How to Easily Mount Gemstones Without Fancy Tools

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About: I like to make stuff and learn through the process. That's pretty much it :)

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.

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

Optional:

- *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).

Step 3: How It Works

The idea behind this setting is that you will create a slightly conical coil that looks kinda like a spring. The inner diameter (ID) of the setting will be smaller than the diameter of the girdle of the stone, while the outer diameter (OD) will be larger than the diameter of the girdle. This way the stone stays in place because it falls in between two adjacent coils.

Actually, just take a look at the second pic.

Step 4: Making the Setting

Mark the spot on your round-nose pliers that's the same diameter as your stone. An easy way to find that spot is to place your stone under a jaw and find where it just barely disappears from sight. This means that the diameters of the two are equivalent. Starting a little above that (a 1/16" or so), start coiling your wire around the pliers. Make sure you're coiling downward, so that the largest part of the coil is what's attached to the spool. Once you've got about 4 turns, you're ready to test fit it with the stone!

Step 5: Inserting the Stone

Carefully insert the stone with the table facing up, and see if it fits. If you're lucky, you should hear a very satisfying "snap!" as the stone seats. Anything where the stone is restricted from going up any further is what I consider "fitting." If it's one, two, three coils away from the top, so be it. As long as the stone can't work it's way free by going through the top, you're good. If you're stone stops at the very bottom coil, just add a few more turns at the bottom and try again. You can always trim layers off the top later :)

Step 6: Fine Tuning and Securing It in Place

Once you've got the stone in place, you need to make sure it stays there. I like to reduce the diameter of the top and bottom coils and, for good measure (and for centering), pull the trailing wire straight across the bottom of the setting. Trim the top as desired, file any sharp edges, and you're done!

Step 7: Other Stuff

There are many things you can do with these, such as making rings, earrings, pendants, etc. or using them as embellishments on larger projects.

If you come up with something awesome, feel free to share it! I'd love to see what y'all come up with.

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    21 Discussions

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    AshleyH177

    3 months ago

    So simple! Made a commissioned ring with this type of setting. She was so happy with it! Thank you for sharing this.

    20180728_220804.jpg
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    krisldiamond

    1 year ago

    Love this project. Where do you find the gemstones?

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    Elsabe13

    1 year ago

    Thanks for sharing - love it!

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    Egyptsy

    2 years ago

    ok im a LITTLE confused,,,,where did the start of the wire go,,i mean starting the coil there is an end ,,where did it got? do you fold it in someplace? did i miss something?

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    Czarcharles

    3 years ago on Step 7

    Very clever. Have you tried it with silver or gold wire?

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    KyleN4

    3 years ago

    If not then make a modified version of this tutorial by CSL Design https://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=y-zUaVznduA like I did

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    KyleN4

    3 years ago

    Does it work with other stone shapes

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    jillian.mcneil.58

    3 years ago on Step 7

    i have done some like that but i can never get the top coil to stay in place any tips?

    ( they way i learn to do it was make a loop at the bottom like a head pin then coil the wire all the way up the stone till you over lap on the top)

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    Liamthedevastator

    3 years ago on Step 6

    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?

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    gg1220Liamthedevastator

    Reply 3 years ago on Step 6

    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!

    2 replies

    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!

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    Ora

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable! Do you have any ideas on how this would work with princess cut (square) gems?

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    gg1220Ora

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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!

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    Peg162

    6 years ago on Introduction

    EXCELLENT; WELL WRITTEN. CAN'T WAIT 2 TRY IT. HOW DO YOU FASTEN IT TO A RING BAND? TY

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    insomniaSAH

    6 years ago on Introduction

    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!