Introduction to stone setting with Laura Ngyou

Ref: SWE33089

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About this course

An introduction to basic stone-setting techniques. Learn how to set different types of stones and develop a basic understanding of common gemstone qualities and their suitability to different types of jewellery.

Course Description

Learn basic stone-setting techniques and an awareness of design problems and solutions that arise when combining different types of stones with various types of jewellery. You will learn correct planning and design before embarking on a piece.

You are encouraged to make one or more pieces of work, based on the examples and demonstrations given. You might just want to spend the course experimenting and making numerous test pieces for use in future projects. Alternatively, you might want to bring work in progress, where advice and guidance is needed as to how to proceed in order to find the best solution, but work has to be relevant to the course content, where stones are set in a basic way, using the techniques covered in the course.

Materials and techniques covered:

● Design planning, developing a practical awareness of which stones and settings would be suitable for different types of jewellery

● Making a bezel setting for a cabochon stone using fine silver or gold, and setting the stone

● Making a basic claw setting for a stone using sterling silver and setting it

● Flush/gypsy setting for round stones using copper or silver (dependent on time and experience level of the class)

You will be shown samples and test pieces made by the tutor, with a talk about the techniques used. The tutor will also demonstrate how a basic bezel setting is made on a silver ring and the making of a basic claw setting for a piece of jewellery of your choice. Depending on time and experience level of the class, the tutor will also demonstrate the use of basic flush settings in jewellery. You will be able to embark on your own piece/s after discussing them with the tutor, so planning can be done properly.

Course Materials


  • The College will supply some materials, including wood and assorted grades of emery paper.
  • The tutor will supply some materials, including flux, setting cement, 1 or 2 x 2mm round cubic zirconia stones, rubber burrs and heart burrs, silver solder hard and easy.

What students need to bring

  • Any images for inspiration are welcome. (The tutor will provide specially selected books from the library.)
  • The College has a good supply of tools for you to use in the workshop.
  • You are encouraged to bring as many materials as you would like to use as possible, as well as your own tools if you have any:
  • • Ring vice
  • • Setting tools: bezel pusher or rocker and burnisher
  • • Wooden dowel approx. 3cm diameter and 10cm long
  • • Steel tweezers
  • • Assorted needle files
  • • Borax cone and dish (for soldering silver) or easy-flo flux if using base metal
  • • Fine silver bezel strip and fine silver sheet (0.5mm or 0.6mm thick, large enough to fit all the stones you wish to set on and extra)
  • • Sterling silver sheet (0.5mm or 0.6mm thick)
  • • Sterling Silver wire (0.5mm, 0.8mm and 1mm thick approx. 15cm + of each)
  • • Silver solder (hard and easy)
  • • Copper or sterling silver sheet (0.9mm thick or thicker)
  • A useful supplier of tools and metals is Cookson Precious Metals, Hatton Garden.
  • Please bring any tools you have, any stones or metal.
  • Your tutor encourages the use of fine silver (for rub over settings), sterling silver for the claw setting and copper or sterling silver for the flush settings to allow you to become familiar with these techniques.
  • However, if you do want to use gold, please buy it beforehand. 9 carat gold is a difficult material to work with, as it can discolour. The tutor would therefore recommend gold of a higher carat (not stocked in the shop). The shop stocks a great selection of copper and brass if you decide to use base metals. If using gold, please bring gold solder (optional).

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Silver sheet and wire in different gauges, as well as a small selection of tube
  • Copper and brass sheet and wire
  • Silver solders
  • These will be available in set sizes and lengths suitable for a wide range of projects.
  • Available from tutor:
  • The tutor will bring a selection of stones, which you can purchase.
  • N.B. If you would like to bring your own, try to avoid bringing very soft stones as they are harder to set. Flat pebbles are a great alternative and also fossils have been used by previous students, which are often cut flat on one side and polished. Please plan to use simple cuts that can be set in a rub over setting and not irregular sculptural material.
  • The tutor will also bring some spare dowel and polymorph/setting cement available to purchase.

Additional information

This is a short questionnaire to make your time at West Dean as enjoyable as possible. Please email your answers to [email protected] 1. Your experience - it would be very useful to know how much jewellery you have made before, whether you have attended any courses, etc. 2. Interests/hobbies or any skills 3. What do you want to achieve on the course - it would be great if you could make some sketches of pieces, notes, maybe think of different colour combinations of metals and stones. N.B. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

General Information


Laura Ngyou

Laura trained at Middlesex University and the prestigious Bishopsland Workshops in Oxfordshire. Her work is experimental, manipulating metal to create reimagined natural landscapes sympathetic to a gemstone’s individual character.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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