Stone setting provides a wealth of opportunities to build on your jewellery making skill set. From the classic prong setting to the more elaborate pavé setting, there is a technique for every level.
Today however, we will be focusing on the tension setting. In this guide, we’ll talk you through how to make a tension ring step by step, as well as further information on what the setting is and the different sorts of tools you’ll have to collect. Ready to get started?
Discover everything you need to know about tension setting rings, below.
What is a Tension Setting?
So, what is a tension setting? Before we delve into the method of making a tension set diamond ring, let’s go through what makes this technique unique. The main feature to note is the fact that it is not held in by prongs or a bezel, but pressure. This means that only a select few types of stone can be used, including diamonds, rubies, moissante and sapphires. With two pieces of metal running along either side of the stone to hold it in place, all dimensions need to be carefully measured to ensure the stone is held securely.
Tools Needed for Creating a Tension Setting Ring
To try this advanced technique, you’ll need to pick up these key pieces of kit:
- Square wire
- Round-cut stone
- Ring clamp
- Flat nose pliers
- Hand torch
- Steel mandrel
- Dremel tool
- Hart burr
- Thin cutting wheel
- Protective gloves
- Bench vice
- Knife edge needle file
Step by Step Tension Set Ring Tutorial
Now you know what the tension setting is and the tools you’ll need for the job, here’s how to make a tension set ring, step by step:
- Manipulate the wire. Take the square wire (in an alloy of your choosing) and measure out the length of the ring. Once this is done, wearing your gloves, wrap the wire around the mandrel using your hand torch and pliers as you go. Do this until the wire overlaps on each side by a quarter of the circumference of the ring, keeping it as tight as possible. <strong>Top Tip!</strong> The gentler you are with the grip on the wire, the less damaged it will be, meaning you can use more of the metal.
- Trim the ends. Next, place the wrapped wire in the ring clamp then proceed to cut the excess ends off. Do this by using your Dremel with a thin cutting wheel and make sure that the cut is as perpendicular as possible.
- Straighten and prepare the ring. The previous overlap will have caused the ring to curve slightly, so it’s time to straighten it out. This will help to secure the stone. Place the ring in a bench vice with wool to protect against scratches, slowly apply pressure and keep checking the ring to see when it is perfectly straight. Once done, place the ring back in the vice and use your calipers to score the diameter of the stone onto the metal. Then, use the same cutting wheel and use the needle file to neaten up the edges.
- Cut the seat. Test to see if the stone fits in the gap. If it does, you’re ready to make the seat. If not, you may need to go back in with the step above to create the right sized gap. Using your Dremel tool with a small hart burr, cut a seat for the stone on both of the insides of the ring, in the middle and roughly 0.5mm from the top. Top tip! If you’re new to this practice, try your hand at cutting some seats in the leftover metal.
- Set the stone. In order for the right amount of tension to be created, you’ll need to clamp the ring in the vice, with the gap on its side so you can see it closing in. Then, slowly squeeze the clamp until the ends touch. Take out the ring, open the gap temporarily to fit the stone and hold in place. Once you hear that ever so satisfying click, you’re good to go!
Feel like giving this technique a go yourself? Now you know how to make a tension set ring, collect all the bullion and jewellery tools you need for this and all of your other jewellery making projects. And if you’re looking for some inspiration, be sure to browse through our vast range of blogs in the equipment and technique focus section of our site.
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