Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tips for Setting Swarovski Crystals Part 1 - Claw Settings

One of the wonderful things about creating wedding jewellery is that lots of sparkle is good. I'm working on some gorgeous wedding jewellery at the moment using Swarovski crystals. Apart from regular stringing techniques, I've also included some crystals which are placed in settings.

There are a couple of different methods I use and they depend on the type of setting I'm using. Today it's the claw setting (sometimes known as a tiffany setting). These settings have a deep well inside to accommodate the pointy back of the crystal and a number of claws which wrap over the top of the crystal. You use your pliers to press the claw against the surface of the crystal to hold it in place.

That sounds really easy, right? Well yes.... and no! Crystals can be fiddly to set - they have a habit of flipping upside down or not sitting properly level in the setting so here's a couple of tips I use when I'm setting them.

Firstly, getting the crystal into the setting. If your fingers are nimble (and you have perfect eyesight!) you may be able to line them up without any aids at all but you can make much faster work of it by using a tool like Embellie Gellie. Just place a small ball on the end of the stick and work it around the tip so it stays put. Now you can pick up the crystal and position it accurately in the setting so that it's centred and level.

To make sure that it stays that way, flatten the first claw. I've started on the bottom left but it doesn't matter which one you start with.

Then flatten the claw which is diagonally opposite the first one you flattened. Make sure the crystal is still sitting level in the setting before doing this.

Now the crystal is level, you can flatten the two remaining claws.

Make sure you flatten the claws against the crystal really well because there's nothing worse than having a claw catch on your clothing.

I really love the look of claw settings - it takes your jewellery-making up a notch and makes your handmade jewellery look more like fine jewellery than costume jewellery so it's perfect for weddings and special occasions.

Next time, I'll be sharing the second method I use to secure pointy back crystals - adhesives.

'Til next time.....

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