Professional Jeweler Archive: Installing Peg Settings

December 2003

Professional Bench/Defining Quality

Installing Peg Settings

Professionally installing peg settings demonstrates another aspect of quality in your shop

Because of this topic’s importance, it has been revised and updated from one previously published in Professional Jeweler’s Fine Jewelry Craftsmanship series.

Peg-style settings are a popular choice among consumers. A peg setting is die-struck and mechanically formed and, when soldered onto a ring correctly, offers a quality mounting in which to set diamonds and colored gems. It’s essential, however, for the peg setting to have full contact with the shank into which it’s being soldered – from the base of the peg to the base of the head. Here’s what to look for.

Peg Setting Installation Details

To ensure a safe and secure assembly, each of these peg setting designs requires a different preparation. Take extra time to provide a professional preparation and installation, ensuring a secure mounting for your customers’ gems.

The base of these settings is different so each one requires a unique preparation before soldering into mountings.
For a narrow and angular base, create a small divot above the peg hole that follows the shape of the base. This allows the base of the setting, as well as the peg, to make good contact.
For a broader rounded base, create a divot in the ring above the peg hole that matches the base of the peg setting, allowing contact between the two units.
For a blunt, flat-bottom base, create a matching indentation in the top of the shank above the peg hole.
In each of these three examples, the peg is the only part of the setting that comes in contact with the ring mounting and, when soldered, provides a less-than-secure assembly. As these examples encounter normal wear, the settings will bend and eventually break off.

Mountings for Peg Settings

Ring mountings for peg settings are available in hundreds of designs. In some cases, the part designed to receive the peg on a manufactured ring assembly must be replaced because it’s insufficient to support soldering and normal wear.

This mounting is weak where the peg setting is to be installed. The bar is thin and lightweight, and the circle for the peg head is too thin and too large in diameter for the peg.
Remove the bar and circle provided by the manufacturer and make and install a heavier and more secure assembly.

Professional Soldering

The solder must flow from the bottom of the peg up to the base of the peg setting to create a secure bond. The grid indicates the proper solder flow between the peg setting and the mounting.
Beware of settings that are partially soldered. In this example, the solder covers only the bottom of the peg. This is difficult to detect, but is an example of a weak assembly that won’t hold up during normal wear.
Here’s another example of incomplete soldering. The solder covers only part of the peg and doesn’t surround the base.

– by Mark B. Mann

Illustrations by Lainie Mann
©2003 Visual Communications

Professional Assembly and Soldering of Peg Settings

A. There is complete contact and a soldered union between the peg setting and ring mounting.

B. The solder joint is complete from the base of the peg to the top of the ring mounting and base of the peg setting.

C. The assembly of the setting is symmetrical and even with the design of the shank.

D. The finish and polish of the prongs are free of any evidence of die striking and other tool marks.

E. The gemstone is set securely.

Potential Problems

The setting is above the surface of the ring mounting and has insufficient contact. Through normal wear, the setting eventually will break off, resulting in a potential loss of it and the gemstone.
Die striking lines and other tool marks are not removed. The surface of all sides of each prong should be smooth, even and highly polished.
The setting and prongs should be professionally positioned with the shank and in alignment from several viewing angles.
Too much shank has been removed, and contact between the setting and the mounting is inadequate, resulting in a weak assembly.
The peg setting and shank are prepared properly, but the setting is soldered only at the base of the peg and not on the base of the setting.

– by Mark B. Mann

Illustrations by Lainie Mann
©2003 Visual Communications

This series is sponsored in part by Jewelers of America, (800) 223-0673

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications