In this tutorial, I’m going to cover the process of setting a diamond into an illusion head. In this video, we’ll be using a customer’s diamond, and a vintage ring they acquired recently.
This is a typical repair that comes into my shop, and a common one in the jewelry industry.
Enjoy the video, and after the video, I’ll explain the uses of the tools show in the video as well as the process that I follow…
Which tools are used…
Diamond Set Beading Tool
Flex Shaft Motor & Hand Piece
GRS Ring Clamp
Step 1: First, I usually take some time to examine the diamond to see if there are any issues that will be addressed. These issues include any small nicks or chips along the girdle of the diamond. I also look for visible inclusions in the stone. If there is a way to hide those flaws under a prong, then we plan for that in advance. The next step is to examine the ring. If the ring needs any repair, or adjusting then the best time to fix those is to before you get ready to set the stone.
Step 2: Lay out all the tools you’ll need during this process. No matter how much you prepare however, you’ll forget one, or need a different size. That is why we keep all the tools we use, close.
Step 3: Measure the diamond, and select the correct size of setting burrs you’ll need.
Step 4: I use a ring clamp, although you don’t need one, they do make it easier to set the stone. Place the ring in the clamp, and align it up.
Step 5: Place the burr you’ll be using into the flex shaft hand piece, and use a bit of wax or burr lubricant. Candle was works well, and you can steal one from your home, or pick one up at any store. Approach the head of the stone, as shown in the video, at a 90 degree perpendicular angle. This way, you will make sure that you are cutting the seat of the head straight. Go Slow! Take your time, and do not apply too much pressure. Burrs are expensive, and the light pressure is enough to assist the burr in cutting the gold on the head. Forcing it, will wear out the burr.
Step 6: Test the diamond fit into the head. Check from every angle. If for some reason, it doesn’t fit to your taste, or can not be seated into the head properly, then try re-cutting the head and then re seat the stone for testing. Repeat these steps until the stone’s girdle sits below the prongs so that they can be pushed over the girdle of the stone to hold it in place. You may find yourself cutting the head a bit at a time, many times over until you’re happy with the seat.
Step 7: Get your diamond beading tools out, and select the correct size to match the beads you wish to make, and push down. This is a process which you will be repeating your way around the ring many times. The prongs, or beads, should be pushed down just a bit at a time, and it is always good to switch from one prong to the opposite side. In the video, you’ll notice that I push down vertically just a bit at a time.
Step 8: Once the prongs, or in this case, the beads have been pushed down along the sides of the diamond, and are holding the stone down firmly, I usually take my beading tool, and twist it around the top of the bead. This helps to define the bead, and give it a smooth finish. Apply this technique to each of the beads on the top of the ring.
Step 9: Finish work! Use a polishing wheel or rubber wheel to help polish all the beads around the diamond. Try not to apply any pressure to the surface of the stone, but in this case, diamonds are strong enough not to be damaged, however, other gemstones can be scratched or damaged by polishing buffs or rubber wheels. Once the item is free of any rough edges or burs, then you’re ready to clean it, and return it to your customer. (Or, You!)
Happy setting, and I hope this helps you learn how illusion settings are performed.