Crimping in jewelry
Historically, precious stones are set on jewelry by crimping.
This technique revolutionized the goldsmithery previously limited to the work of precious metals to create jewelry : the art of highlighting the jewels on precious metal frames in gold or silver.
The jeweler has two caps, that of goldsmith to shape the metal and that of crimper, to mechanically fix the jewel or jewels on the jewel or the ring.
Sometimes, the jeweler is also lapidary, but it's often a profession in own that to cut the stones.
Here are different types of jewelry set with different crimping techniques commonly used in jewelry and in our workshop.
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The history of crimped jewelry
The fixing or the inclusion of gemstones and enamels to the jewels dates from antiquity, the Egyptians were the first and the court of the pharaoh eager for fine jewels left us a large number of pieces having inspired the jewelers of the nineteenth century.
However, one can not speak of jeweler art, because the techniques are always the same and the stones used are generally precious stones, but not precious, put in the form of cabochon (natural form of the ovalized stone).
It is with the development of the European courts and the major discoveries of America and the trade with Asia, that the precious stones arrive in the workshops of the goldsmiths.
In France, the seventeenth century saw the birth of the jeweler's art, the goldsmiths were entrusted precious stones carved which they must sublimate the glare by fixing them on jewels while letting the light pass.
They then develop different techniques to mechanically hang these stones without risk of losing them.
Example of creation of Egyptian jewel taking the form of the carved scarab.
Crimping in jewelry
There are many techniques of crimping the stones adapting either to the stone, or to the jewel or the style that one wishes to give to the piece.
Here are explained the different traditional techniques of crimping stones on jewelry.
The claw set
The setting of the jewel is made of 2 to 8 claws which once folded on the stone come to imprison it.
This technique is usually used for fixing precious stones because it allows light to pass through all angles and sublimate the brilliance of the stone.
The grain set
Similar to the setting claw, this technique consists of fixing the stone by detaching shavings from the frame with a sharp jeweler's tool and bending them on the edges of the stone.
This technique is made possible because the precious metals used in jewelry are ductile (gold, silver and platinum are not hard materials compared to others like steel or titanium).
This is the classic crimp mode of jewelry when it is necessary to make a tiling.
The closed setting
A small band of precious metal surrounds the stone throughout its perimeter. This one is then returned slightly in force then the periphery is compressed on the stone, allowing to fix it firmly in place.
It's the preferred technique for crimping fine stones such as turquoise, onyx and malachite.
The rail set
Where the stones are slid between two rails dug in the metal, closed at their ends. A diagram is more explicit to understand the principle.
The nail set
This technique is used to fix several gems or critics on the mount. The image of the nail is not taken at random. A nail in precious metal (gold, silver or platinum depending on the jewel) is welded between the stones to compress the stones around it, thus fixing them mechanically in place.
This crimping technique is very similar in appearance to grain set, but the set nail is used when you want to hold several stones in place with the same nail.
The press crimp
This seam holds the stone in place by pressing the metal on it. Usually used to crimp a single stone on a ring, the ring body ring is made open a little too small so that by inserting the gemstone into grooves in the middle of the opening, the body pressure ring hold the stone in place.
This type of set does not guarantee that the ring will not move and that the stone will be lost. It is recommended to do this with a diamond only, fragile stones can break due to the pressure of the metal.
The invisible set
There are other crimping techniques, often a combination of these traditional techniques. Some prestigious jewelery stores have also developed their own crimping technique to get rid of the metal around the stone, for which we can mention Van Cleef & Arpels' invisible set or Francis Chirol's flanged set.
The invisible set consists (it's very summary because I'm not an expert in the technique) to create a groove on the gemstone that will clip it on a metal rail.
This video will show you better than words the finesse and precision of this technique :
Modern fixings of stones by the creators
If the setting is the traditional way to fix the stones, it also offers the advantage of being able to repair the jewels. Indeed, if the jewel is broken due to a fall or the split stone, it is possible to dismount the stone of the mount and proceed either to its change or to repair the mount to crimp the stone again on the -this.
However, in parallel with traditional jewelry, creators are indulging in other methods of fixing, using resin for example. This allows them to insert jewel-fitting stones and hold them in place.
The advantage of this method is that the stone can then be finished in the jewel, unlike traditional crimping where the stone must be finished to cut before being crimped.
This allows the jeweler to create gems of different style and with other materials such as precious wood or fossilized wood as you can see in the photos that follow.
Crimping a stone on a ring
So concretely, how do you go about a jewelry workshop to crimp the stones on a ring or a jewel ?
It is necessary on the one hand to prepare the jewel according to whether one wishes to realize a setting claw or closed set (which are the most common crimped jewels).
For the claw setting, the claws are welded in place or present on the cast iron of our ring. Then the claws are then folded on the stone with a hand tool then cut and rounded with a motorized tool shaped dome.
In the case of the closed set, as the case of this pendant. The stones are pierced to the correct diameter and the walls are thinned to adjust the stone. The metal edges are then folded on the stone with a hammer.
To learn more about the subject, we invite you to discover Suzanne Belperon a modern luxury jeweler.