Professional Jeweler Archive: Flush Setting Trillion Sapphires

December 2004

Professional Bench/Defining Quality

Flush Setting Trillion Sapphires

Professional flush setting of trillion-cut stones demonstrates another aspect of quality in your shop

This three-stone ring designed by Barney Jette has two flush-set trillion sapphires totaling 0.81 carat and a round brilliant diamond center weighing 1.05 carats. Jette prepared the wax using build-up techniques and cast it with 14k yellow gold. Rod Smith, Jette’s shop manager, completed the ring and set the stone. For an overview of the manufacturing process see Manufacturing Up Close starting on page 67.

Preparing the Wax for Flush-Set Gemstones

1. Jette uses the Foredom Wax Carver wax-working pen and New York pink injection wax to build up his original jewelry designs. He prefers pink wax because it’s soft, pliable and holds its shape in the build-up process. For designs requiring flush setting, he partially builds up the design, puts the stone in place and builds up wax around and above the girdle.
2. During the build-up process and before placing the gem in the wax, he (1) puts a thin film of oil over the gem, (2) cuts a hole below the gem and (3) briefly places the wax under a light to warm it and the pen to soften it. Then Jette pushes the gem into the wax , permanently embedding a footprint of the girdle and pavilion shapes.
3. He completes the wax build-up so the wall is above the top of the gem table. Using the wax pen, he builds wax around the gems.
4. Prefitting the gems in the wax model ensures they will be easier to level and set in the cast ring. A carefully detailed wax also saves time in finishing and makes cleaning easier.

Flush Setting the Trillions

5. Jette casts the ring and hands it off to Rod Smith, his shop manager, for prefinishing and setting. The gems aren’t perfectly calibrated and each one fits in a certain direction. When he has determined the orientation, he marks one corner of the gem and the corresponding side of the ring.
6. With a 1mm inverted cone bur, Smith cuts the bearing at girdle height (he’s recutting the bearing for the girdle that Jette created when he fit the gem into the wax). To do this, he uses a Foredom No. 18 quick-change handpiece and one of the channel guides from the No. 18 quick-change AllSet™ adapter kit.
7. Smith removes the AllSet channel guide from the handpiece and uses the inverted cone bur to reduce and shape the metal immediately below the girdle. The stainless steel nosecone is threaded and the guides are quickly and easily installed and removed.
8. Next he uses a 1mm round bur to remove metal from the corners and to bur relief holes for the points to reside. His goal is that no point of the gem contact the metal of the ring.
9. Smith places the gem in its bearing, inspects it and determines it’s ready to set. He places a drop of fast-drying glue to bond the gem in its bearing temporarily. This will keep the gem from vibrating and moving around while he uses the Foredom Micro Motor Setting/Engraving Reciprocating Hammer handpiece.
He shapes the setting anvil tip so it’s slightly wider than the width of the top of the wall. Then he hammers the metal downward at a slight angle onto the gem, starting in a corner and working toward the central area.
10. Smith repeats this process working opposite surfaces until metal has covered the part of the crown above the girdle.
11. After both trillions have been set, Smith places the ring into a container of acetone that he suspends in the ultrasonic cleaner. This removes the glue used earlier to provided the temporary bond. After the cleaning, Smith checks the security of the gems, ensuring they are not loose. Next he uses a flat-bottom graver to shape and bright-cut the metal above the gems.

Smith will now set the center diamond and finish the ring. See pages 67-71 for a summary of the steps required to complete the ring.

For questions on this process, contact Barney Jette about the wax procedure and Rod Smith about the setting procedure. Both can be reached by e-mail at

By Mark B. Mann
Technical contributions by Barney Jette and Rod Smith of Barney Jette Jewelry Design, Missoula, MT

Illustrations by Lainie Mann
Photograph by Mark B. Mann
Visual Communications, Inc. © 2004

Professionally Set Trillion-Shaped Gemstones

A. The metal is evenly shaped and is in full contact with the crown of the gemstone above the girdle.

B. The gems are even, level, tight, secure and set at an identical height.

C. There is no damage to the gem, and all tool marks have been removed from the ring.

D. The bright cut rim of metal above the gem’s girdle is about 45.&Mac251;

E. A relief cut is burred into each corner so there’s no contact between the points of the trillion- shaped gems and the metal (not visible after the setting is completed).

By Mark B. Mann
Illustrations by Lainie Mann
Visual Communications, Inc. © 2004

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications