How to Make a Prong Ring

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A ring with a prong setting is designed so the focus is on the gemstone as opposed to the setting itself. Prong settings, also known as claw settings, have minimal metals holding the stone in place and are often used for solitaire settings containing a single stone. Prong settings have three to six claws that fold up and over the stone to hold it in place. The lack of heavy pieces of metal allows the light to illuminate the stone through its facets. These prongs or claws are thin wires of gold, silver or copper that form a basket-shaped setting to cradle the stone. The basket attaches to the round section of the ring that fits onto the finger. Making your own prong ring setting takes precision. A jewelry maker with knowledge of soldering can learn to make a prong ring with practice.

Things You'll Need

  • Faceted gemstone
  • 0.5-millimeter round silver wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Hard solder
  • Solder torch
  • Cross jewelry punch
  • Flux
  • Paintbrush
  • Pickling acid
  • Copper tongs
  • Metal file, medium grit
  • Half-round metal file, fine grit
  • Flush wire cutters
  • Medium solder
  • Polishing cloth
  • Pusher
  • Buffing stick
  • Turn the stone upside down and set it on the work surface. A pointed stone will be pointing up. Create a circle of wire that will fit on the stone above the widest part of the stone, known as the girdle, while it's upside down. This circle is called a jumpring.

  • Adjust the jumpring as needed until it fits snugly around the stone. Remove the jumpring from the stone. Solder it closed with a torch.

  • Measure and create another jumpring that fits into the first jumpring. Use the wire to create a ring that will sit inside the first ring. Solder the second jumpring closed with a torch.

  • Set the jumprings to the side.

  • Measure out a piece of wire that's four times the length you used for your first jumpring. Bend the wire in half. Take one end of a half and bend it across the other half to form the number “4.”

  • Place the cross punch on top of the wire from Step 5 where it intersects. Tap the punch with your rubber mallet to flatten the wires to conjoin them; don't hit the punch too hard as it will break the wire. The wires will flatten and press together to form a cross.

  • Solder the joined spot of wire together with a torch and let it cool. Set your larger jumpring on top of the cross section you soldered.

  • Brush flux on top of the jumpring and the area of the cross it's sitting on.

  • Paint the flux onto the solder and heat it with the torch. Place the fluxed solder onto the sections of the cross where the jumpring sits. The jumpring should now be soldered to the cross.

  • Cut the closed section of the wire that made the “4” with wire cutters so you have a true cross “X” with the jumpring soldered to the middle.

  • Dip the piece into pickling acid with the copper tongs to clean it.

  • Flip the piece so the large jumpring is flat on the surface. Place the small jumpring directly in the center of the cross and follow the soldering directions from steps 8 and 9.

  • Dip the piece in pickling acid with copper tongs again.

  • File out the middle of the cross inside the jumprings with a medium grit metal file. After the middle is filed, there will be nothing inside the circles. Smooth the edges of the solder points in the circles with a half-round fine grit file.

  • Bend the ends of the crosses up towards the large jumpring. These now form the prongs or claws of the ring. Place the stone inside the prongs to check the fit. The stone should be snug; adjust the prong positions as necessary.

  • Remove the stone. Apply small pieces of solder with a torch to join the prongs to the sides of the jumprings.

  • Place the stone inside the setting again. Cut the prongs with flush wire cutters. The prongs should be long enough to fold over the edges of the stone. Remove the stone.

  • Measure a piece of wire to the size of the ring you'll need. Place your setting on top of the circle. Solder the setting to the circle with medium solder. Apply the heat from the torch until the metal flashes, then remove the ring from the heat immediately.

  • Polish the setting with a polishing cloth.

  • Set your stone into the setting of the ring. Use the pusher to fold down a prong. The prong should be bent down but not yet touching the stone. Fold the prong in the opposite position of the first prong next. Work around the ring this way until the prongs have all been folded.

  • Go back to the first prong you folded and fold the prong down with the pusher until it gently rests on the stone. Go in the same order as you did the first time until all of the prongs are touching the stone.

  • Buff the prongs with a buffing stick.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't get discouraged if your first ring isn't perfect. It may take a couple of tries to master the technique.

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  • Photo Credit Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
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