Patent application title: JEWELRY APPARATUS
Joseph H. Wein (Highland Park, IL, US)
Stephen A. Roehl (Des Plaines, IL, US)
FANTASY DIAMOND CORPORATION
IPC8 Class: AA44C1702FI
Class name: Jewelry gem setting multiple
Publication date: 2012-07-19
Patent application number: 20120180524
A gemstone setting for gemstones that present as a single stone on the
viewing face or top including a plurality of anchor gemstones and a
larger touchstone wherein the gemstones are held in place with no metal
from the setting visible between the gemstones. The gemstones are
positioned in the setting with the lower girdle facets of the anchor
gemstones overlapping and contacting the upper girdle facets of the
touchstone so that at least one of the contact points between the
touchstone and an anchor gemstone forms an angle and helps to hold the
touchstone in place.
1. A jewelry apparatus comprising: a plurality of anchor gemstones, each
comprising a crown, a table, a girdle and a pavilion; a touchstone of
larger size than the anchor gemstones having a crown, a table, a girdle
and a pavilion; and a setting for receiving said anchor gemstones and
touchstone in said jewelry apparatus having a plurality of cavities, said
setting holding said anchor gemstones in place, wherein said touchstone
is held within said setting solely by the girdles of at least some of
said anchor gemstones and a cavity configured for said touchstone and
without said setting overlapping any part of said crown of said
touchstone and without said touchstone contacting said crowns of said
2. The jewelry apparatus of claim 1 wherein said anchor gemstones are angled away from said touchstone.
3. The jewelry apparatus of claim 1 wherein said setting further comprises a base having a plurality of cavities equal in number to and substantially the same size as, the pavilions of said anchor gemstones and said touchstone, respectively, wherein a portion of said pavilions of at least one of said gemstones rest in said cavities.
4. The jewelry apparatus of claim 3 wherein said cavities of at least one of said anchor gemstones are angled to hold said anchor gemstones such that the tables of said angled anchor gemstones are angled away from the table of the touchstone.
5. A jewelry apparatus comprising: first through ninth gemstones, each having a pavilion, a table, a girdle and a crown; a setting for receiving said gemstones in said jewelry apparatus wherein said ninth gemstone is larger than the first through eighth and located adjacent to said first and eighth gemstones, said setting overlapping parts of said crowns of said first through eighth gemstones but not any part of said crown of said ninth gemstone, said ninth gemstone being held solely between said pavilions of said first through eighth gemstones, and said setting including a wedge between said first through eighth gemstones for holding said ninth gemstone; and wherein the tables of said first through eighth gemstones are angled with respect to the table of the ninth gemstone.
6. The jewelry apparatus of claim 5 wherein said setting further comprises a base having first through eighth cavities angled with respect to a ninth cavity, and wherein a portion of said pavilions of said first through ninth gemstones rest in said first through ninth cavities, respectively.
7. The jewelry apparatus of claim 6 wherein said first through eighth cavities are configured to hold said ninth gemstone with said ninth gemstone girdle below said first through eighth gemstone girdles.
8. The jewelry apparatus of claim 5 wherein said pavilions of said first through eighth gemstones contact said girdle of said ninth gemstone.
9. The jewelry apparatus of claim 5 wherein said setting is selected from the group consisting of cavities, grooves and prongs.
10. The jewelry apparatus of claim 5 wherein the ninth gemstone is larger than the first through eighth gemstones and the first through eighth gemstones are substantially the same size.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
 This application is a U.S. National Phase Application of International Application PCT Application No. PCT/US2010/050777 filed on Sep. 29, 2010, which claims the benefit of priority from U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/277,726, filed on Sep. 29, 2009, and both of which are incorporated herein by reference.
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION
 The present invention relates to jewelry and an improvement in conventional invisible setting methods for gemstones with a generally rounded top face, in that the improvement provides jewelry and a method for setting that gives the appearance of a single gemstone that approximates the refraction and brilliance of a single gemstone larger than the component gemstones.
 Gemstones can be set in a piece of jewelry in a number of ways. For example, prior art jewelry setting methods include prong setting, channel setting and more recently invisible setting, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,591,633 B2.
