Tricks of the Jewellery Trade

I was kindly invited to visit Christopher Ness‘s studio workshop in Edinburgh last week. Chris was apprentice trained in London so has a vast amount of trade knowledge. He moved back to Scotland to work for himself specialising in repairs and complex stone setting rings.

So I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit his studio for the day to see how he makes pieces, learn stone setting tricks as well as brush up on my own skills.

The timing was right as I had been working on a few commissions one of which was ready to have stones set in it. I needed advice on the best way to flush set diamonds and do rub over settings. Although I had done these before it was great to get the opportunity to see how a trade stone setter does it.

He showed me all the different types of burrs you get for stone setting and which ones work best for the flush settings and rub over (tube settings). Then gave demonstrations of how to do these. It took him less than 20 minutes to flush set 2 stones and 1 rub over setting! It would have taken me most of a day! But hopefully it won’t take me that long how!

Then he went on to tube set 3 stones into another ring. But this one was tricky and it made me feel better that not everything goes right first time, even for an experienced trade jeweller! You need to keep at it and try again until it goes right.

Once this was done he planned to show me how to make one of his claw setting rings with 3 stones (2 pear shaped and 1 round) from start to finish and set the stones.

However when you have a shop you also need to deal with customers enquiries so he showed me partly how to do this throughout the day and dealt with customer enquiries in-between. It was a fun, inspiring day and I came away with a head full of knowledge and a few pages of notes and tips.

I was very grateful that he took the time out to show me demonstrations during trading hours. We discussed the fact that it’s better to pass on the knowledge, rather than keeping it to yourself and letting the trade die. He said that when he was an apprentice there were a few older folk in the trade who were bitter and didn’t want to pass on knowledge to the next generation.

The jewellery trade is a complex trade with many people who specialise in different areas. For instance the big boys (large brand jewellers who have everything mass produced abroad) have a kind of production line with specific people who make the jewellery (fabricating, soldering, etc) a different group of people to polish the pieces and setters to set the stones. There are also stone cutters, silversmiths, turners, enamellers…the list goes on.

But when you come to a small independent artisan jeweller it is a different process as the artisan tends to make the pieces from start to finish. In some cases they send pieces off to a full-time stone setter but in my case I do all the work myself. In some complex commission pieces – i.e. with lots of stone settings in one piece, I might send off to a setter.

So support the independent British jewellery designers and commission/purchase a piece from their collection.


Can't thank you enough it was exactly as we asked for and a lot more x better start saving for the Eternity ring you're going to be making next for June .... a very happy couple xx


My family bought me a voucher for a 1:1 workshop to make a silver ring for my Birthday. Genna's workshops are informative in the process of jewellery making and good fun. Genna has a lovely teaching style.

Best of all you go home with a beautiful ring you made.

I would definitely do another workshop and if I could give Genna 10 stars I would. Thank you.


Picked up my Wedding Ring today and words can't describe how happy I am. It looks amazing. Few wee (happy) tears on the way home. Thank you so much. p.s. thank you from my "Mum" too xxx


Genna design recently carried out a repair on my wife's engagement ring. I could not fault Genna's workmanship and the cost of the repair was very competitive. I would not hesitate to return in the future.


I had a fantastic time on Saturday, thanks Genna for being patient. Love my ring. Robert asked what I was making next so I might be back. Thanks once again for a great day x


Had a lovely day with Genna making our wedding rings! What a great touch to add to our special day! Would definitely recommend her to anyone looking to make their wedding rings, more than just a ring!

Stephanie 2018

Genna created my engagement and wedding ring and they are absolutely beyond perfect! She really took her time at the initial consultation and went over all of the tiniest details - when we got the pictures of the finished rings I was totally blown away - they were exactly what I had pictured in my head, if not better!!


Genna, it was lovely to meet you last evening and I just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you for the beautiful necklace. It is truly gorgeous. What a talent you have. I've not taken it off since last Thursday! I was even wearing it for Crufts all weekend!

Keep following your dream!

Jenny Campbell 2018

Really enjoyable and educational day, we both had loads of fun. Would recommend to anyone looking to make there own personalised ring

Gordon & Gill

As Alison and Ron’s neighbours we have witnessed first hand this special and devoted love and the beautiful commission pieces you made reflect beautifully their enduring love . Alison wears them with humble pride.


Today my mother enjoyed her Christmas treat from us – a four hour ring making class with jeweller Genna Delaney. She totally loved it and has made a wonderful ring. She reckons Genna is a natural teacher. As a former head teacher she’s good at spotting such talents. If you want to learn jewellery making then Genna is the person to see!

Prof Mike Press

Whoah this blog is fantastic. I love reading your posts. Keep up the good work! You know, a lot of people are searching around for this information, you can aid them greatly.


I'm over the moon with my ring! Thank you so much for creating such a beautiful piece which means so much to me. I absolutely love it.

Irene 2018

Thanks so much for the beautiful ring I bought yesterday!! Will be in touch about a commission a piece soon!!

Julia Wang, NY

Genna has lots of lovely jewellery to buy. The best things are bespoke though. She made me a few unique items using much loved heirlooms and updating them.

Bonnie Lee, TX