Gemstone Settings

Here are the main types of gemstone settings:

Prong or claw setting

Usually four to eight prongs (but can be many more and sometimes only two).  Prong tips can be rounded, oval, flat or v-shaped.

This is the most common type of setting.

  Europe, c. 1800-1869   Ring, faceted hessonite garnet   V&A Museum

Europe, c. 1800-1869
Ring, faceted hessonite garnet
V&A Museum

Bezel or Semi-Bezel Setting

 A metal rim or collar completely encases the sides of a stone with the rim extending slightly above the stone.

In the case of a semi-bezel, the metal does not go all the way around the sides of the stone.

One of the oldest types of settings.

  Mid 19th century   Ring, peridot intaglio set in gold   V&A Museum

Mid 19th century
Ring, peridot intaglio set in gold
V&A Museum

  Europe, c. 1800-1913   Ring, demantoid garnet, set in gold   V&A Museum

Europe, c. 1800-1913
Ring, demantoid garnet, set in gold
V&A Museum

 

Pave or Bead Setting

The gemstones are set very close together so that no metal shows from underneath.

Inlay Setting

This is when the gemstone is embedded into a hollowed out place in the metal.

Flush Setting (also called ‘Burnish Setting’ or ‘Gypsy Setting’)

This is the same as an inlay setting, but the stone and the metal are level.

Illusion or Invisible Setting

Several stones are laid side by side with no metal in between.

Grooves in each stone fit into a metal frame which is hidden from view below the surface.

Tension Setting

This is a relatively new type of ring setting where the metal is used to hold the stone in place, suspended between the open shank.  Small groves are made into the metal to hold the stones in place.  First developed in the late 1960s.

Bar Setting

Stones are set between bars of metal. I have been unable to find an example of this used in antique jewelry.

 

Sources / further reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tension_ring

http://www.theauroragems.com/jewelry-information/type-of-gemstone-settings

http://guide.diamondpriceguru.com/diamond-and-ring-basics/ring-settings/choosing-a-diamond-ring-settings/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonesetting

 

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