DESIGN ELEMENTS

There are a lot of factors that go into what designing your own jewelry and how much it will cost.  Explore the options below to get a idea of what you’re looking for.

Setting
Stone
Metal
Shank
Finish
Filigree
Engraving
Style

SETTING

The setting is what holds the gemstones. The most common are shown above. Some have more than one name, (like Flush set is also known as Gypsy set). Click each setting to see information and examples of that setting style. The Style of the Setting can dramatically change the over all look and feel of a design. With so many styles of setting and endless combinations, this detail alone can transform a design from intricate antique to chic modern. When choosing a setting style, there are some important things to keep in mind beyond aesthetics. Think about your lifestyle: How often you will be wearing the ring, how active and busy you are, and how you care for your jewelry.

For example, someone who goes is very active and hard on their rings may want to steer away from delicate prong styles and more towards low set half or full bezels, while someone who works at a desk and tends to take their jewelry off when playing rough may prefer delicate prong styles. If you like more dainty or delicate designs, then light weight prongs and bead set diamonds may be right up your alley. If you want to see your center stone but feel like you have a more durable setting, a half bezel could be a great choice. If you tend to like clean lines and have concerns about the safety of your gemstone, a full bezel may be the way for you.

Bezel

A bezel surrounds the stone with a raised rim of metal all the way around.. The bezel can be a part of the ring, or a separate piece and can be in almost any metal. Bezels set is considered the most secure setting method, and very contemporary. It does however obscure much of the stone, so we often use an open or partial bezel. Bezels can be made for any shape of stone, and can be decorated with milgrain, engraving, pierced holes or carved elements.

U-Boat or Retro

A U-Boat is a setting style we named ourselves, not a common industry usage… It is basically, Prongs or a Bar setting, with a ‘U’ shaped side opening. We also use the Short-hand ‘retro’ Prongs to identify this style too.

Half Bezel

A Half Bezel is basically just an open or partial bezel, but we use many hybrids which are somewhere between a half bezel and a channel or Bar setting.

Prong

Prongs are the most common mechanism to hold stones in a piece of jewelry. If they are integrated into the piece, they can be both beautiful and secure, truly showing off a Gemstone in the finest way. Unfortunately prongs are often used poorly. If prongs are added in an unsupported manner, or are too thin they are the least secure setting and likely to fail. Especially, beware of a lightweight head added to a pre made piece of jewelry with poorly attached or overly thin prongs.

Wrap Setting

A wrap Style setting is an organic, curvy wrap of metal surrounding about 3/4 of the stone.It is best suited for Round and oval stones, and is very easy to wear as there are no prongs or sharp edges to snag clothing. This is one of our favorite styles as it is so versatile and usually sits low to the finger and wont snag clothing…great for people with active lifestyles!

Flush or Gypsy Set

A single stone set smoothly into the metal. Flush set stones appear to be floating in the metal with no visible attachment. Very secure for small stones, as they never snag and the whole piece has to wear out to expose the edge, must be done by an expert to secure larger stones.

A flush set main stone makes for a very easy to wear, low maintanance ring & won’t snag clothing. Great for people with an active lifestyle.

Bead Set

Often used in Antique style settings, small beads are drawn up to create beads, then excess metal is removed with a sharp metal graver. Bead setting is usually done in neat rows, but can be just one stone or in sections with irregular stone sizes and placements (this is usually referred to as Pave rather than bead set, from the French word for pavement) Beat setting is often bordered with Milgraining in antique looks, but usually not in more contemporary style pieces. When done with very small stones it is called micro pave.

Channel

A bar or ridge, or a groove in the metal holds one or more stones by the edge. Very modern and secure, often used where clean lines and durability are valued the most. A single, larger stone set in a channel is also called Bar-Set.

French Set

French Bead, or French set is one of the micropave setting styles. In french Set, the accent gems are set with no edge and usually a shared bead holds two gemstones. Sometimes, the bead is split to give a different appearance. There are large flat planes cut at an angle below & to the side of the bead. Similar to and sometimes confused with fishtail. 

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STONE

Selecting the stone is probably the most important piece to designing your jewelry… and there are several from which to choose.  From diamonds, the most popular, to other, more obscure stones.