 The most common method of setting a gemstone is prong setting. A prong setting comprises at least two thin metal supports that extend from a common base to wrap around and grip opposing upper edges of the girdle of a gemstone. The base of the prong setting is typically attached to a piece of jewelry, such as a ring, to secure the gemstone to the piece of jewelry. While prong setting is an easy and economical method of securing a gemstone to a piece of jewelry, the metal supports are clearly visible and detract from the beauty of the gemstone. Since the supports are exposed, they are also subject to breakage and loss of the gemstones.
 Channel setting is another method of setting gemstones in a piece of jewelry. A channel setting comprises a U-shaped channel for holding a row of gemstones in place in the piece of jewelry. The gemstones are placed in the channel and grooves in the opposing walls of the channel engage the girdle of the gemstones. The gemstones are held in the channel by the two opposing walls and grooves in the walls. Channel settings share the same problems as prong settings, namely, that the opposing walls of the setting are visible and detract from the beauty of the gemstones.
 Invisible setting is a third method of setting gemstones. In a conventional invisible setting, the stones are set such that one or more stones partly support another stone in place along with cavities in the setting into which the base of the stones are inserted. The face or table of the stones form parallel planes or a single plane with respect to each other, and no setting is visible between the stones.
 One such conventional invisible setting method for stones with straight lines such as square or princess cut gemstones requires a groove to be cut in the lower surfaces or pavilion of the gemstones. Two parallel rails are included in the setting and are configured to engage the grooves in the gemstone to secure the gemstone onto the jewelry piece. Using this method, rails are concealed from view by the girdle and crown of the gemstones. Also, multiple gemstones can be set with their adjacent edges juxtaposed so that the rails are not visible between the gemstones. Although the setting is not visible between the gemstones and the gemstones appear to look like a single gemstone, the method has multiple drawbacks and thus its use is limited: is difficult and expensive to implement; it only works well with specific gemstone shapes such as square or princess cut gemstones; and it requires grooves to be cut into the gemstone, adversely affecting the luster, quality and value of the gemstones.
 A second invisible method utilizing anchor and touchstones (described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,591,633 by the instant inventor) places the plane of the top face or table of the touchstone below plane of the anchor gemstones, with the planes being parallel. No stones are angled with respect to each other--they are set at differing heights, which has the effect of accenting each individual stone. This method eliminates the need to cut a groove and can be used on circular stones, but the stones are still clearly visible as multiple stones. Moreover, the relatively small difference in size between the touchstone and anchor gemstones in existing embodiments results in a pronounced difference in height between the two--a crater. This crater effect caused by the tables of adjacent anchor stones being higher than the table of the touchstone highlights the individual levels of stones and compromises the refractive index and brilliance of the center touchstone and does not give the appearance of a single larger stone.
 Thus, there is a need for a invisible method of setting multiple round-faced gemstones that provides the brilliance and refraction similar to a single larger stone, that provides the appearance of a single larger stone, that is easy to do and that does not adversely affect the luster, quality or value of the gemstones or require the gemstones to be marred as a prerequisite for setting. Moreover, there is a need to make smaller, less expensive gemstones appear as a larger, more expensive gemstone. The improvement set forth herein describes a jewelry apparatus such as a pin, necklace, earrings, or post utilizing a single center or touchstone surrounded by smaller angled anchor gemstones to accomplish those goals.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION
 These needs and others are satisfied by the jewelry apparatus and method of the present invention. A jewelry apparatus for round-tabled gemstones according to the present invention comprises at least 6 anchor gemstones and a single larger touchstone, with all gemstones having a generally rounded face, and a setting means for setting the anchor and touchstones in the jewelry apparatus. According to the present invention, at least one anchor gemstone may optionally be angled and the anchor gemstones surround the touchstone. The table of the touchstone is positioned slightly above the girdle of the anchor gemstones, whether or not angled, and the touchstone is held in place partly by the anchor gemstones and partly by a setting configured with a cavity to receive the touchstone, with such setting invisible between the anchor and touchstones when the jewelry apparatus configured according to the present invention is viewed from the top face.
