Stonesetting has always been a bit of a bete noire for me. Oh, I'm as capable as the next intermediate jeweller -- but it tends to stress me out beyond all reason because I am terrified of scratching the stones.
Yesterday, whilst setting a pair of amber cabochons, I tried a new product and am now kicking myself for not having used it all along: Jett Sett. It's a thermoplastic which you melt down, attach to a handle (like a pitch pot), push the piece into and let harden again to hold the piece secure so you can set it more easily.
All this time I've been fiddling around with holding tiny awkward pieces in one hand while setting with my other. It is simply miles easier when all I have to hold is the fixture handle!
Jett Sett is available through Rio, and my trusty handy bear made me the fixture from dowelling, a salsa lid, a screw and a washer. We are very low tech here at Arcadian Dreams. ;)
The other handy tip I figured out when setting the cabs was, during the final burnish, all I need to do to protect the stone is... drumroll please... cover the stone with my fingernail. No more fussing with tape to protect the stone! Natural weaponry is, as usual, superior.
I'm waiting on a lovely pink star sapphire cabochon to arrive so I can start on Spring's crown -- I intend to make a new crown, one of a kind, every season as a collectible for all the faery princesses out there. The trouble, of course, will be forcing myself to sell them and not keep them all for myself... a girl can never have too many crowns, or red shoes.