GemTalk: Setbacks between CAD jewelry modelers & stone setters

Jewelry modelers and setters are the starting and ending points of the jewelry production process. They are two completely different entities in the jewelry trade yet, have the vital roles in securing a perfectly crafted and finished product ready for sale in the marketplace. 

Considering that the designing task is outsourced, modelers are involved in shaping the design’s physical attributes before a CAD file is sent out to the casting house, who in their turn, will create a wax model of the design and carefully place it inside the casting machine for physical production. Once the precious metals have forged over the model, a jewelry assembler will carry out delicate tasks such as connecting pieces together (like bracelets or chains), apply sufficient polish before it is passed on to setters who are trusted for securing the stones. 

From a customer’s point of view, the stone-setter is truly the maker or breaker for the finalized piece. No matter how photorealistic a jewelry render may be presented by a CAD designer, it is the stonesetter whose final touch will truly capture the customer’s expectations.

In cases where the design is not made in-house, but rather outsourced, these two professionals never have direct contact with each other and quite often, engage in complaining and blaming each other when stone-setters have apparent “difficulties” to accomplish their task.


GemTalk is a new segment on our blog where we cover business-to-business situations and concerns of the industry. In this article, we will cover miscommunications involving stone setters and outsourced CAD modelers and what solution we think is best to resolve such cases.


Initial steps taken by the CAD jewelry designer

Prior to designing the geometrical aspects of a jewelry piece, CAD jewelry modelers will take into account the following details:

  • Measurements of the model in millimeters
  • The stone size
  • How much extra setting material will be needed for polishing and stone setting in the surface area


When modeling, the expert will foresee the following details in advance:

  • How to properly center the gallery wire on the middle division
  • Make prongs a bit longer for more flexibility and adjustment during the setting so it can almost touch the stone


Once the modeling is complete, a file is sent out to the jewelry casting house, who in their turn, will make the digital appearance of the piece come to life and hand it to the stone-setter who typically goes for a prong setting. 

What is the main role of stone-setters?

Setters are vital to guaranteeing the quality finish of a jewelry piece. If, for example, a ring that is expertly modeled by the CAD designer, if set inadequately, the completed ring will have a faulty appearance. Therefore, it’s the setter’s job to assure that the stones are secured correctly and firmly into the ring. If a stone is not leveled in the designated area properly, it is vulnerable to becoming loose or even risking a complete fall out over time.

Where is the problem?

When setting gemstones in a jewelry piece that was initially conceived as a CAD file, stonesetters often complain that they don’t have a fairly sufficient amount of metal to work with. By practice, CAD modelers will add an extra 0.1 to 0.2 millimeters around the edges to ease the carving process. Some will add too much extra material which becomes an irritating and time-consuming experience for setters. Nevertheless, some stone setters will ignore these details and simply conclude that the stone won’t fit and suggest using an alternative stone that is smaller in size. 

What is the solution?

From a business standpoint, the solution can vary depending on the profession in question. We believe this phenomenon is much more of a trust issue rather than technical or faulty measurements during the modeling stage.

Any successful casting house will tell you that their main business goal is to cut down expenses while increasing productivity without compromising quality. One of the biggest challenges in a mass-production jewelry assembly line is to clearly point out what’s slowing you down. You need to find your weak point and fix it. For example, if your in-house jewelry modeler is often editing their own files due to an erroneous measurement, maybe it would be better to outsource your design to a team of CAD jewelry modelers that hold much more expertise and fewer error ratios in designing so you can save both time and money in the long run!


The main advantage of outsourcing your designs is the immediate positive impact on your production flow. However, as a business owner, it is absolutely your responsibility to do your research and make sure you are hiring the right company that knows what they’re doing and have your best interest at heart.

That is why here at Sarkissian Luxury Studio, we thrive to design more than 50 highly sophisticated and quality models daily with a turnaround of 24 hours. Our focus is to boost your productivity so you can focus more on acquiring new customers instead of editing designs, wasting 3D wax or begging your stone setter to do extra hours of work to repair a finished product.

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