Diamonds

The name diamond is derived from the ancient Greek αδάμας (adámas), meaning proper, unalterable, unbreakable, & untamed. Diamonds are thought to have been first recognized and mined in India, where significant deposits could be found many centuries ago along the rivers Penner, Krishna and Godavari. Diamonds have been known in India for at least 3,000 years & have been treasured as gemstones since their use as religious icons there.

Diamonds are the hardest, one of the brightest & most sparkly… and of course, one of the most Beautiful of all gemstones. They usually last for generations of daily wear… and Girls (& Guys) love them! That’s why diamonds are first choice for important jewelry.

Click here to visit Jewelry Artisan’s What’s the Deal with Diamond page.

Rubies

Ruby – like sapphire – is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, &  can even been called “Red Sapphire.”However, rubies have been known & sought after for centuries, so they have kept their name & are considered to be a different gemstone. Trace amounts of pure chromium creates the red of rubies. Rubies are also among the most beautiful of all gems. They come in all shapes, sparkle beautifully, usually last for generations of daily wear & have been used as Engagement rings for centuries.

Sapphires

Sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, and comes in almost every color. Well, except red… these were known as Rubies before there was a good way to test stones, so they are still considered to be a different gemstone, but really only by name). Trace amounts of other elements such as iron, titanium, or chromium give Sapphires their amazing blue, yellow, pink, purple, violet, orange, green or other colors. Pure chromium creates the red of rubies. Sapphires are also among the most beautiful of all gems. They come in all shapes, sparkle beautifully, usually last for generations of daily wear & have been used as Engagement rings for centuries.

Emeralds

Emerald green defines a color and that is how popular the amazing deep green emerald is. Emerald is a form of Beryl and is not a very durable stone, but many use it for engagement rings anyway. Most emeralds are treated or filled with an oil or resin and have been for thousands of years.

Fancy Color Diamonds

Fancy color diamonds may be natural or treated gems. From light pink to teal blue, fancy color diamonds have experienced newfound popularity as gemstone treatments have created much more supply of these stones.

Citrines

Citrines are commonly a bright orange color or quartz and altough beautiful are not durable enough for long term everyday wear like in an engagement ring. For all other uses Citrines are great though!

Amethysts

Amethysts are a beautiful purple color of quartz, and although popular and pretty, they are not durable enough for long term everyday wear like in an engagement ring. Purple sapphires are an excellent substitute & we keep lots of purple sapphires in stock at all times.

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METAL

Most fine jewelry has been traditionally made of Gold alloys, Platinum, Palladium, or Silver. The right choice depends on several factors, including price, durability, weight, and color and there are many choices available. Platinum is usually considered the best overall jewelry metal, & is our most requested metal. However, if price is paramount, white gold and Palladium 950 make more sense for many designs, particularly heavy pieces, or simple bands. Titanium, Stainless Steel, and the more durable Silver Alloys fill out the remainder of the options you can choose. Not every item can be made in every metal. Tungsten, for example, can only be made into simple shapes like bands, with no customization options. Silver, on the other hand, is more malleable and inexpensive but will not hold up to the typical lifetime of wear that you should expect from an everyday piece like an engagement ring.

Yellow Gold

White Gold

Gold is the classic rich, warm color that has been used for centuries to create pieces of value and it can be alloyed with other metals to make yellow, white, green, rose and and even more exotic colors. Gold is suitable for most fine jewelry applications and is formulated in different karats. The higher the karat weight, the higher the gold content and the heavier the gold is. Except for White gold, higher karat also meansan alloy will be softer and more malleable.

In all colors except white, we prefer 18kt (.750 fineness) gold for it’s richness of color and resistance to oxidation over a lifetime of wear. The finest and whitest gold alloy is a 14kt alloy we use (x-1 from Stuller Settings). It provides the ‘best of all worlds’ in that it is more than half gold content (58.3% minimum), durable, whiter, less prone to cracking and is more affordable than the higher karat white golds. 18kt and higher white gold is especially hard (and therefore prone to cracking) and should be used with caution on lighter weight pieces.

White gold is created by mixing Nickel & Gold, creating a harder, and more durable alloy than other gold colors, or Palladium & Gold, which makes for a tough, darker grey alloy.  It is a very popular jewelry metal due to its hardness and it holds a shine better than platinum or palladium as they will both develp a matte patina over time.
The most common white gold we use is very white, especially durable, and has passed the stringent European nickel release standards.

