Give It a Push

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Soft metal setting punches for flushmounts

By Helen I. Driggs

Back when I was learning to make jewelry, flush setting, also known as gypsy setting, was the style of setting I wanted to learn the most. It seemed like a magical type of setting, with the stone sitting below the surface of the metal. Plus, it’s really attractive to have the sparkle of the stone shining out from the lower setting. Now that I’m a teacher, my students want to learn the style just as much as I did. But before I’ll teach them flush setting, I have my students create brass and/or copper setting punches, just as my teacher Jim Dailing taught me. These specialty tools make pushing and leveling tiny brilliant-cut stones into their seats so easy. And, unlike hard steel, a copper or brass setting punch is less likely to crack or chip a delicate stone.

To make a set of these setting punches, you’ll need 4 or 6 gauge red brass or copper round wire or rod, a coarse hand file or grinding wheel, a chasing or ball peen hammer, and 320, 400, 600, and 800 grit abrasive papers. You may also want to have two 4-inch steel bench blocks, but these are optional.