It is important to understand the basics of gemstone mountings and settings. A mount refers to the entire precious metal object before stones are set into it. Mounts include rings, necklaces, pendants, earrings, bracelets, brooches and cufflinks. Gemstones are incorporated into mounts with a variety of popular setting styles including the following:
Bezel setting: a setting where a strip of metal encircles the edge of the stone. It is also called a rub-over setting. This is a popular means for setting cabochons .
Prong setting: a popular setting style (also called a claw setting) wherein pointed, rounded, flat, or v-shaped metal prongs or claws are used to hold a stone. A combination of four or six prongs is the norm, but more may be used depending on the style and desired effect.
Flush setting: this kind of setting does not have prongs or a bezel. Gems are set directly into the jewelry so that the top of the gem is flush with the metal surrounding it.
Pavé setting: a popular setting style where the stones are placed close together to hide the metal mount. The name comes from the fact that the finished piece looks like it is paved with stones.
Channel setting: a setting where stones are set into a grooved channel with no metal separating them.
Bar setting: a setting that incorporates a small bar of metal between the gemstones in a typical channel setting.
Invisible setting: a difficult setting to execute, stones are grooved just below their girdle and slid over wire supports. This allows many gems to be placed together with no gaps between them. This setting was invented by the famous design house Van Cleef and Arpels.
Tension setting: a modern setting that requires no bezel or prongs where the stone seems to float in mid-air. In this setting, a gemstone is held in place by the precious metal shank or band, which presses on the stone’s girdle in a spring-like manner.
No setting is complete without a stone and we explore those next in Gemstones | A Guide to Commonly Used Gemstones.