Back in 7th or 8th grade I went with my mom to the gem show and one of the vendors there was selling loose stones. Seeing as how they were incredibly shiny, I couldn't pass up buying a pack of 'em (plus, I managed to haggle the price down to 80% off. that helped a lot.). The problem was, I had no way of actually using them. Professional pronged mounts? Nope, this is a middle schooler you're talking about. Bezel settings? Nah. They might've been doable, but I would've needed to be able to solder the bezel cup, and I wasn't allowed to use the blowtorch (huh. wonder why...). So I tried doing it this way.
Step 1: Materials
- a pair of round nose pliers (you could probably get away with a dowel you've tapered with sandpaper or something like that)
- wire (here I'm using 20 gauge beading wire from Michael's)
- a gemstone (in this case a 4mm brilliant cut cubic zirconia)
- wire cutters
- *a fine file or some sandpaper (strongly recommended) to deburr cut edges
- 0000 steel wool to clean, straighten, and burnish the wire
- *a pair of chain nose pliers (they're always handy to have around)
Step 2: Prepping the Wire
In fact, the main objective here isn't really to straighten the wire, it's to get rid of any kinks that are present (although if your wire insists on coiling up a lot, straightening helps to keep your sanity intact).