 Preferably, the jewelry apparatus includes from six to twenty anchor gemstones and a single touchstone of the same gem, which is larger than any of the anchor gemstones. The anchor gemstones need not be identical. The anchor gemstones are held in the jewelry apparatus along their outer edges by any conventional setting means described above (which may be visible at the outer edges of the anchor gemstones and which is illustrated here as an example by angled prongs) with the touchstone held in the center of the jewelry apparatus by the anchor gemstones and the cavity in the setting, and with the gemstones together set to give a generally domed appearance as viewed from the side.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is side view of a conventional rounded gemstone.
 FIG. 2 is a side cross-sectional view of the jewelry apparatus according to the present invention showing the touch and two angled anchor stones and the portions of the setting that contacts such stones.
 FIG. 2A is an enlarged view of the portion of the preferred embodiment identified by circle A in FIG. 2.
 FIG. 3 is a top view of the set gemstones of a 9-stone jewelry apparatus according to the present invention with traditional prong perimeter settings.
 FIG. 4 is a side view of the gemstone configuration of a jewelry apparatus according to the present invention illustrating the relative positions of the tables of the touch and anchor gemstones.
 FIG. 5 is a top depiction of the set gemstones of an 11-stone jewelry apparatus according to the present invention.
 FIG. 6 is a side cutaway view of an exemplary setting for the jewelry apparatus of the invention in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
 FIG. 7 is a top depiction of the set gemstones of an 8-stone jewelry apparatus according to the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
 In accordance with the present invention, a jewelry apparatus and method of setting gemstones with rounded faces is described that provides distinct advantages when compared to those of the prior art. The invention can best be understood with reference to the accompanying drawing figures.
 FIG. 1 shows the shape of a conventional gemstone 10. The gemstone 10 includes a crown 12, a pavilion 14, a girdle 16, a table 18, upper girdle facets 20 and lower girdle facets 22. Because of a gemstone's refractive index, optics dictate most of the dimensions of an optimally cut gemstone, and most angles of the gemstones will not vary by more than a few percent without significant compromise to the appearance (refraction and brilliance) of the gemstone.
 Referring now to FIG. 2, a jewelry setting contains a base 2 with cavities into which at least the center touchstone 26 is seated. Said base 2 includes a cavity 4 for the touchstone 26 and may optionally further include a cavity 6 for at least one of the surrounding anchor gemstones 24, each cavity configured for accepting the pavilion 14' and 14'' of its respective stone. The cavities are sized so that at least a portion of the gemstone pavilions 14' and 14'' can be held in the cavities with the gemstone crowns 12' and 12'' and girdles 16' and 16'' sitting above the base 2. The cavities 6 can also optionally include angled countersunk side walls generally corresponding to the angle of an angled gemstone pavilion 14'', for such anchor gemstones 24 as are set into cavities in the invention described herein.
 In most conventional invisibly set rounded gemstone assemblies (such as those set according to U.S. Pat. No. 6,591,633 B2), the jewelry apparatus comprises a center gemstone with approximately similarly sized gemstones disbursed around the perimeter of the center, all set with the tables in parallel planes and the table of the center gemstone slightly below the tables of the anchor gemstones, forming a cratered shape. Gemstones may be any gemstone cut in a traditional rounded manner having features as described in FIG. 1 where refractive index and brilliance are important, such as for example but not as a limitation diamonds.
 As illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 2A, we have surprisingly discovered that if the center, or touch, gemstone (touchstone) 26 is sufficiently large in relation to a plurality of surrounding anchor gemstones 24, and that the anchor gemstones 24 surround the touchstone 26 such that the tables 18' and 18'' of all gemstones approximate a dome 28 when the jewelry apparatus is viewed from the side, a desirable appearance of a single gemstone larger than each of its component gemstones is created. Optionally, the domed appearance may be enhanced then the anchor stones 24 are angled with respect to the touchstone 26, as illustrated here by way of example and not as a limitation.
