In the beginning . . .

So you want to be a stone setter? Or maybe you're just curious about my journey to becoming a star at stone setting! You've come to the right place!

My jewelry work of late has incorporated more and more diamonds and gems. It was about time I leveled up and got the skills under my belt!

Two years ago, I decided to embark on setting my own stones. Firstly, I attended Standout Stone Setting Academy via two modes: an Online Precision Bezel and Flush Setting course and a F2F Power-Assist Bead and Multi-Stone Claw Setting 5-day course (Adelaide, South Australia), which ended up being the ultimate foundation course in modern professional beadwork I needed, led by none other than the esteemed Stephen Webb!

Both these courses were super beneficial, providing all the information needed to be proficient at setting using various techniques taught and to master the settings. All you needed was an extra special ingredient: time! Time to practice, practice, and practice.

I don't know about you, but even when I have time, I don't have time, as there's always something gnawing away.

Bezel and Flush Setting Course (Online)

The course was delivered through a Zoom-like virtual classroom where theory and information were discussed. Multiple sessions were scheduled over several weeks to check in on everyone's progress.

All stones (CZs) and setting blanks (Bronze) were mailed out prior to commencement, and as a bonus, some customized tools were also included! The course is supported by an amazing online portal with chapters, tips, and tricks, and videos to playback at your leisure, along with sections on troubleshooting. That resource alone is worth its weight.

I did need to dedicate some time to practice the setting, and I found it helpful to have a microscope (though it's not a requirement). Understanding the theory and gem anatomy was a huge leap forward in my knowledge to master bezels. All sorts of shapes were covered: oval, pear, princess, round, even a cabochon! I caught the setting bug and I wanted more.

Power-Assist Bead and Multi-Stone Claw Setting (5 days, F2F)

I finally decided to travel to Adelaide to attend face-to-face classes at Australia's only dedicated stone setting school [citation needed].

No tools? No problem! You don't have to bring or buy a thing; all tools and equipment are provided to carry out the tasks. Gravers were all sharpened and color-coded for ease to walk through each practice plate. There was a maximum of 3 students while I attended, and each station was equipped with a microscope, air-assisted graver, ball vice, and drill!

We went over the ergonomics of setting up your workspace before we began to engrave. Engraving is essential for stone setting, as you need to cut out from the metal to create the seating and prongs/claws for the stone. Traditionally, this was done by hand, and hand-pushing takes years and years to master! Air-assisted gravers just help you get there faster. It's like all the new electric vehicles on the road; it used to be a horse and cart if you get my Tokyo drift.

Back to engraving! Lines and lines and more lines, then circles, then more circles, semi-circles, and then we got fancy and started to set a row of stones. We covered how to properly seat stones, corners for square bead set, 2 and 4 claw settings through to multi-stone claw set! That's a lot of ground to cover, but we did it! A massive shout-out to Andy @the_jewellery_mechanic and Ben @neopkwaii, who were in my group! Till this day, we still keep in touch now and again, making ourselves accountable for our setting work.

So if you were thinking of learning to stone set, check it out! These two courses might be the ticket for you! Easily accessible and the cost is well worth it, dare I say, a bargain!


I've since set a lot of my own work but would consider myself still a newbie. "I'm just a baby" still needs to be nurtured and grow. I currently still send off daunting jobs to the industry to have set while I need more time under the scope to be confident! Alister is to Stone Setting Courses as Hungry Hungry Hippo is to Marbles.


Next post shall be about how I planned my way to Alexandre Diamond Setting School in Antwerp, Belgium.


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