If you go to Jewelry Boxes & Supplies and click on settings you can find rings, pendants and earring settings that are just waiting to be set with your gemstones. I have written the following to help encourage you to try gemstone setting in your favorite casting.
The easy mount settings we use in our rings (the majority of them) are wonderful! You would need a smooth jawed (ridges would make marks in the metal) jewelers pliers to pull the prongs up to the side (girdle) of the gemstone working in an X pattern making sure the prongs are evenly spaced apart from each other. When this is done, you want to lightly press down on the top of the prong to where it lightly touches the stone. Do this again in an X pattern and do it slowly going around the stone several times tightening a little more each time. If you slide a piece of paper between the prong and the stone you need to adjust that prong a little more. I check if the stone is secure by tapping it lightly with my finger nail. If the stone moves, tighten the prongs a little more. A gem setters tool is great for setting prongs but they can be expensive (mine were $44) but a good investment if you plan on setting a lot of stones. Search ebay for Easy Mount Gemsetting Pliers and you might find some. I think I got my set of six jewelers pliers at a discount store for $10-12 dollars. A set of jewelers files and real fine sandpaper are good things to have on hand. Using a piece of soft leather between metal and pliers can help keep from marring the metal. Also a small piece of bees wax in the setting can help keep the stone from moving around and will clean out easily with hot water.I wish someone would have told me:
- It takes more than a few minutes to set prongs.
- You don't just set a prong, I now go around the setting several times slowly pressing down each prong little by little until they are right.
- Don't do this when you are tired!
- Be gentle, you are pushing the prong tip to touch the stone, don't push down on the stone or the other end will pop up. Too much tension on the stone can cause it to chip.
- Always order prenotched prongs and note that not all prenotched are easy mounts.
- Start out with a simple one stone ring that you could live without should it get messed up. I have ruined a few settings, chipped some stones and cried a few tears but now it is all worth it!
Now the good news! Easy mounts are usually ready for the stone and you just push the tip down. Once you master this, you will be a step above snap in jewelry! If you keep at it and don't give up, you will be surprised that it does get easier.
I hope this helps, I just put everything in my own words--the way I wish I could have learned it! Most books I read on the subject just didn't say enough and I really had to read between the lines and learn the hard way.