Occasionally, however nickel sensitivity will make nickel based white gold inappropriate for some individuals, so if nickel based white gold is not for you, we offer Platinum 950 and Palladium 950 as well as the Palladium white gold alloys (White gold made with palladium as the secondary metal instead of nickel.

Platinum

Platinum is the king of Precious metals.  It has a great color, and it’s strong and long lasting. Our finest pieces, and most of the largest, most valuable stones in the world are set in Platinum. It is greyish white, heavy, and incredibly durable. Unlike gold, platinum will not lose metal weight over time, as it has an inherent toughness, in which under normal wear, very little metal rubs off, but instead is pushed aside. This makes platinum hold up to a lifetime of wear better than any other precious metal. This also gives Paltinum it’s signature patina; a soft, smooth matte finish which develops over time

Although some repairs to platinum can be expected over time, due to normal wear, platinum requires the least maintenance of all the precious metals. Platinum is also the recommended metal for filigree and the finest detail work that requires strength. It is very rare for platinum to cause skin allergies.

Palladium 950

Palladium is more than a substitute for platinum. Palladium 950 (95% palladium, approx 5% Ruthenium) is an excellent jewelry metal, with characteristics similar to platinum, but importantly, a lower density. This allows thicker designs to not feel as heavy as platinum, as well as larger earring applications where platinum is not ideal. As a sister metal in the platinum group, palladium shares many characteristincs with platinum.

Palladium has a long history as a jewelry metal, but new, harder alloys, as well as a price point much lower than platinum makes it especially appealing today. Palladium should hold up to a lifetime of wear better than any other precious metal except platinum. Palladium, again like platinum, will develop a signature patina; a soft, smooth matte finish which develops over time.

Palladium is quite durable, and will normally require the least maintenance of all the precious metals except platinum. It is very rare for palladium to cause skin allergies.

Silver

Silver was one of the first precious metals used by man.  It is the Whitest precious metal, and although commonly silver has been considered too soft for Bridal jewelry, the newest alloys much harder than most people realize. Sterling indicates the most common alloy of 92.5% fine silver. We also offer new anti-tarnish silver alloys.

Titanium

Titanium is a Dark Grey Metal commonly used for high Strength low weight applications. It’s use in jewelry is comparatively recent and limited.  Titanium is difficult to cast and is usually milled to simple shapes.

Other Metals

Two-Tone, & other metal options

Gold, Silver, Platinum, Palladium & other precious metals can be combined for multiple color works of art. There are also Dark gray, pale green,even peach alloys of gold!

Mokume Gane

Mokume Gane & Damascus Steel

Mokume Gane and Damascus Steel are techniques, not, strictly speaking, metals. They are ancient Metal working techniques used originally to harden metal (ususally Steel) for Sword and Blade making. Mokume Gane is a japanese phrase meaning Wood eye, or Wood Grain metal. Mokume Gane can be done with many metals, but most of ours is combinations of Gold in many different colors and silver.

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SHANK

The bottom half of a ring mounting is called the shank. Any ring with a top and a bottom is considered to have a shank. Although Bands do not really have a shank, if there is a definable top to a ring, then the bottom is still called the shank. Of course, the focus of attention for most rings is the top, where the major stones and most visible elements are.
The shank, however, is the foundation of the ring, takes lots of wear and tear, and adds detail and elegance to the ring. Most fingers are not truly round, so although round rings are the most common, a softly squared shank, or a shank with heavier corners sits better on the finger, and turns less. The shank is also the place where unusual detail can be added that may be meant to be less obvious to the world, and more visible, and personal to the wearer. Side face engraving, filigree or stones set in the shank can make a ring much more interesting in theside view you see everyday when you look at your hand at rest. Adding a split shank or a straight or curved taper to the shank will change the look and feel of a ring dramatically. Patterns can also be carved and cast into or even forming the shank, and the most dramatic rings have heavy or ornate shanks that are just as important as the top of the ring.

Round

Square

Euro

Round In Square Out

Split

Taper

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FINISH

Texture, Finishes and Detailing

The final stage of the production process includes adding texture and detailing if requested.
There are many types of surface finishes used on jewelry, ranging from a high polish to a coarse hammered background. We use bead blasting equipment, emery cloths, files, hammers and numerous specialty tools to apply a wide variety of finishes and surface treatments.

Antiquing, or blackening of the background area, and enameling can be used to create specialized effects. Before quality marking, we double and triple check all details of the design to ensure all instructions have been meticulously followed, the design is well executed and your piece is as perfect as it can be! All of our designs are then quality marked (signed) giving our assurance of the fineness of the metal. Karat or fineness is the ratio of precious metal and other alloys used.

