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This is the Most Important Part of Jewelry Design

Let me share a pretty bold POV - I truly believe that the setting is The Most Important Part of Jewelry Design. Yep, I'm making the bold statement that the setting is just as crucial, if not more so, than the gem itself! Imagine having the most exquisite and valuable diamond, but if the setting is unattractive or impractical for everyday wear, what purpose does that ring really serve?

Nature has given us a treasure trove of stunning gemstones, but it's up to the designer to present them in their best light. Setting design is the very essence that defines a jewelry designer and deserves your careful consideration when investing in fine jewelry. So, let's delve into this captivating world of jewelry settings!

Pictured: Emerald Enchantment

First of all, what is a setting?

The setting is the metal framework that holds the gems, whether it's for a ring, pendant, earrings, or any other piece. There are two primary types of settings: prong and bezel. Understanding both types will give you an informed perspective on your preferences and what suits your or your partner's lifestyle.

Pictured: Yellow Sapphire Solitaire

A Prong Setting

When we talk about prongs, we refer to the delicate metal supports that cradle a stone securely in place. Prong settings offer an elegant and dramatic design, elevating the gemstone and allowing more light to refract through it, creating that mesmerizing sparkle.

While prongs dominate modern jewelry design, it's interesting to note that they only gained popularity in the 19th century when Tiffany & Co. popularized the trend with their iconic "Tiffany Setting." Today, it's a style worn and cherished by many.

Pictured: A custom Dear Survivor design

Depending on your taste, there are different prongs to consider. Do you like antique-looking designs? Consider a claw prong, which comes to a sharp point rather than rounded. Have concerns about a prong coming loose and losing your gem? Opt for a 6-prong setting rather than a 4-prong setting to ensure the safety of your stone. Do you like the look of a bunch of small stones clustered together? Then pave is the setting for you. (Pave is tiny prongs for tiny stones that can cover your whole ring.)

Pictured: A custom Dear Survivor design

The Cons of a Prong Setting

  1. This setting, especially in rings, is more susceptible to getting dirty.

  2. They're prone to snagging on things, especially tall prong settings.

  3. Prongs can wear thin or become loose over time, jeopardizing the gem's safety.

  4. They're not ideal for people with hands-on professions or hobbies.

The Pros of a Prong Setting

  1. They beautifully showcase the gem and enhance its sparkle.

  2. It's a classic and timeless style.

  3. They're easy to clean with warm soapy water and an old toothbrush.

Pictured: A custom Dear Survivor design

A Bezel Setting

Pictured: Teal Sapphire Solitaire

A bezel setting fully encases the gem with metal, providing several subcategories like burnish set, inlay, and gypsy set. While some may have reservations about bezels due to a plethora of uninspiring modern designs, historical jewelry features numerous artistic and functional bezel styles. I wholeheartedly think it's time to bring back the beautiful bezel and appreciate its unique qualities!

Pictured: A custom Dear Survivor design

The Cons of Bezel Settings

  1. They have slightly less sparkle due to reduced light refraction from the sides. (However, light still enters from the top and bounces around, so there is still plenty of shine!)

  2. Bezels aren't suitable for all gemstones, as softer stones (like opal, amethyst, citrine, tourmaline, beryl, and more) can be vulnerable to cracking because of the pressure that is required during the setting process.

The Pros of a Bezel Setting

  1. They ensure the gem's safety with secure encasement from all angles.

  2. They're less likely to get dirty due to the substantial metal coverage.

  3. Bezels provide an unobtrusive design without prongs to catch or snag.

Pictured: Two custom Dear Survivor designs

Texture & Artistic Elements

You've probably picked up a few clues that I'm quite passionate about the topic of settings, and here's why: As an artist, I see an overabundance of modern jewelry design that has lost the essence of artistry that's defined jewelry for millennia.

Jewelry design used to be a heartfelt expression of the creator AND the person it was created for, symbolizing family, heritage, identity, and memories. However, the last century saw a shift towards mass production and cheaper materials, diminishing the true artistic integrity of such an ancient craft.

Pictured: Two custom Dear Survivor designs

The craftsmanship of setting design is an art form that carries stories from different eras. From imperfectly perfect bezels reminiscent of ancient treasures to art deco angles evoking 1920s New York, the texture and artistic elements of a setting narrate tales that resonate with the wearer and offer compelling glimpses of our shared histories.

Pictured: Custom Dear Survivor 

A piece of jewelry should bring you joy and suit your lifestyle.

The setting design is pivotal in fulfilling both of these factors. So, give it the attention it deserves when investing in jewelry for yourself and your loved ones. If you're keen on creating your own setting, explore our Gem Sets to customize a ring that perfectly embodies your dreams!

xo,Christine

 

Use coupon code WELCOME10 for 10% off your first order.

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