Stone Setting: How to Use a Setter’s Wheel to Set Stones in Your Jewelry Designs

In the August 2017 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, Helen Driggs presented the best stone setting tools in her “Cool Tools & Hip Tips” column. Two of her favorites are Contenti’s Setter’s Wheel and Setter’s Cement.

One of our readers, Wayne Barnett, wrote to the magazine about the setter’s wheel:

“I look forward to Helen Driggs’ Cool Tools & Hip Tips in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist each issue. Usually, I am already at least aware of most of the tools featured in the column. In the August issue, there was one that threw me for a ‘how is it used.’ That was the setter’s wheel. It appears to be a tool supplied only by Contenti. How is it actually used? The short explanation given by the Contenti catalog and the column lacked an illustrated methodology on the application of this tool. I looked through the two stone setting books I have, and neither mentioned this tool.

Thanks for any assistance you may be able to offer.”

In response, Helen gave this reply — complete with illustrations:

Stone Setting with a Setter’s Wheel

In the “Picture is Worth a Thousand Words” department, here’s how to use the Contenti Setter’s wheel.

Undo the wingnut located on the side of the tool.

Pivot the handle and release the wooden wheel from the bolt, washer, and wing nut.

Prepare the fixturing medium of your choice. I prefer Jett Set Ballistic, but you can also use Setter’s Wax or flake Shellac. Jett Set is a thermoplastic, so I heated some water in my tea pot.

Soften and blend the heated Jett Set beads into one mass. I use a teaspoon to mush it into a rectangle.

Stick the softened plastic to the perimeter of the wheel.

Insert the ready to be set bracelet (or other jewelry object) into the still-soft fixture medium. Reassemble the tool, and clamp the wingnut down tight to prevent the wheel from moving.

Get setting. To reposition the wheel, loosen the wingnut. The handle of the tool will fit quite well on a bench pin with a ring clamp-shaped slot. Hope this helps, and happy stone setting! –Helen

Build Your Own Stone Setting Bundle

Learn to create your own bezels, prongs, and many more stone settings with Interweave Jewelry. Find techniques and practice projects that will teach you the basics and more.

Learn more on stone setting with prongs and bezels in the Metalsmith Essentials Introduction to Gemstone Setting: Prong, Flush and Bezel Setting with Ann Cahoon video.

Find more metalsmithing essentials like stone setting in the Interweave store and in every issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist!


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