Professional Jeweler Archive: Flush-Setting Round Brilliant Diamonds in a Platinum Band

August 2004

Professional Bench/Manufacturing Up Close


Flush-Setting Round Brilliant Diamonds in a Platinum Band

Knowing these tips and techniques contributes to higher levels of quality and proficiency for your shop


Seated at his bench, David Howard, co-owner of My Jeweler Inc. in Albuquerque, NM, prepares his work for the day. In addition to the constant flow of design and custom-order work, technicians at My Jeweler often perform repairs while customers wait. A glassed-in workshop at the entrance of the store allows customers to watch the bench jewelers at work from the sales floor and the walk outside. The day I visited, Howard demonstrated a flush-setting technique for small round brilliant diamonds in a platinum band.

Flush Setting Procedure

1. In this project, Howard sets 10 full-cut 0.01-ct. diamonds evenly spaced in a platinum band.
2. He determines the diamonds’ spacing and marks the band using dividers. With an automatic center punch, he makes a small indentation where each hole will be drilled. Howard organizes his jobs in clear take-in envelopes (A) for easy viewing of instructions and materials to be used. His bench faces the store and is separated from the retail area by a glass partition so customers may watch.
3. After creating the small indentations, Howard drills pilot holes (B) for the diamonds using Foredom’s #30 handpiece (C) with the Foredom model TX flexshaft with full torque at all speeds. The drill for the pilot holes is 0.55mm. The diamonds are 1.3mm in diameter. After drilling the pilot holes, he uses a 1.2mm ball bur to remove the rag of metal at the bottom of the drilled hole inside the shank.
4. He mounts the platinum ring in a clamp system. As he tightens the inside ring-holding adjustment (D), the small inside ring-holding device (E) expands to hold the ring securely.
5. Howard has used the Foredom AllSet (F) daily for over 10 years with a variety of stone-setting applications. Here he’s attached the AllSet to his #30 handpiece and uses a 1.3mm high-speed setting bur to create the bearings. He slowly burs each bearing using an AllSet channel guide (G) to control the depth of the cut. The AllSet he uses in the photo is the original model. The new AllSet is black and has a slightly different top/end bracket. Both models work the same, providing a marked overall improvement in setting quality combined with increased proficiency.
6. To control the depth of the bearing cut, he adjusts the AllSet guide height (H) by turning the control knob (I).
7. Next Howard places and seats the diamonds in their bearings. The height of the table is lower than the top of the platinum band. Using the Foredom Micro Motor with the Hammer/Graver handpiece, he lightly hammers platinum down over the diamonds. The hammer/graver handpiece is connected to the control box by a coiled cord, maximizing maneuverability.
8. Howard mounts the graver holder collet (K) and a custom-made flush-setting chisel head (J) on the Micro Motor Hammer/Graver handpiece. The force of the impact can be adjusted from light to full by turning the metal ring. Light pressure and contact between the hammer/graver handpiece and the work piece activates the impact action. He uses the optional foot pedal to control the impact speed.
9. After setting each diamond, Howard uses Foredom rubberized ceramic abrasive wheels to re-create a flat surface on the band. The wheels range in grit from coarse (120 grit) to super fine (1500 grit). They provide a fine luster before polishing. He uses Foredom’s Platinum Blue and White polishing and finishing compounds to complete the project.

By Mark B. Mann

Technical content was provided David Howard, co-owner of My Jeweler Inc., Albuquerque, NM. Howard is a 35-year veteran at the bench and a JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler. He operates a store specializing in quick repair, reconstruction, design and custom-order. Contact him at (505) 889-8601 or dhoward352@aol.com.

This installment was sponsored by Foredom, Bethel, CT. For information on Foredom tools, equipment and accessories or for a list of distributors, contact Michael Zagielski at (203) 792-8622 or sales@foredom.com.

For additional shop, service department and bench-related content, visit www.visualcominc.com.

Photographs by Mark B. Mann

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Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications