Setting Your Own Gems In Jewelry


Prong Folding In Pre-Made Jewelry: Setting Your Own Gemstones

One of the easiest ways in which its possible to make your own jewelry is to simply buy Pre-notched settings and set your own stones. Suppliers of “ready to set” jewelry items include such companies as Hoover and Strong, Rio Grande, and Tripps. All three suppliers have product ordering facilities set up to work through the Internet. It is easy to get one of their catalogs and see what types of settings they have available. There are a number of jewelry supply stores, but those three are my favorites. The empty settings are known as findings in the industry.

I don’t know why, but for some reason people seem to ignore this possibility, in spite of the fact that it is probably the easiest of all “make your own jewelry” methods. All you are doing, is folding down prongs to hold the gemstone in place. If you like custom jewelry with unusual and rare gemstones, here is the easiest way to acquire that special jewelry, just the way you want it, with rare or “one of a kind” type stones. It also works well for unusual combinations of stones not often seen together.

It is possible to buy gems at various gem and jewelry shows, directly from jewelry equipment suppliers like Rio Grande and Tripps, or from independent gem dealers. This type of arrangement gives you, the jewelry making artist, the greatest degree of freedom of choice. Jewelry items of all types, earrings, rings, pendants, bracelets, etc. are all available in pre-notched and polished forms. Having catalogs from various jewelry supply companies will give you as the artist the greatest degree of flexibility in your selections.


The tools needed for this type of operation are really fairly simple. The most critical tool is a pair of gem setting pliers. These are special pliers made for folding down jewelry mounting prongs. They are available from the jewelry supply catalogs and normally cost about $25 to $30 dollars. I also use a set of needle nose pliers that are smooth faced – that is the little gripping notches on the inside of the pliers are ground away or smooth to begin with. A small vise and some rubber in which to safely grip the jewelry item is also handy to have.

You will also need a good pair of calipers to measure your gemstones. I suggest you buy the stones first, and measure them carefully. Then buy the proper setting to match your gemstone. It is not hard at all, but it does take a little practice to get good with the jewelry setting pliers and fold the prongs down straight over the stone so that the setting looks proper. Take a look at settings done professionally in your local jewelry store, then do a few practice pieces on your own with inexpensive materials. Take your time and see what a nice looking job you can do. Some of the jewelry supply stores offer videos or books on gemstone setting. These can also help you get started. Wait until you have done some before you try to mount stones in a piece with loads of little side stones.

Setting your own gemstones is not a particularly difficult task when using pre-notched pieces. Be sure to get pre-notched items as some supply stores sell both types – notched and plain. A whole set of tools and skills are required to make the proper notches for setting a stone, and I recommend that you simply skip that and get settings that are all ready to mount your stone into. I have done this for years and it is possible to produce some very top quality jewelry that looks perfectly professional at a great and significant savings.


Want to know a little bit more about this crazy prospector guy? Well, here's a little bit more about me, and how I got into prospecting: Chris' Prospecting Story  

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