Master Gemsetting Artisan

Precious stones

An Haute Joaillerie creation would not exist without the precious stones that give it brilliance, light, colour – and above all precious value. And these same gems cannot become a piece of jewellery without an underlying structure. In order to give the best of themselves, they must be set in the most subtle possible way. Gemsetting is also a form of sculpture, a high relief effect that emerges from a noble material such as the finely worked gold or platinum which plays the role of holding the gem in place

[A sustained note in the background]

(On-screen text: Chopard presents)

(A necklace of precious stones glimmers against a black background, the light sparkling off the different facets)

I think a good gem-setter goes to a lot of trouble and doesn't just do it because it's a job. It's much more than that for me.

(On-screen text: ART, from the Latin ARS, ARTIS. Talent, skill, dexterity.)

[Soft piano music plays]

(On-screen text: The word ART becomes ARTISAN.)

(On-screen text: From expertise to emotion. Chopard)

(A black and white graphite sketch of the palm of a hand, surrounded by the words EXPERTISE, CREATIVITY, EMOTION.)

I feel like an artist painting a picture, but instead I'm painting a jewel.

(A portrait of Carlos.)

(On-screen text: Carlos, Gemsetting Artisan)

(Carlos in his workshop studies a necklace through a microscope.)

I'm a master gem-setter at Chopard.

(On-screen text: Receipt of the jewellery structure)

(Carlos gently handles unfinished pieces of jewellery, covered with prongs ready to be decorated with gemstones.)

When I receive a piece, I also receive its design.

(On-screen text: Diamond selection based on size and shape)

After that, I put the piece in setter's cement and start to position the stones according to the plans.

(Carlos heats a piece of setting cement with a glowing open flame and arranges it onto a wooden template before carefully placing the piece of jewellery.)

(On-screen text: Cementing the gems)

It's different to working with sapphires or rubies, it's different to working with emeralds and even more so to working with amethysts or topazes, because diamonds are that much harder. Sapphires and rubies stay in place well, but emeralds, although fragile, speak to you. So you have to know how to listen and stop at the right moment.

(On-screen text: Adjusting the gems)

(Carlos chooses a gem and carefully places it into the seat.)

Often, my heart beats a bit faster when they are extremely valuable gemstones. There's a risk of damaging the piece or damaging the stone. It's experience that tells you how far you can go.

(On-screen text: Filing the prongs)

(A tiny tool is used to file the edges of the prongs and the seat to allow the mounting of a gemstone.)

You have to be really attentive and dexterous to showcase the stone. When it is finely crafted, it shines so brightly that the stone appears even bigger.

(On-screen text: Adjusting the prong height)

(Pliers are used to meticulously clip the prongs to a perfect fit around the gemstones.)

There's always something to learn. The challenge is never saying: "I know how to do it all." If you don't have passion, you can never make anything magnificent.

(On-screen text: Recutting the prongs to the shape of an eagle's claw)

I do everything to ensure the stones stay put forever. Mine's a lifetime guarantee!

(On-screen text: Final check of the gem-setting)

(Carlos holds up his work to examine the sparkling stones in their seats, and carefully arranges the finished piece of jewellery.)

That was also why they asked me to come and contribute to the overall symphony.

(On-screen text: Chopard - The artisan of emotions - Since 1860)

"At the end of the day, gemsetting is the art of mastering extremes: hovering between solid support and carefree abandon, between strength and lightness. It's an exquisite paradox."

Carlos, Master Gemsetting Artisan

Carlos, the Master Artisan of Gemsetting

Master Gemsetting Artisan Carlos is a magician who works in a dedicated part of Chopard’s Haute Joaillerie workshops. He is capable of marrying stones with gold, platinum or titanium, without anyone really grasping how it’s done… Precious metals are dedicated to serving these gems, supporting and magnifying them. The two are separably bound together and this alliance is sealed through binoculars, in the silence of a Geneva workshop. Endlessly repeated operations that are nonetheless always different, as each stone proudly displays its uniqueness. The gemset and Haute Joaillerie sets bearing the Chopard signature all pass through the hands of this artist whose heart beats faster at the sight and touch of precious stones.

gemsetting craftsmanship

Precisely the qualities acquired by Carlos through his many years of experience. When he is dealing with stones of fragile beauty, an emerald weighing several dozen carats or a Paraiba tourmaline whose blue colour rivals that of lagoons, you need the kind of dexterity that can only be acquired after decades of training to be able to set them without squeezing too hard. Too much pressure can shatter the gem. When looking at luxury jewellery adorned with precious and fine stones, one might be tempted to take its beauty for granted. And yet, however invisible the gemsetting craftsmanship may be, one is in fact contemplating the work of a virtuoso. Gemsetting is an art of patience, meticulous care and self-control.

From expertise to emotions

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