Hammer

Polish

Matte

Sand Blast

Stipple

Stone or Emery

Boulder

Terrain

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FILIGREE & ENGRAVING

Engraving

Hand engraving is the next stage of many of our designs. Engraving is when one cuts Patterns, Letters or Motifs metal directly into the metal. (Often confused with Carved patterns, which are produced in the wax or resin model and cast into place.) Hand engraving is commonly finer and much more detailed & delicate than cast patterns. We use both techniques, often on the same piece for different effects.

All of our Artisans do their engraving work under bench microscopes and use perfectly honed carbide & hardened steel gravers. Graver preparation (& a steady hand!) makes the difference between top notch engraving and poor quality, muddy looking work. It is the hallmark of a true artist, and is performed under a bench microscope with carefully prepared and sharpened gravers.

Filigree

The art of filigree consists of curling, twisting and bending fine threads of wire by hand. This may sound simple, but as the saying goes, it takes an hour to learn and a lifetime to master.

First wire is drawn out, often to less than half of a millimeter in diameter, then either used round or flattened for strength.
The wire is then carefully formed to the preferred shape under a bench microscope. A whimsical eye, steady hand and consideration of the area being filled is required. The gauge(s) of wire being used is taken into careful consideration so that the desired effect is achieved.

We use different karats and types of gold wire, sheets and tubing as well as platinum for the most delicate work. All of our fine filigree work is handcrafted in our shop for individual custom orders, as well as for our unique stock pieces. Imaginative intuition is used to create the designs, and some pieces have diamonds or other gemstones in the smallest sizes carefully fitted into the area surrounding the wire work. The gems must be carefully placed to ensure balance, stability and above all… beauty. Of course, an artistic touch is needed to create a true masterpiece.

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STYLE

Antique

Perhaps the widest – and most ambiguous – style found in the Green Lake ring galleries is that of ‘antique.’ For us, this term is generally used to describe pieces that exhibit vintage motifs, classical settings, and fine old world details like hand engraving, milgrain, and delicately forged filigree.

Victorian

(1837-1900) Victorian jewelry is distinguished by its use of elaborate motifs, often composed of open filigree and delicate engraving. The Victorian pieces also incorporate more color than perhaps other periods, be with mixed metals or a punctuating a piece with a sapphire center.

Edwardian

(1900-1915) Edwardian jewelry gets its name from King Edward, who ascended the throne upon Victoria’s death. Rings of this genre are typically more extravagant in there embellishments than their Victorian predecessors, featuring more diamond centers and a liberal use of height on the finger. With a larger gallery on an Edwardian style ring, the top face can be adorned with added side stones and ornament.

Art Nouveau

(1895-1915) Art Nouveau expresses the natural world with romanticized forms, undulating curves, and a ‘whip’ like line style. From flowers and birds to mythical beings, an Art Nouveau piece freezes a moment in time. When creating a piece in this vein, elements of hand forged filigree is almost a must.

Art-Deco

(1920-1930) Art Deco era jewelry is recognized for its use of bold symmetry and geometric patterning. Thematic inspiration drew from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The sharp lines, division of space, and use of large gemstones within many pieces of this genre inspire recreations that are almost architectural in nature.

Contemporary

Contemporary jewelry diverges away from the gratuitous ornament associated with estate pieces and focuses instead on framing the natural beauty of gems with clean design and modern shapes. There are no rules to abide by with contemporary design, the options are limitless.

Organic

With all of the wild curls and whimsical turns nature surrounds us with, organic style rings pull inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. Be it waves, vines, leaves, or clouds, interpreting the natural world with metal is very much an area of distinction for Jewelry Artisans of Atlanta.

Rustic

Jewelry Artisans employs a range of textures, finishes, as well as black and rough cut gemstones to achieve a very rustic, down-to-earth aesthetic. With precious materials appearing closer to their natural state, rustic wedding jewelry defies traditional notions about ‘perfection’ yet maintains a terribly chic appeal all the same.

Abstract

Abstract rings seek to re-imagine what a wedding ring should look like and how it should feel. Jewelry Artisans crafts many abstract rings unlike anything available from a traditional jeweler – metals in colors never seen, rings that move, and elements never thought possible to incorporate.

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