Newfound love: pre-fab prong settings
October 5, 2016
I’ve been making jewelry, off and on, for over 20 years (holy shit). I’ve been bench-jewelering consistently for maybe five years, and I first picked up a soldering torch eight years ago. In all that time, I was 100% convinced that I absolutely had to make all of my own stone settings. And so I learned how to make the foundational settings: bezel, flush, tube, and prongs.
Bezels I’ve got. I mean, I screw them up all the time, but mostly because I have a tendency to rush. I’m still learning that going slow and doing it right means saving time when I don’t have to re-make a busted setting.
Flush settings are some of my favorites; I love the look of the stone even with the metal. Of course it’s not appropriate for larger stones, which is why I love tubes. For oddly-shaped stones, bezels are my go-to.
But prongs. Oh, how I hate prong settings. For weirdly shaped stones, they can be pretty cool, and I enjoy those. But for the tiny, round, faceted stones that I love to work with, THEY ARE THE WORST. Oh my god, do I hate fabricating prong settings. But I thought I HAD to. Y’know, to be an “artist.” So that my work would be “handmade.”
And then I got. the. eff. over it. Mostly because I found these lovely lavender moon quartz on Rio. I wanted to make them into stud earrings and had absolutely no time to get into the studio and frustrate (yes, as a verb) over making prong settings. So I sucked it up and bought some. These, specifically, also on Rio. And I made myself beautiful, secure stud earrings in about fifteen minutes, including learning how to use the setting and polishing.
No regrets. I get tons of compliments on them, and I haven’t taken them off since I put them in (other than to photograph them, and occasionally slide an ear jacket over the back). I imagine that in the near future I’ll be putting them in my shop, because they are super cute and the fact that I don’t spend hours on them means I can price them reasonably.
So there. Prefab settings aren’t totally the worst things ever. In fact, sometimes they can be pretty freaking awesome.