Helen I. Driggs
Cool Tools & Hip Tips
Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, August 2017
It really hurts to look down at the ring you were so proud of, only to notice a stone that you set has gone AWOL. Trust me, I've been there. After some fearful time spent crawling around on the floor, I eventually found my missing stone, and that painful experience taught me a lesson: securely setting a stone is not as easy as it seems. Setting is a precise, picky, and persnickety vocation that takes more patience and skill than you probably think, but you can learn how to do it. And if you do, it's worth it.
One important tip is to focus your efforts: start with one setting and shape, and master it before moving on. Another, of course, is that having the right resources and tools will help.
Start with Good Information
You and I both know that normally I'd start right off here with some delicious or seductive tool, but on this occasion, I can honestly say that Alan Revere's brand-new “Professional Stonesetting: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Setting Techniques” is the most desirable object to cross my studio threshold in at least six months, and it isn't even made of steel. This book is a pivotally important reference for anyone intending to set stones – no matter what level maker they may be or think they are.
First off, I love the book because it follows the reliable, traditional method for jewelers educaton that I know works: you start with “easy” techniques, master them, and progress to more difficult ones. Sure, there is a time and place for instant gratification jewelry making, but stone setting isn't it. For setting, you owe it to yourself to start at the beginning, unlearn what you think you know, do each exercise as presented and, only if you did well, move on the the next one.
Alan helps you follow this parth by presenting 21 classic settings from thin and medium bezels, pavé, and channels, for all the classic stone shapes, with clear, close-up photos and supporting diagrams of the critical steps. With my first look, I found the solution to one stone setting issue I have struggled with forever – clean corners on square settings - so, thank you Alan Revere and Tim McCreight and his Brynmorgen Press for a brilliant, wonderful, essential reference. An jeweler must, must, must, own and use this book. Period.
Helen I. Driggs Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, August 2017