 As depicted in FIG. 3, in this instance, the optional tilt of the anchor gemstones 24 creates an angle to the table facets 18 of the jewelry apparatus that closely mimics the upper girdle facet 20 of a much larger single stone, although the anchor stones 24 need not all be angled to achieve some of this effect. In an angled jewelry apparatus constructed in accordance with present invention, the cavities in the setting for the anchor gemstones are configured to result in angled anchor stones 24 but the stones need not necessarily be inserted into such cavities. If an angle for the anchor stones 24 is desired, the angle is established by notches in the perimeter settings, which corresponds to the desired tilt of the tables 18'' of the anchor gemstones 24 away from the table 18' of the touchstone 26. The angle of the anchor gemstones 24 is determined in this example by a notch (not shown) cut into the perimeter prongs 8, and any traditional perimeter setting may be suitably configured to create such an angle. The anchor stones do not overlap each other.
 Referring to FIG. 4, surprisingly, the overall visual impression of the top surface 32 of a jewelry apparatus according to the present invention is that of a single large domed gemstone. A jewelry apparatus according to the present invention achieves an overall refraction and brilliance closely resembling a much larger stone with a larger face than any face of the stones used in the invention. This impression is visible to the viewer even if the angle of tilt of the separate stones is not visible or the stones are set without such an angle. This configuration of stones which may optionally include at least one angled anchor stone changes the overall pattern of facets and refraction in a way that the eye recognizes as more closely approximating a single gemstone than a collection of separate gemstones. This visual effect is optimized when combined with an invisible setting, as previously described, in which the encircling anchor gemstones 24 are touching the center touchstone 26 with no prongs or metal visible anywhere between the top surface 32 of the jewelry apparatus.
 As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 4, because of the geometry of the upper girdle facets 20 of a large touchstone relative to the geometry of its lower girdle facets 22, this effect is achieved only when at least 6 anchor stones are used, and most preferably at least 8. The effect of refraction and brilliance approximating a single larger stone improves by adding additional anchor stones 24. In a preferred embodiment of the invention provided as an example and not as a limitation, a touchstone 26 of 0.3->1 carat is encircled with 8 to 20 anchor stones 24 sized so that the anchor stones touch the touchstone 26, and the table of the touchstone establishes the top of the dome shape formed by a jewelry apparatus of the present invention. At least one anchor stone 24 may be angled up to all anchor stones being angled, which angling while not necessary will enhance the desired effects of the invention.
 Although the present jewelry apparatus structure discussed herein is directed to a particular number of anchor stones associated with a single large touchstone, it is recognized and anticipated that the present invention can be incorporated into any anchor stone structure including at least six anchor stones. In a preferred embodiment, six or seven anchor gemstones can be used to configure the present jewelry apparatus.
 For example, FIG. 5 illustrates the set gemstones of an 11-stone jewelry apparatus (1 touchstone and 10 anchor stones) and FIG. 7 illustrates the set gemstones of an 8-stone jewelry apparatus (1 touchstone and 7 anchor stones) according to the present invention. Referring to FIG. 4, in this 11-stone embodiment, as with FIG. 3 the optional tilt of the anchor gemstones 24 creates an angle to the table facets 18 that mimics the overall appearance of a much larger stone. FIG. 6 illustrates but one example of a setting covered by the present invention. In the setting depicted in FIG. 6, the unangled touchstone cavity 4 is located in the center of base 2. Arrayed about the touchstone cavity 4 is a plurality of angled anchor stone cavities 6, the number of which corresponds to the number of anchor stones used in the piece. Also depicted in this illustration is an optional notched prong previously referred to.
 Surprisingly, we have determined that for a touchstone 26 of 0.33 to 1 carats with a rounded girdle 16, the refraction and brilliance improves as the number of anchor stones 26 increases, from 8-20 anchor stones. In another embodiment for touchstones 26 larger than a carat, additional anchor stones 24 are used and similarly the refraction and brilliance improve as additional anchor stones 24 are added.
