Settings in Jewelry - 3: Pulled Gold Settings. Post 123.
Sometimes we take the setting of a jewel for granted. We don't give much thought to the technology available at the time the jewel was made. This is typical of very early jewelry, dating up to the early Georgian period and sometimes included in that period, when the jeweler wasn't from a sophisticated city. Most of the jewelry we look at is in high carat gold, a very soft and malleable metal, easy to work with and difficult to corrupt.
Ancient Roman gold and garnet earrings - look how beautifully the garnets are set.
These ancient gold jewels are all-the-more magical when we consider what tools the ancient craftsmen had at their disposal. Certainly, they had no modern machinery and everything was done by hand. The very tools used might be quite crude.
So, how to set a stone in a metal mount? Well, they simply put it there and 'pulled' the thin, pliable metal (possibly warmed up a bit to make it more pliant) up and around the jewel. Tap, tap, tap with a small hammer and it would stay in place for hundreds of years. This method of setting gold jewelry is often referred to as 'pulled gold'.
Primitive techniques were compensated for by devoted attention and meticulous care. The end result was nothing short of beautiful and gives us no clue to the limitations of the maker.
Look at this wonderful ring. It dates to the Ancient Roman period - about 2000 years ago. It is tiny in size and shown many, many times magnified in the picture. No roughness, no sharpness. A perfect fit.
Another very old ring from the Byzantine period, shows a pulled setting in the center and then a number of pearls threaded on a wire. Beads are as old as man himself.
I once had a very old Georgian ring, set with gems in marvelous old pulled gold settings. I took it to someone to appraise the stones. When I came back, he proudly showed me that he had stamped the shank 18k (a mark only put in use after the mid 20th century in the USA). He could not understand why I was upset about my ring.