Set gemstones by hand

Business Sectors (Suites): Jewellery Manufacture, Silversmithing and Allied Trades
Developed by: Creative & Cultural Skills
Approved on: 14 Aug 2015


This standard covers the skills required to set gemstones using different techniques. You will practice a range of setting styles and uses for gem stones as well as basic gemmology which includes being able to assess and make adjustments to your designs according to gem hardness, toughness, cleavage, strengths and weaknesses and understand your practical applications within jewellery and silverware.  

You will be required to work to instructions and to use a range of hand tools and a variety of techniques appropriate to the type of material being used and type of setting used. You will also need to understand the basics of gemmology.

You will be expected to visually check the quality of your work, seek guidance on any defects and on the appropriate actions to rectify them and ensure that the finished work meets the given specification which may include timescales.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. research the different techniques for setting gem stones in line with project needs
  2. research basic gemmology information relevant to different settings in line with project needs
  3. select the setting requirements for different projects in line with industry best practice
  4. assess the gem stones for flaws, cracks and defects in line with workplace instructions
  5. choose the setting metal and stones for the number of holes in line with project needs
  6. prepare materials and equipment for setting in line with workplace instructions
  7. adjust stones in the settings in line with industry best practice
  8. secure gemstones in a range of settings and metals in line with workplaces instructions
  9. seek support and guidance when problems arise in line with workplace instructions
  10. check the work for defects in line with project needs
  11. take action to rectify any defects detected in line with industry best practice
  12. complete the work to the given specification in line with workplace instructions**

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. safety precautions to be taken when setting gem stones
  2. basic gemmology
  3. where to find sources of information on setting styles, techniques and gem stones
  4. gem stone setting techniques and procedures
  5. gem stone setting terminology
  6. gem stone setting tools, materials and equipment
  7. how to determine the suitability of metal for settings different gem stones
  8. how to care for and maintain tools
  9. cleaning up procedures after gem stone setting
  10. the sequence of application to remove surface marks
  11. how to identify difficulties prior to setting
  12. finishing procedures after gem stone setting including filing, grain tooling and buffing
  13. who to ask for support and when to do so
  14. how to check that the gem stone setting meets the needs of the specification
  15. best practice in gem stone setting within chosen jewellery industry
  16. the importance of following the given specification and timescales
  17. common defects and ways to rectify these


​1.         Range of settings includes:

    1. rub over
    2. thread and grain
    3. star
    4. gypsy/flush
    5. pavée
    6. a range of claw settings

2.         Secure gemstones methods:

    1. scorper/graver
    2. air gravers
    3. stereo-microscopes

3.         Set work in following metals:

    1. copper
    2. silver
    3. gold
    4. platinum
    5. palladium 

4.         Basic gemmology includes:

    1. hardness
    2. toughness
    3. cleavage
    4. strengths and weaknesses
    5. practical applications within jewellery

Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

14 Aug 2018





Originating Organisation

Creative & Cultural Skills

Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Design Associate Professionals, Skilled Trades NEC

SOC Code



Jewellery; design; technique; product; gemstones; hand-setting; gemmology; gem; stone; tools