How to Set a Gemstone

Last month was my wedding anniversary. Four years! Yeah, I know. Probably should have posted about my anniversary a month ago. When it happened. I need to get a handle on this whole time-space thing.

For my anniversary, I actually wanted a gift, aside from the usual nice dinner and bubbly. I decided on a ring. A ring with a large stone. A stone large enough that if I were wearing it and happened to fall into a lake, it would drag me right to the bottom. I’d be a goner.

Okay. Maybe not quite that big.

My other requirement for this ring was that I wanted to do it myself – select my own gemstone and ring, and set it myself. So, I bought a stone (eBay!). It’s a smoky quartz, and I love the color.


I also love that it’s about the cheapest gemstone a person could buy. This baby clocks in at just under 11 carats and didn’t cost a fortune.


I bought a setting for said gemstone. Sterling silver, very affordable.

So now what?

Welcome to the totally non-professional, quick-and-dirty way to set a gemstone. Emphasis on non-professional. If a jeweler reads this, they may cry.

First, turn your stone upside down. Push your setting down onto it. It should pop right in. If not, bend the prongs back with a small pair of needlenose pliers. Then set the stone inside the setting.


Use the pliers to ever so carefully bend the prongs down onto the stone. Shake the ring back and forth, make sure the stone is completely secure – if it’s not, you’ll be able to hear it moving back and forth. Shake it like a Polaroid, baby. Keep gently bending those prongs down until the stone doesn’t move. Even when you shake it. Like a Polaroid. Sorry. I’ll stop now.

The result of this hard work?


Ta-da! Done.


Now, just a little disclaimer here. I did this myself because the gemstone and ring together cost me less than $40. I can live with that cost had I screwed up and damaged something.

If you want to set a stone that’s precious to you, take it to a jeweler.

If you want to set your great-grandmother’s 140 year old gemstone that survived two world wars and 4 uprisings, take it to a jeweler.

Is my stone perfectly set with prongs that are perfectly bent over and evenly spaced? Uh, no. One of the prongs is a little wonky. That doesn’t bother me one bit. If it would bother you, take it to a jeweler.

Have fun!

*This tutorial was featured on One Pretty Thing!