How to Set Stones in a Ring

Updated July 20, 2017

There are myriad ways to set gemstones in a ring. Flat-bottomed semi-precious stones are often set in bezels, which encircle the stone to secure it in place. Stones such as onyx, jasper and malachite are typical gems bezel-set into dramatic oversized rings. With the gypsy, or flush setting, the stone is virtually embedded within the ring so its look is subtle yet elegant. Faceted stones, such as cubic zirconium, diamonds, aquamarines and sapphires are often flush-set within a simple gold or platinum band. Stone-setting techniques vary depending on the type of stone used, faceted or cabochon, and the setting itself.

Measure the gemstone's diameter at the pavilion using the digital calipers. The pavilion of a faceted stone is the part that will sit below the surface of the metal. Only the crown or the top of stone and facets will show above the metal.

Mark the position on the ring band where you want to place the stone. Position the centre punch over the mark and hit it firmly with a hammer to make a dent for where you will drill the pilot hole. This hole is used as a starting point for drilling a larger hole and prevents the larger drill bit from slipping and possibly scratching the ring band.

Drill a pilot hole using the flex shaft fitted with a small drill bit. Drill all the way through the metal band.

Select a drill bit that's about 3/4 the size of the diameter of the gem stone or smaller. Measure the drill bit using the digital calipers. Drill into the pilot hole to make it larger.

Create a seat for the stone to sit. Carve a seat, about 1 to 2mm deep into the metal opening you have created, using a round burr. You are countersinking the metal so that, when in place, the table of the stone, the flat surface or face at the top of the stone, sits flush with the metal ring band.

Test the stone for fit. If the stone sits too high, carve the seat deeper.

Put the stone into the seat. Grasp the burnisher with your dominant hand and press the sharp tip down into the metal at 12 o'clock, about 1 to 2mm from the edge of the stone. Push the bead of metal against the stone.

Press another bead of metal against the stone, now at the 6 o'clock position, opposite the bead you created in Step 7. Repeat at both the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions, working your way around the stone.

Cover the ring band and area surrounding the bezel with masking tape to protect it from getting scratched.

Place the cabochon in the bezel that is on the ring. The flat base of the cabochon should face downward.

Hold a bezel pusher in your hand, with the rounded base tucked into your palm and the blunt, flat end of the bezel pusher facing outward. The bezel pusher looks like a flat-topped square screwdriver and it's used to press the metal of the bezel against the stone.

Press the flat edge of the bezel pusher against the metal, pressing down and then upward to flatten the metal against the stone.

Repeat the Step 4, on the opposite side of the stone. Follow a compass pattern (e.g. north, south, east, west) to make sure the bezel is pressed evenly against the stone on all sides, otherwise the metal may pucker or crimp. Continue pressing the bezel pusher against the metal until the bezel is tight and smooth against the stone.

Press the smooth edge of the burnisher, just below the curved tip, against the top edge of the bezel that surrounds the stone. The burnisher is used to polish the edges of the metal bezel and further harden it. The edge of the metal will turn shiny when it has been rubbed with the burnisher.

Remove the masking tape from the ring band.

Things You'll Need

  • Center punch
  • Hammer
  • Ring band
  • Faceted gemstone
  • Digital caliper
  • Flex shaft machine
  • Drill bits
  • Round burr
  • Burnisher
  • Ring band with bezel setting
  • Masking tape
  • Cabochon
  • Bezel pusher
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