A new trick: basket settings
August 13, 2013
I love stone settings. I can set using bezels, tubes and flush settings, and I do so often, but the other day I got a little…bored, for lack of a better word.
So I decided to teach myself how to set stones in basket settings, using The Complete Metalsmith as a guide. It has shiny step-by-step instructions, but left out a few key details…as in, instead of explaining how to cut the seat for the stone, it assumes you already know how. That led me to a little Googling, because in theory I do know how…for other types of settings.
A basket setting is pretty much exactly what it sounds like — you create a little basket that you solder into the base of your piece — in this case, a ring shank.
I think I made a mistake cutting the bottom of the basket off without placing a small jump ring at the base for stability, but the long and short of it is that after the setting is attached to the shank, you cut a little seat into the bottom of the setting, and file down the prongs so that they’re bendy and will hold the stone firmly. I used a stone setting burr to cut into the metal, and a flat needle file on the prongs.
And then I set that sucker, polished it, and wore it proudly home. It’s a little funky — the shank isn’t quite perfectly aligned, for example, but considering that I taught myself from a book and had zero hands-on guidance, I feel pretty good about my first basket setting.