Bringing Jewellery to Life
Setting the stone unites the stone with the jewellery creation for which it was designed. This is usually the last process involved in creating a piece of jewellery.
The union of the stone and its setting brings the jewellery creation to life. So much so, in fact, that it’s sometimes difficult to resist just popping the stone in for a sneak peek before all the work on the actual creation is complete! However, the risk of the stone getting stuck is too great and it needs to be kept away from many of the processes preceding the setting. Each jewellery creation calls for the transformation of gold and silver using a variety of skills, tools and techniques, many of which would harm the stone.
When incorporating a stone, I favour what is known as the “rubover” setting. With this setting, the stone is held in place securely by a continuous band of gold which is, literally, “rubbed” over the the edge of the stone. In my workshop, this “rubbing over” is achieved the traditional way using a setting punch and a chasing hammer.
Sensing the Rhythm
Firstly, the band is pushed gently over the stone in four points equally spaced around the stone. Then, a series of continuous and rhythmic taps of the chasing hammer deliver the required force to the smooth tip of the punch, easing the gold over the entire outer edge of the stone. Manipulating gold in this way, little by little, is one of the many satisfying aspects of being a goldsmith. Seeing and feeling how gold responds to the forces applied means I can make fine adjustments for a perfect finish.
A Creation to Cherish
After a final polish, the creation is complete and ready to be cherished!