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Is there a good gemstone vendor who will set rings?

MillieLou

Rough_Rock
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Feb 27, 2020
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56
I previously had a custom ring by a local jeweller, but was shocked at how much his custom prices have risen in 5 years!! So, no more custom for me...

It's very hard to get standard ring settings for loose stones in the UK and even harder to find a jeweller who will set stones for a reasonable fee. But coloured stone selection is very poor here so I'm looking at US precision cut vendors. Ideally I'd like to find a vendor who will set their own stones in a very basic, inexpensive setting (eg 14k wg for 200 USD, like James Allen / BN have) and ship the whole lot to me. Any suggestions?
 

voce

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May 13, 2018
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Dear MillieLou, given the current prices for gold (climbing up as people hoard gold during the economic recession), it is highly unlikely (like, pretty much impossible) for you to find a new setting for only 200 USD as a retail price.

I just looked, the price of gold is $1682 per oz, or $54.25 per gram. The melt price of gold is therefore $54.25 per gram, and even a basic ladies' ring in 14k gold would be expected to weigh 2.5 grams, of which 58.3% is gold. Just the gold content in a ring weighing 2.5 grams would be $79.11, and then there's the cost of the other alloys, which might bring the raw materials cost up to $90-$100, plus however much it costs to cast the gold into a ring (very hot furnace needed to pour the gold into molds). It might very well cost the casting business $150 to create the ring without making any profit, so $200 out the door from a jeweler is just unrealistic, since that's leaving only around $50 for the casting company profit, and setting service, and the jeweler's profit. Most jewelers charge $50 just for setting a gem into a ready-made setting.

Yvonne Raley, who runs Cecile Raley Designs on Etsy, sells gemstones and also gets them set. Her 14k gold stacking rings cost $220 for the gold and the setting, but those stacking rings are on the thinner side and would probably weigh less than 2.5g. It depends on your idea of what size gem you would like to get set, but with a low budget for setting I suggest tarnish resistant silver.
 

Kitten35

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Nov 18, 2011
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306
There used to be pretty good prices on American Set and I believe they set. I have one. I have no idea their current status however.

Cecile Raley wont set outside stones to my knowledge but you could do both through her. You could try Wild Fish Gems but I don’t know how well his prices would line with your budget. Also there is Daniel M. I had a u prong done through him on a stone I had and he did a fantastic job. I had it put in silver though.
 
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MillieLou

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Feb 27, 2020
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56
@voce sorry I should have linked - here is the basic Blue Nile setting for 180 USD:


And the James Allen setting for 240 USD: (They sell coloured stones and would set one into this, but I was hoping for a precision cut vendor.)


This is what I mean - just a basic thing to hold the stone up, not heirloom quality ;-)

I am totally happy with sterling silver, or anything else (titanium, etc) but again, which vendors if any offer these settings?
 

Kitten35

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Nov 18, 2011
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I’d probably go with Daniel M on etsy—he sets outside stones so you could buy the stone you wanted and send it to him to set. And he has really nice silver designs. Have done a ring through him before using a sunstone—and he did fabulous work. Thinking of doing another project shortly with him. Also the shipping and turnaround time was super fast.
 

voce

Ideal_Rock
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May 13, 2018
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@voce sorry I should have linked - here is the basic Blue Nile setting for 180 USD:


And the James Allen setting for 240 USD: (They sell coloured stones and would set one into this, but I was hoping for a precision cut vendor.)


This is what I mean - just a basic thing to hold the stone up, not heirloom quality ;-)

I am totally happy with sterling silver, or anything else (titanium, etc) but again, which vendors if any offer these settings?
The price is low, and for the setting only. I suspect they're able to offer it at that price because they do bulk quantities and had a bunch cast when the gold price was lower. Half a year ago the gold price was ~$1400 per oz or below instead of ~$1682 per oz that I saw today. Blue Nile and James Allen also get to make part of the profit off the gem, and will likely charge a ~$100 fee to actually set the gem into the respective setting. So don't forget to budget for that in an all-inclusive price.

If you're talking about the cost of the setting itself, also check out Ivyandrosevintage, Etsy. They're also known as mydiamondzone (Ebay) and the Filigree Room. They have settings as low as $125 if your finger size is just right and they don't have to resize it, but they'll charge ~$99 to set an outside stone. They're able to offer those prices because they work with suppliers from China, if I recall correctly.

Also would recommend Daniel M. He would probably charge like $230-$300 for a bezel setting in 14k; prong settings he tends to use CAD and charge higher prices. Silver bezel setting from him, however, only costs $70, and he does really great bezels. Like, I used to not be a bezel person at all and insist only on prong settings, but I like the bezels that he does.

