handmade jewelry & metalsmithing

Setting Stones: Tube Settings

One of the first things new metalsmiths want to learn is how to set gemstones. It’s a great way to add color and value to a piece. I’m going to cover some simple ways to set stones, beginning with the easiest- tube setting. Tube setting is ideal for small round stones. It is great for beginners because there is less soldering, and the small size hides flaws.

Here is the round Amethyst cabochon and a thick walled fine silver tube.

A tube-cutting jig is a tool which makes it easier to saw the tube. You’ll want to cut a length of tube that ends just where the straight sides of the stone begin to curve into a dome. When you push the metal over the stone, you don’t need a lot to hold it in place, and you don’t want to cover more of the stone than necessary.

Now you can solder your piece of tubing to a backing, using medium solder.

You can use a file to make the height exactly right for the stone. Keep in mind that there are variations between the cut of stones that are the same size. Make sure you create a bezel for the exact stone you intend to use.

Gemstones that have translucency are accented by allowing more light to pass through the stone. You can drill a hole inside your bezel setting, pass your saw blade through, sawing and filing to create an opening.

Complete all the filing, sanding, heat and chemical treatments you intend for the finished piece before you insert the stone.

Drop the stone in place. Using a tool called a bezel pusher, push the metal over the stone in a specific pattern: from opposite ends, one push at a time, nudging the metal straight against the side of the stone and over the top.

Use a burnishing tool to polish out the unevenness and strengthen the metal.

Polish without abrasives and remember to check the Moh’s level of hardness for your particular stone if you want to tumble it.

Let me hear any questions you have about this process and good luck!
These earrings are available in my Etsy shop!


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