Most gem set jewellery whether it is a ring, pendant, bracelet or a pair of earrings, is claw set. Tiny wire claws are cut into & pushed over the gemstones to clamp them in place. This can often allows the most amount of the gemstone to be seen, but can detract from it’s cut & shape. Rub over set rings can often give a stunning, contemporary alternative to claw set jewellery. Take the marquise cut 2 stone diamond ring above, or the trillion cut Tanzanite below. These are 2 very elegant cuts of gemstone that can often be seen in crudely made jewellery with large, blobby round claws that really detract form the shape of the stone ruining all of the hard work of the lapidary (gemstone cutter). The rub over setting on the other hand delicately follows the contours of the gems outer edge highlighting it’s shape rather than masking it.
The beauty of rub over settings is because they follow the edge of the gemstone they look great with any cut. With the Sapphire & Diamond ring below for example, the tiny square frames surrounding the princess cuts highlight the rings Art Deco design.
Even the thickness of rub over settings can be varied. The ring below was designed & made for a customer who wanted the metal to be just as big a part of the design as the diamond. Bearing this in mind the rose gold shank was hammered & satin finished. Then, to make the setting a little more prominent, the rub over collet was made a little thicker than usual to highlight the fact that this ring was not just about bling! The modest diamond looked amazing in the heavy rub over setting.
In the pink sapphire ring below the idea was to make a ring that looked like the gems had just been discovered! As though this piece of Platinum has been cut, opened & inside were 2 glorious Pink Sapphires (that’s not how you mine for Sapphires by the way!). In a claw setting the flowing lines of the design would have been ruined but the rub over worked perfectly.
Many 3 stone rings can look quite traditional in claw settings but rub overs give them a totally different feel. Below are 3 examples: A colour change Purple Sapphire & Diamond ring, a 3 stone round brilliant cut Diamond ring & an Emerald & Diamond ring
Due to their more organic shape (smooth like a pebble rather than faceted) cabochon cut gems work well in rub over settings too. Often claws have to be over-sized to keep cabochons secure due to their shape. Rub over setting though can clamp the gems lower down & do not spoil the look of the cut. Take the star Sapphire below for example…..
All of the rings in this article are available from RING jewellers, Brighton.