How to set loose gemstones

Written by rose brown
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How to set loose gemstones
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Gemstones come in an array of shapes, sizes, colours and cuts. Natural treasures from the earth, gemstones lend their vibrant hues and sparkle to all types of jewellery. Typically, gemstones are set before they are incorporated into piece of jewellery. The most common type of setting for a gemstone is a basket setting, which holds the gemstone in place with tiny metal prongs. Basket settings keep gemstones secure without detracting from their beauty. While professional jewellers can set loose gemstones for you, you can set them yourself with relative ease.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Gemstones
  • Ruler
  • Basket settings
  • Prong-setting pliers

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  1. 1

    Measure the size of each loose gemstone you intend to set. Determine the gemstones’ width, length and depth in millimetres using a ruler. Note that basket settings are categorised according to their size in millimetres.

  2. 2

    Identify the cuts of the loose gemstones you plan to set. Remember that gemstone cuts include, but are not limited to, emerald, princess, round, pear, cushion and rose. Know the cut of the gemstones so you can choose basket settings in the right shape as well as the proper size.

  3. 3

    Choose an individual basket setting for each gemstone you wish to set. Select basket settings that correspond to the size and cut of each gemstone. Find basket settings at online jewellery supply vendors, such as or, or have a professional jeweller order them for you. Purchase basket settings in precious metal, such as platinum, gold or sterling silver, to ensure your gemstones are set in a durable, quality metal that won't change colour.

  4. 4

    Position the loose gemstones in their basket settings with their fronts facing upward toward the ceiling. Bend the tiny metal prongs of the basket settings down over the gemstones using prong pliers. Make sure the prongs are pressed snugly against the gemstones to hold them in place.

Tips and warnings

  • Once your gemstones are set, solder small bails--metal loops--onto the tops of the settings and wear them as pendants or connect them to ear wires to wear as earrings.

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