Do you have a preference for prong or bezel?
 

MillieLou

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
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56
Thanks Voce and Kitten, that's really helpful. I actually prefer bezels (that's what my e-ring is) and a silver one would be just fine. I will look into Daniel M. I'll also have a look at Ivy and Rose.
 

arkieb1

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May 11, 2012
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Just setting a coloured stone these days costs between $40 to $80.00+USD (putting the stone in a setting not the actual cost of the setting itself).

Some of the cheapest settings are made in China from places like this (this is one of the better ones);


Sally also has nice well priced settings and is in Asia;

 

jordyonbass

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Dec 6, 2014
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@MillieLou I think what you are asking for is probably not a common thing within the jewelry trade (lapidary and jewelry creation under one roof), my experience is within the Opal trade and I only know of maybe two vendors who offer this. Some gemstone vendors do offer custom jewelry creation via a partnered trade service, however because of the logistics and consultation involved it ends up being at the retail price by the time all is said and done, if not more.

I've discovered that selling loose Opals is a much easier thing for all parties involved, so it's what I try and stick to.
 

qubitasaurus

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Dec 18, 2014
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In the UK this is supposed to be a reliable vendor for finished jewelery (never used them myself though and thus dont know if they set outside stones)


I can see they will set in silver for the price you are looking at, but I suspect itll be difficult to get anyone to make a custom gold mounting for 200 USD. If you have a calibrated size stone (I.e. 8 by 6 mm for example) you can use a prefabricated semi mount like those sold by Blue Nile. And just pay a jeweler to put it in the setting -- prices for this are not exactly cheap but this is because there is a lot of work involved. They actually have to cut a seat into the basket for the gem to sit in, so it can involve some labour and short changing this process probably isnt recommended (results could be quite dubious if you cut this corner). If your stone is not a calibrated size this is not recommend-- as if they have to build up the prongs, etc then youll pay extra money.

Otherwise I would second mydaimondzone (ivyandrosevintage). And the Chinese setting vendors like jewelerywhoo2. Many can be found in the thread of recommended vendors pinned at the top of the forum.

Finally you can set stones yourself -- i forget the exact name of the settings, I think it was traps? But you have to buy some equipment to do this to tighten the prongs, and you'll probably ruin the first few stones you practice on.

As voce noted, gold prices are sky high at the moment. Many of us have stones we want to set, but are holding out on because itll be expensive to set them at the moment.
 
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deorwine

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May 5, 2005
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305
Tripps and Jamminggems both have silver and gold "pre-notched" settings. I have ordered from both, although I found jamminggems to be a little more user-friendly.

Gotta agree though that the first couple of stones might not work very well. I don't think I over-tightened any stones, but I definitely under-tightened and a couple of them fell out later. I still DIY, but stones that are on the more expensive side and that I actually care about I have my jeweler do. (I also don't DIY stones I care about in silver, which holds them less securely than gold -- which is why sometimes you see silver rings with gold prongs. And I don't DIY at all in gold with natural gems because gold is harder and can chip the stone if you don't know what you're doing -- which I don't, not really. I have practiced in gold with manmade gems once but gold is too expensive now for me to practice with :razz:)
 

Bron357

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Jan 22, 2014
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I bought a pre loved setting from Ivy & Rose and sent them my sapphire from Australia to the US for them to set. I think it was $100 or similar for fitting the sapphire to the ring mount. it was then shipped back to me. It’s a very hefty setting with lovely diamonds (though not to everyone’s taste) but I was very happy.
With the price and service. Just be aware of any customs fees, luckily mine came in under the (old) $1,000 tax free threshold.
E0B866A3-0CF5-4635-AA56-3CCE50B0F929.jpeg
 

LilAlex

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Mar 3, 2018
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283
I think an all-in-one will set the stone at a loss-leader price since there is typically so much margin on the stone itself. When bringing the center stone in to a jeweler, they need to make their overhead some other way. For example, a decade ago I brought a lovely small-ish diamond in to Tiffany (I knew nothing then) and they would not set it because "it was not a Tiffany diamond" and they would not stoop so low. I then showed them the GIA report and it was as good as anything they'd sell me off the rack -- but still no.
 

Snowdrop13

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Aug 27, 2011
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1,857
I don’t know if you’ve looked at Stuller settings? If you go on their website you can search for UK stockists- there are a few near London, including Durham Rose who are known on here. Maybe they could help you with the process?
 
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