Sometimes, when having to make tiny prong collets for 1mm to 3mm gemstones there is an alternative method to follow then explained in this free jewelry tutorial Making 4 Prong Collet, although the basic principle essentially remains the same.
These collets are quite readily available from the supply houses and the smaller sizes are very cheap.
But knowing how to make them is not really about saving money, but rather it's about getting the job done.
This tutorial shows how to make the entire collet, all the while still attached to the parent metal rod.
With a bit of practice, making one when you use this method takes about fifteen minutes.
Instead of having to wait for the jewelry supplier to deliver, or having to drive to them to collect it, fifteen minutes later you are completing the job.
This free jewelry tutorial follows the same format as in the premium pdf jewelry tutorials. This gives you a good insight into the to technical teaching methodology.
I have a ring that needs to be set with two 2.5 mm round gemstones.
So I start with a piece of rod 3.5 mm in
I first drill a 1.5mm hole about 4mm deep in the center.
Then first with a scriber and then with your piercing saw, I make a cut about 4.5 mm from the end.
Not to deep, just the depth of the blade.
I use this groove as a guide for my barrette file in the next step.
I take my barrette needle file and file a cone shape as shown in the picture.
The nice thing with this method of making a collet is that the collet is worked until the final finish and only then is it cut off.
So it is very easy to manipulate while you are working it.
Once the cone is neat and round, I cut down about two thirds, thus making the start of the four claws.
Then I take a 2mm ball frazer and expand the inner diameter of the collet.
I use a 1mm barrel burr to expand the saw cuts down.
The burr also leaves the bottom of the claw rounded.
A pre-cut is made as to where the collet will be trimmed off.
A sanding disk is also now used to finish the claws on the inside.
Also before cutting the collet off, it is completely polished.
This is easy when the collet is still attached to the rod.
The depth of the claws 2/3 to 1/3, is also shown in the picture.
I have not polished this example, because the polished surface give off to many reflections.
However, normally it would be polished before it is soldered into the setting.
The collet is held in place with binding wire.
Normally, if it is possible, the collet is soldered in from behind.
Here is the collet, set with a 2.5mm gemstone.
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