The art of setting, in other words to secure a gem in a mount, is one of the jeweler’s most noble tasks as the stone must be set in such a way as to best show off its qualities. Generally speaking there are three main types of settings: closed setting, prong, pavé or bead setting, and invisible setting.The closed setting is the oldest and most secure method of setting a stone. A thin strip of metal is folded around the stone’s girdle or rondiste. The stone is therefore completely enclosed in metal.
Prong, pavé and bead settings are more modern styles in which more of the stone is exposed, allowing a maximum amount of light to enter the stone, thus increasing its attractiveness. In the prong setting, tiny metal prongs (or claws, hence the alternative name of “claw setting”) attached to the gallery of the mount are bent over the table of the stone. In the peg setting, these prongs are replaced by thin gold wires whose tip is shaped like the head of a nail. In the pavé setting, the stone is secured by tiny shavings of metal, lifted from around the metal mount. It takes three to six prongs, and three or four beads to set a stone.In the third method, the invisible setting, the mount disappears from view to reveal the full luster of the stone.
This style of setting requires special preparation of the stone, which must be cut in an angular shape, and is only suitable when setting several stones side by side in a pavé. V-shaped notches are cut into the pavilion (the bottom part of the stone). Each stone is then “snapped” tightly into a metal rail, and slid along until it sits snugly beside its neighbor.All that remains is a very thin wire of gold around the pavé. The invisible setting was invented and patented by Cartier in 1933.