 We have discovered that by using a relatively larger center touchstone 26 and numerous small surrounding anchor stones 24 one creates a meaningfully different effect, and that effect that be further improved by tilting the anchor stones slightly to create a slight dome shape to the top surface 32 of the jewelry apparatus of the invention. The table 18 of each anchor gemstone 24 thus falls away from the plane of the table 18 of the touchstone 26 in imitation of the way that the upper girdle facets of a large gemstone would fall away from the table of that larger gemstone. The eye perceives this combination of differently sized gems arranged in this way (enhanced by tilting the anchor gems 24) as being a single large gemstone.
 In the method of setting in accordance with the present invention, angle of tilt of the encircling anchor gemstones is used to optimize the refraction and brilliance of the jewelry apparatus of the present invention. The optimal angle varies with the size of the touchstone and number of encircling anchor gemstones, and it is intended that a range of sizes of touch and anchor gemstones may be used in accordance with the invention. Some example optimal values are listed below as examples and not as limitations, but any angle greater than zero and up to 30 degrees is considered within the scope of the present invention. Degrees much above 30 degrees become impractical because in most configurations, there would not be sufficient surface area between the bases of the anchor gemstones to properly secure the center gemstone.
 We have discovered that the optimal angle of tilt of anchor stones away from the table of the touchstone varies with the number of anchor gemstones. For example and not as a limitation, we have determined that for 6-8 anchor gemstones, the optimal angle is 18 degrees; for 10-14 surrounding gemstones the optimal angle is 1-17 degrees and for 16-20 surrounding gemstones the optimal angle is 15 degrees and so forth.
 A method for setting gemstones according the present invention comprises forming a base optionally including angled cavities to accommodate tilted anchor stones and an untitled touchstone in a setting means of a piece of jewelry, placing the touchstone 26 in the appropriate cavity in the base of the setting means, and securing the anchor gemstones 24 about the touchstone 26 by means of a traditional perimeter setting such as but not limited to prongs 8, and optionally in angled cavities in the base. The gemstones 24 and 26 are positioned such that the lower girdle facet 22 of the anchor gemstones 24 overlap a portion of the upper girdle facet 20 of the touchstone 26, and the table 18' of touchstone 26 is higher than the girdles 16'' of anchor stones 24. The girdles 16'' of the anchor gemstones 24 are located above the girdle 16' of the touchstone 26. In this manner the gemstones are locked in place and the setting means is not visible between the touchstone 26 and the anchor gemstones 24.
 In one embodiment, a method for making the present jewelry apparatus comprises forming a base having a plurality of anchor cavities to each accept an anchor stone 24 and a center cavity configured to hold a touchstone 26 perpendicular with respect to the zenith of its cavity, where the center cavity is in the center of the anchor cavities, and where at least one of the anchor cavities is angled such that the table of the anchor stone is angled with respect to the table of the touchstone 26 when stones are inserted into the cavities. The present method then inserts the touchstone 26 into the corresponding cavity and inserts the anchor stones 24 into their respective cavities such that the lower girdle of each anchor stone 24 overlaps a portion of the upper girdle of the touchstone 26 and the table of the touchstone 26 is higher than the tables of the surrounding anchor stones 24. Thereafter, the present method secures the assembled gemstones about the perimeter of the anchor stones 24 with a plurality of perimeter prongs.
 While a specific method of setting the anchor gemstones 24 has been described above, it can be appreciated that any conventional method of setting the anchor gemstones 24 in the base and around the perimeter can be used without departing from the invention disclosed and claimed herein. It can also be appreciated that for anchor stones any perimeter setting means configured to accept a generally rounded circumference of anchor gemstones could be used.
 It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited except as may be necessary in view of the appended claims.
 Thus, there has been shown and described several embodiments of a jewelry apparatus which fulfills all of the objects and advantages sought therefore. As is evident from the foregoing description, certain aspects of the present invention are not limited by the particular details of the examples illustrated herein, and it is therefore contemplated that other modifications and applications, or equivalents thereof, will occur to those skilled in the art. Many changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications of the present invention will, however, become apparent to those skilled in the art after considering the specification and the accompanying drawings. All such changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications which do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention are deemed to be covered by the invention which is limited only by the claims which follow.
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