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A setting is the mount in which gems are set into rings, earrings, pendants and bracelets. There are many different styles of settings used in modern jewellery making; the more common ones being illusion setting, prong setting (also known as a claw setting), pave setting, channel setting, tension setting, milgrain setting, bezel setting and invisible setting.
It is important to consider the setting when buying jewellery set with gemstones. Always remember that gold and silver are relatively soft metals and therefore only a small amount of pressure applied to a prong setting in the wrong direction can easily alter its shape. Simply by catching a prong on a fibre as you remove a jumper could bend a prong and therefore I recommend that prong set pieces are quickly checked prior to putting them on, to ensure that the gem is not loose.
One well-known setting for rings is the Tiffany setting (named after the famous jewellers who first made it popular), this is a 4 or 6 prong setting that elevates a solitaire gem above the band of gold or platinum. If a gem is completely enclosed, as in a bezel setting, it is referred to as a closed setting; the term open setting would apply to prong set gems.
Lapis Lazuli in a bezel setting.
GIA qualified Gemmologists
Members of the British Jewellery Association
Members of the Coloured Gemstone Assocation