Stone Setting without Prongs with Street Gemology

Wild Acres (North Carolina)  June 25-July 1

The Florida Society of Goldsmiths is organizing a live workshop from June 25 to July 1, 2023, at Wild Acres in North Carolina, covering stone setting without prongs. Our course will teach participants how to work with faceted stones, including surface setting options such as bead setting, pavé, and flush setting, and will culminate in the fabrication of a structural tapered bezel and hammer-setting a thick-walled bezel set faceted stone. This workshop is intermediate level and participants must have basic metal smithing skills. A list of materials and supplies needed is provided. Host and lodging details are available on the Wild Acres Retreat Center website.

About this course

Over the course of our week together, we will fabricate two heavy sterling silver bands (2mm thick at least 6mm wide) and delve into understanding the essential considerations when working with faceted stones. We will cover surface setting options, including bead setting, pavé, and flush setting, and discuss when and how to use them to the best advantage of your designs and secure the setting of your gemstones.

We’ll finish the week together with fusing and fabricating a structural tapered bezel using bezel blocks and learn how to hammer-set a thick-walled bezel set faceted stone. As an added bonus, workshop registration includes Jim’s “Street Gemology” which gives an overview of gems, their characteristics, common cuts, and other essential information about working with and choosing faceted gems for your work.

Day-by-Day Course Topics by Theme:

  1. Stone Setting without Prongs
  2. Bead Setting
  3. Pavé
  4. Flush Setting
  5. Fabricating a thick-walled Tapered Bezel
  6. Completion of Student Projects
  7. Completion of Projects


Organized by the Florida Society of Goldsmiths – visit their site for news and updates about class registration.

Materials and Supplies:

Items needed for class

  • Flex shaft or micrometer rotary tool. Dremels can work but they don’t have the control needed for stone setting
  • A ring clamp, PanaVise, engravers block, GRS Benchmate or other clamping device to hold your rings during stone setting. Any one of these options will work for your stone setting.
  • Stones for setting: at least 10- 2mm and 2- 5mm round faceted gems. You are welcome to use other stones if you have them, but CZ’s are inexpensive and durable for your first settings. More would be great, but have at least this many for your practice projects.
  • 2- 14ga sterling silver bands (any ring size will do) and about 6mm wide. The rings will be used for setting stones. The rings should be completely finished on the outside with a satin finish. This finish will make it easier to see the surface of your metal during the stone setting.
  • Inverted cone bur- .8mm Rio- Item #: 342532 o Drill bit- #51, or 1.7mm. Rio- Item #: 349410
  • Setting bur- 2.5mm Rio: Item #: 342383
  • 4.7mm Rio: Item No. 342392
  • Bud bur- 2,3mm. Rio-Item #: 342525
  • Beading tools. A set is not expensive, so get a full set with a mushroom handle. This will allow you to bead set many different sizes of stones as you begin to incorporate this setting into your work. We will also sacrifice one of the larger beading tools to make a micro burnisher for flush setting. Rio- Item: 113340
  • Optics for close up work. I like what are called MegaViews. Rio-Item #: 115719 You can also use the classic Optivisors. Rio- Item #: 113206 A 10x jeweler’s loupe would also be great to check your work. Rio- Item: 113370
  • Chasing hammer
  • Soft sticky wax on the end of a 3-4 inch dowel ⅛-¼ inch in diameter. Rio Item #: 700187
  • Good light source that is hopefully 12 inches or so from your working surface.
  • Old toothbrush for cleaning filings from metal during setting.
  • Fine point Sharpie.

Host and Lodging:

Look to Wild Acres Retreat Center for location details


This is an intermediate class, and you’ll need to be proficient in basic metal smithing skills such as sawing, filing, and soldering. More advanced students are encouraged to bring personal projects into which they would like to incorporate faceted stones as well as any faceted gems that they would like to set, time permitting.