The Guide to Gemstone Settings

This week marks five years since my third book The Guide to Gemstone Settings was published.

I agreed to write the book because I felt that there was a lot more that I needed to learn about setting; I wasn’t wrong! The book was intended to be an accessible manual to help makers explore the setting of stones, starting with the most basic of methods. The complexity and skill level of the projects increases through the chapters, with a diverse range of techniques explored - both traditional and experimental.

As a jewellery-book user, I am very aware of the limitations of the medium. It is difficult to learn things just from books, as often there is not quite enough information present or too much previous knowledge is assumed. One of my favourite parts of this book was designing the diagrams to illustrate the tools and techniques in greater detail than is possible through photography or text. In fact, I still use many of these diagrams to help describe stone setting processes when I am teaching.

The book took about 9 months to write - the arrangement of deadlines meant that I was very often producing 10,000 words every couple of months, plus projects and samples in different stages to be photographed.

All of the stones in the Gemstone Directory section were kindly provided by A E Ward & Son (still my preferred stone dealer). To my huge disappointment, the photoshoot for this section had to be arranged for a day on which I was teaching, and so I missed out on playing with all those amazing gems.


The text for the Gemstone Directory was written by Lizzie Gleave FGA, DGA. She is a trained gemmologist, and her favourite stone is sapphire.

The book has been published in several languages, including French, Dutch, Spanish and Chinese.


I asked Jack Meyer to write the section on CAD, and I’m very glad that he did; I feel it helps the book to be a much better guide to the range of available techniques.


As a result of the book, I have been teaching more stone setting classes at a number of different colleges, including Morley College, Central Saint Martins and The City Literary Institute in London, and WALKA Escuela in Santiago de Chile.


These short courses usually concentrate on one or more particular techniques, and are good for allowing students to be technically challenged in a supportive environment where help is at hand when they need it. With stone setting (as with so many areas of jewellery-making) it is important to practise; it takes time to understand the nuances of a techniques, especially if everything works perfectly for you in class! The trick is to know how to resolve problems when they arise, and this will only happen through practise and experience.


Signed copies of my books are available here (you can even request a special inscription), or if you are taking a class with me - please ask.

These are a few upcoming setting classes which I will be teaching:

Stone Setting in Silver Jewellery Summer School
Short Courses at Central Saint Martins
7th - 11th August 2017
29th August - 1st September 2017


Tube Setting Weekend
Short Courses at Central Saint Martins
14th-15th October 2017


Stone Setting in Silver Jewellery (10 weeks, Tuesday eve)
Short Courses at Central Saint Martins
9th January - 13th March 2018


Flush Setting Weekend
Short Courses at Central Saint Martins
20th - 21st January 2018


Flush Setting (2 weeks, Fri daytime)
City Lit
26th January & 2nd February 2018