Tuesday, 20 October 2015

What No One Tells You about Reverse Setting of a Gemstone

Setting of gemstone is an art of secure placement or attachment of stone into jewelry.
Reverse setting is the non-traditional way of setting a gemstone, i.e the culet facing upward in jewelry, unlike the traditional way of a table facet facing up and the culet facing down.

Reverse Setting in a Ring

The renowned designer Paolo Costagli is widely popular for setting the gemstones with the culet facing upwards. He has used this signature element in his jewelry collection Very PC and Ombre.

The “Very PC” Collection
In this setting first the light catches the stone from many different angles as there is much more surface area exposed resulting in more sparkle enhancing the overall appeal to the jewel.

The reverse setting differs (from left): loose Peridot stones with the culets facing up next to Peridot stones with the table facing up.

Also this unexpected depth creates an interesting jewelry, enhancing a special character and different personality to the jewelry.

Below is ear hanging of the Indian designer brand Arunashi - pave set rose-cut diamonds and reverse-set green demantoid garnets.


Reverse Cutting - "Wallace cut"

"My mind is one with the work, and my physical self is removed from the gemstone," says Wallace Chan.

Wallace Chan is a Chinese artisan jeweler who developed this innovative technique of carving the gemstone in reverse, to give it a life.


Look into the gemstone and there appears to be a human face, as the gemstone is turned, it fragments to be looking in all different directions at once.

It all seems a mystery to me, how this human head having a life of its own is embedded into a gem.
With a keen interest on jewelry he started making wearable "jewelry sculptures". But his dream was to find an entirely new way of working on gemstones in reverse. He started working with cheap crystals, but the tools he used were not very co-operative. After 6 months of research he came up with a modified dentist drill, on using this tool to practice on gemstones he realized this would generate heat and damage the expensive gemstone. Later he learns the technique of working under cold water and this means the carving made is not seen under water. Chan states “It became repetitive process. I make one cut, take it out of the water to check it, dry the stone, check it again, and if it's fine I put it back in the water and make another cut." The artist took 13 years to develop this technique.

“Every stroke and cut has to consider movements of light as it took lot of practice to learn how to carve in reverse.”

This work of his called the Now and Always, inspired from mythology depicting Horae the Greek goddess of seasons. No doubt this is his most work by far.

"There is a Buddhist saying that every person has many selves, and that inspired me spiritually as I created this work." Says Chan.

To take a leap into the professional world of jewellery designing, enroll into Solitaire Diamond Institute's online jewellery designing courses Bangalore.