Friday, January 2, 2009

Collecting Vintage Jewelry - Part 3 - Types of stone settings used

This is part of an ongoing series which discusses various topics that one needs to consider when purchasing vintage jewelry for wear or for investment purposes.

Vintage jewelry was made using various techniques. Stones were held in place in various ways, and the back construction varied greatly depending on the age of the piece. In this blog we will examine the various settings used for stones.

Rhinestones and other stones were held in place in a variety of ways, but for the best vintage jewelry, look for stones which are prong set, dog tooth set, channel set, or bezel set, instead of those that are glued in. There are some reputable designers who designed jewelry which had stones which were held with glue, but most designers used one of the other four techniques mentioned above.

A prong setting normally has 4 (sometimes 6) small prongs which hold the stones in place. A dog tooth setting has a multitude of prongs all around the stone and are highly prized as a design technique with collectors. Bezel settings are often used with shell cameos and precious or semi precious stones and features a raised smooth area which holds the stone inside it. And finally, channel settins are just that - small channels inside which the stones, normally rhinestone, sit. Channel settings are often used on earrings and cuff links. The following pictures show each type of setting. I have labeled the pictures for ease of identification.

1. Prong, 2. Dog Tooth, 3. Channel, 4. Bezel
1. 2. 3. 4.

In contrast, here is a picture of a glued in rhinestone, which is a lesser quality design technique:
In the next chapter of this series, I will deal with some of the stones which were used.


  1. Very interesting, Carol. I have certainly heard of all these settings, but never knew exactly what they were.

  2. Hi Zoey,

    It can get confusing. New jewelry uses the same types of settings, but some of the vintage findings have little variations. It gets clearer the more you handle vintage jewelry.


  3. Your blog is super informative and very well organized. I plan to follow it, as I have much to learn!

  4. Thank you so much for the kind words. I'm delighted that you will be following my blog.

  5. thanks for a wealth of information, i often refer back to your site when doing research on some old jewelry ~Barbara~