I was just going to refinish and rhodium plate the three rings.
I suggested that I solder them all together.
I noticed that the thin band would be perfect to act as spacer/shim to fill the gap created by the base of heads holding the princess cut diamonds.
The marked area was cut out to create a flat surface for the diamond band to fit flush.
Here is the cut band fit into place, soldered and polished.
The beauty of this wedding set is the history of the parts but I didn’t learn of all the history and meaning and story behind these rings until after I completed the work.
I think it is awesome to keep and use sentimental jewelry. This has quite a progression. As she put it:
“…We upgraded to the larger center stone (when we could afford a bigger and nicer set than my original one). I kept the band from that set and I wore it with the the solitare for quite a few years.
When our first son passed away, hubby bought me one of the smaller stones in honor/remebrance of our little one we lost, and to remind me that I was as strong, unbreakable and beautiful as what the diamond represented. Once Peyton was born he bought me another stone in honor of him!
On our 10th anniversary we had the three diamonds all set into one ring. It symbolizes the family bond.
On our 15th anniversary he bought me the diamond band. I could never part with the thin band because that was what he placed on my finger when we said ‘I do ‘.”
Like the age rings of a growing tree, this wedding set shows the triumphs and tribulations of what life brings walking hand in hand with the ones you love.
The issue with this ring was that the halo was sharp and catching. The solution that we came up with was to add a wire frame to the halo. The stones would be more protected (a few missing) and the edge would be smooth.
We refinish rings to like new condition all the time. But I always love refinishing an engagement ring right before the wedding day. It is rewarding to make it look it’s best for that special day.
This classic platinum ring required some prong work and needed to be totally repolished for the big day. Instead of sanding out the light scratches and small dings, I used a tungsten burnisher to move and manipulate the malleable metal back into the dents. Much less material is removed. And the best part, the surface becomes harder when you work the surface with the burnisher, which makes it more scratch resistant.
We have had positive feedback of our repair/custom shop visible from the showroom. I have great response regarding this blog. We have found that people are genuinely curious and interested in what happens at the jeweler’s bench.
After watching some videos on sharpening my goldsmithing skills, I thought how cool it would be to have a bench monitor for our customers. My Mantis bench microscope, that I love, has an awesome big brother that is outfitted with a webcam. That would be nice to have, however, it is $2500, so that is not happening any time soon. My solution: I took an old laptop and dedicated it to a good webcam and ran a wire through the wall to a monitor in the showroom. The WebCam is aimed towards my bench pin and covers a pretty good viewing area of where all the action takes place. When jewelry is brought back to me for inspection, the customer can see how I am poking and prodding, checking for loose stones. They can watch me, from a close up perspective, tightening their stones. I can even press record and document the entire inspection including audio.
side notes: I do not have a live feed of the microphone to the show room. My singing would surely drive away customers.
Also found it frustrating that the Logitech C920 webcam software does not support a full screen view. I found free third party software to fit the bill.
24 karat gold is pure. (99.9%).
Jewelry is mainly alloyed to 18k (75.0%), 14k(58.5%) and 10k (41.7%).
In the Middle East and India you may see high karats like 21k. In Great Britain you may see 9k.
Jewelry can be stamped as karat or expressed as a percentage.
24k 999 (99.9%)
18k 750 (75.0%)
14k 585 (technically 58.3%. However the Italians made a “plumb” alloy promising at least 583. So now we have 585)
SIDE NOTE ON STERLING SILVER
Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. Sterling Silver is commonly stamped 925 (92.5%)
DIFFERENT WAYS TO PUT IT
If you had 12k gold, you would have half gold, half other metal. (12 is half of 24). 18 is 75% of 24. 14 karat gold is 14 parts gold 10 parts something else. 10k is 10/24ths gold. It is all relative to a number system of parts of 24.
MIXING METALS. ALLOYS.
14 karat gold, regardless of it’s color is about 58.3-58.5% gold. The remaining percentage, is other metals that change the color, melting temperature, hardness, malleability and other characteristics of gold. A typical yellow gold alloy today would consist of gold (58%), silver (25%) and copper (17%). In Europe, older pieces of jewelry often have a slight rosier color. Their “recipe” for 14 karat yellow gold had a slightly higher copper content and lower silver content then most modern alloys giving them a pinker hue. If you were alloy gold with aluminum, you would get a purple colored metal that is brittle.
[Photo from Meevis.com]
WHITE GOLD. AN OXYMORON.
Before World War II jewelers worked primarily in gold, silver and platinum.
But during the war, the US government declared platinum a strategic metal and banned it for civilian use. Copper was also needed for the war effort so the US mint used steel to coin the pennies in 1943.
So Jewelers, stuck without a durable white metal, alloyed gold with nickel to “bleach” out the golden yellow metal.
That alloy does have a nice white appearance, however, it is not ideal to work with. It takes the whiteness of nickel but also takes the hardness of nickel, reducing the workability of the metal. Today’s typical white gold alloy still contains nickel, but just a lower percentage.
The common white gold alloy today has better malleability, a lower melting temperature for improved casting and is much softer then the high nickel alloy. However, as a draw back, the modern mixture is not very white. White gold jewelry today is often rhodium plated to brighten it up. Rhodium is in the platinum family of metals. Rhodium plating is fairly durable. Jewelry can be refinished and replated with rhodium to freshen it up.
Here at Atlas jewelers, we do our own casting. We chose a nickel/palladium white gold alloy that is white enough to not need rhodium plating. It is a bit harder to set stones, has a slight higher melting temperature and costs a little bit more, but the results for the wearer is superior.
This method takes a little bit longer, however, the results are much better then just sanding out blips. Another bonus is that burnishing the ring “work” tempers (hardens) the metal so it scratches less for the customer.
On our custom pieces, after casting, we beat the surface with the burnishers to harden them. Especially the shanks of rings. This works great on sterling silver. Burnishing with the bent burr also can get rid of porosity.
This would be a tough to repair the channel with the torch. Tanzanite does not handle heat. And it is not a very tough stone as far as setting. Any contact with a metal tool and it will chip the surface.
I protected the stone with watch makers putty to absorb any stray laser beam or reflection and repaired the channel with the stone in place. I built up the missing channel by slowly melting 30 gauge gold wire with repeated laser shots. Probably did about 300 hits. The ring really looked good after burnishing the shank and sanding and polished the ring.
This wedding set got a total freshing up. The marquise head was in bad shape and the channels were quite worn. I started by separating the two rings and removed the old marquise head. I laser welded on a new channel wire for the side diamonds.
One side redone.
With a new peg for the center stone and a few prongs retipped on the ring guard, a repolish/refinish and this ring looks brand new.