How to Easily Mount Gemstones Without Fancy Tools

This is something I came up with in middle school I think. I don't know if others have used it (I'm sure it's out there somewhere), but I haven't seen any instructions on mounting stones this way so I figured I'd share it with you guys :)

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.
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Step 1: Materials

You will need:

- 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)

*not pictured

Step 2: Prepping the Wire

Basically all you need to do is straighten your wire with your fingers, but mine has been sitting around in my backpack for a year or so, so it's pretty dirty. I'm using the steel wool to both clean the wire of dirt and stuff that has accumulated, and polish it a bit.
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).

Another question, sorry. What grit file would you recommend? It's such a small area and the metal is pretty soft, have you found a sandpaper grit or a file that works best for this process?

gg1220 (author)  Liamthedevastator2 months ago

Hmmm... the finer the better? You can even use sandpaper (220 grit or so) wrapped over a popsicle stick if you have that on hand!

Hi! Hopefully you get this because you've been offline for a bit, but what hardness of wire are you using? I'm endeavouring to make a pendant from a tungsten cobalt lathe bit (sounds horrid, but they are actually a pleasant shape!) and set a 3mm round citrine stone in the middle using your technique. So far I am thinking a 20gauge dead-soft round wire will suffice, but I'm not sure. Would "dead-soft" wire be able to hold the stone?

Thanks a tonne for the fantastic setting technique and well written instructable!

gg1220 (author)  Liamthedevastator2 months ago
Hey Liam! I used 20 gauge half-hard (ish) wire from Michael's Arts and Crafts. Dead soft wire will probably work to set the stone initially, but it's so easy to bend that the stone might fall out accidentally. If all you have is dead soft wire, I'd recommend coiling and uncoiling it a bunch to make it harder. Good luck!

Thanks mate, I'll be sure to send you a photo of my finished product!

Ora2 years ago
Great instructable! Do you have any ideas on how this would work with princess cut (square) gems?
gg1220 (author)  Ora2 years ago
Hm. I've never tried it, but if you can find a square mandrel instead of a round one, I don't see why not :)
I guess the hardest part would be finding the right size. You can buy something like this, or you can make your own with a bit of steel rod and a grinder (or even some sandpaper). The key is that it needs to be tapered if you want any control over the sizes, but if you only need one size and you know exactly what it is (keeping in mind that you need the wire to overlap the stone to seat properly), you might have better luck finding some square stock from a machinist's supplier like McMaster-Carr, or even Amazon.
Either way, good luck!
canucksgirl2 years ago
Very nice! Thanks for sharing. ;)
gg1220 (author)  canucksgirl2 years ago
Thanks for reading! :)
Peg1623 years ago
gg1220 (author)  Peg1623 years ago
Thanks for reading!

Check out this instructable for how to make it into a ring :)
insomniaSAH3 years ago
The ring at the end looks fantastic, and the overall 'ible is wonderful. Wish they'd taught us this method in high school metal shop!
gg1220 (author)  insomniaSAH3 years ago
Thank you very much!
And the good news is, now you know how to do it. Time to dazzle your friends :P

Also, not trying to be a creeper, but your profile says that poi is one of your interests. Which is awesome. Just by the way :)