The setting you choose for your diamond or coloured gemstone is critical to the way your jewel will hold and reflect light. In creating something uniquely suited to your tastes and your particular needs, Era Design will explore the possibilities that different settings offer you. For example:
A bezel is like a lip of metal that surrounds the edge of a precious stone. Bezels are very durable, and are ideal for people with active lifestyles. If you set a diamond in a white gold bezel it may appear larger.
Claw (or prong) settings are always very popular, and don’t seem to go out of style. The stone is held in place by delicate metal claws that are pushed over its outer edge. Such settings showcase diamonds very well, because you can see 3/4 of the stone.
Gypsy set stones lie flush with the metal that surrounds them, without visible claws. If you love the simple, modern look — and if you’re concerned that your ring may catch on clothing — this is the setting for you.
Pavé or bead setting
A stone setter drills holes into metal and pushes tiny “beads” of metal around the stone, which hold it. This is a timeless technique often used throughout history. You’ll frequently see it in antique or vintage jewellery – and you may determine that it suits your own tastes, now.
Stones are held in place by two bars of metal. This style of setting has many different applications and some very elegant design possibilities, from solitaire engagement rings that are channel or pressure set, to eternity bands with many small stones set flush in the band.
We also create special light effects through the careful choice of surface decoration, which can take several forms. At Era Design, we explore the kind of finish and decoration that will best enhance your custom jewellery.
Most jewellery comes with a highly polished surface, because it compliments the sparkle of gemstones so beautifully. If this is the finish you choose, you can easily have it repolished it once a year to remove scratches. You can also keep your jewellery bright and shiny by washing it in soap and water once a week and buffing with a rouge cloth.
Sandblasting gives metal a matte or frosted look. This offers an excellent way to create contrast in your design. However sandblasting is not a permanent surface treatment, so if you choose this option, you may want to get your jewellery re-done every year to keep it looking new.
The surface of the metal is beaten with a polished hammer to create a web of soft “dents” that pick up the light and sparkle or reflect. It highlights that your piece is truly hand made.
Filigree or Piercing
These techniques use either very fine wires soldered together or a fine jeweller’s saw to create lacy patterns in metal. You will frequently see these techniques in vintage or antique jewellery – and they may well suit the look you wish to achieve today. Era Design currently uses CAD technology to great effect in replicating this look.
Many beautiful effects can be achieved include the following:
- Hand engraving can be as simple as having your initials engraved on the inside of a ring. Or you can enhance a plain band with patterns, scrolling lines, or many other types of design.
- Milgraining looks like a linear beaded pattern on a metal edge. A stone setter can enhance pavé settings by using this ancient technique.
- Bright cutting creates mirror bright boxes around small stones bead-set in metal. This technique enhances the sparkle of the stones.
PRECIOUS METALSIt’s important to recognize the roles precious, and semiprecious metals play in our daily lives. From the mobile phones in our pockets to the bicycles and cars we commute with. We acknowledge all these metals and their byproducts come at a cost to our planet. However, with this in mind jewellers have long been 'recyclers.' The increasing value of the materials we work with ensures nothing goes to waste. In fact, virtually all of the gold we work with has at one point or another been recycled during its lifetime. Currently, our gold is between 50-100% recycled content.
What is a Karat?
The purity of gold is measured in karats, with the purest possible form of gold being 24 karats. Eighteen or 14 karat gold is most commonly used. Generally, jewellery is stamped with its karat measure – or with the corresponding metric measure, which reflects the percentage of gold in the piece, with “1.0” representing pure gold (or 24 karats). Some karat marks are unusual in Canada – such as 9kt. If you see a 9 kt mark on a piece of jewellery, it was probably made in another country— or it may be an antique.
Here are the standard karat markings, along with their corresponding metric equivalents:
9kt or .3750
10kt or .4167
12kt or .5000
14kt or .5833
15kt or .6250
18kt or .750
19kt or .7917
20kt or .8333
22kt or .9167
24kt or 1.000
What exactly is gold?
Gold has been used since ancient times as form of wealth and adornment. It is one of the earth’s elements, and it is both extremely ductile (and thus easy to mould and work) and resistant to tarnish & corrosion. It is also very beautiful. Gold can be alloyed into different colours (white, pink, red and green) by adding different metals to it. New alloys are constantly researched to create a whiter white gold, or a richer pink. Gold is an excellent metal for jewellery of all kinds. It takes a high polish and is sufficiently rigid to withstand many years of use and hold gemstones securely.
What is Platinum?
Platinum is a white metal that is very dense (21.5 specific gravity) that is highly resistant to corrosion. Platinum’s hardness ranges from 4 to 4.5, and it is ductile. While it is quite hard it can bend out of shape, especially if it is a narrow band. Over years of wear, platinum develops a patina of fine scratches; this giving it a gray/white hue. This metal was very popular in the 1920s and 1930s, and has enjoyed a recent return to fashion.