds. The smaller sized diamonds fit perfectly with the larger ones to create a single setting. The invisible setting is created by slipping the grooves of the gems' girdles into the metal framework in such a way that no metal is seen between the stones.
It is perfect for baguette diamonds. Flush setting is great for men's jewellery as it is quite understated. It is also useful for stones which are quite small or lacking in clarity, as the metal is pushed up around the stone until the upper edge of the stone is fairly at the same level as the metal band. It offers great protection to the stones but limits the amount of light entering it.
If you like your jewellery bold, pick a setting that shows off the jewels best. For the more subtle jewellery buyer, settings like the bar and bezel will be a great fit. Your jeweller will be able to guide you through more settings and styles, till you find the perfect one.