Bench Tricks


Flush setting round stones can be tricky: The procedure demands precision when preparing the seat and burnishing metal onto the stone. JAr Certified Master Bench JewelerT Tom Weishaar of Underwood’s Fine Jewelry in Fayetteville, Ark., shares the following tricks for successful flush setting:

  1. After drilling a small hole where the gemstone is to be set and enlarging it to 50% of the stone’s overall diameter, use a straight-wall (90°) setting burr to create the seat. The burr must be the exact size of the gemstone or slightly smaller.

  2. The table of the gemstone (for stones measuring 3 mm or less) must be even with the height of the metal (see illustration #1). For gemstones measuring more than 3 mm, the table should be slightly higher than the level of the metal.

  3. Weishaar has fashioned several burnishers from worn-out beading tools. This particular burnisher is well suited for this application by virtue of its highly polished tip and 60° angle. The metal above the girdle is burnished downward (illustration #2) onto the gemstone at a 45° angle.

  4. For the final step of burnishing, position the burnisher at 90° and make a few final passes around the perimeter of the stone. When the burnishing process is complete, the metal requires little or no polishing because the tip was highly polished.

Contact Jewelers of America at (800) 223-0673 for information about the Masters Mentoring Series, a collection of videos featuring various techniques demonstrated by JA Certified Masters. “Flush Setting Round Gemstones,” featuring Tom Weishaar, is available from the collection for $19.99 to JA members and $29.99 to non-members.

Benefits for the Working Bench Jeweler

  1. Increases customers’ confidence in your work. Minimizes loose gemstones that may cause customer concern.

  2. Increases cost savings and customer satisfaction. Minimizes lost gemstones that may not stay mounted if incorrectly set, which can cause customer dissatisfaction and potentially cost your store money for replacement.

  3. Continuing education. This technique will be helpful to anyone taking the second-level practical bench tests of the JA Bench Jeweler Certification program.