When I refinish a ring, instead of sanding out dents, scratches and dings, I use a number of burnishing burs to move and push the metal into the dings. (See picture below)
At this point, the surface is fairly smooth. It takes very little sanding to make it flat. I love to use rubber abrasives instead of sanding discs.
If money is tight and you don’t want to spend the $25-35 for the tungsten burnishers you can make one using a used burr. Heat it up to anneal it. I bend it while I am torching it.
For polishing, my number one bench jeweler tip is using a used sanding disc on the mandrel upside-down and charge it with tripoli. You can get into tight places and keep a crisp, flat surface.
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.
When I started in this business I was blessed to apprentice under three reputable brothers. I learned the trade from each of the siblings, each with their expertise in gold smithing. They did not cut corners and took pride in their work. It was not until years later when I saw another side of the business. Like in all vocations there are bad apples. (A very small minority) We have all heard the horror stories. But I am not opening up that can of worms.
A minor offense is using low karat to repair chain and soldering in heads. The lower melting temperature makes it an easier repair. It makes you feel like a super repairman. The down side is that the soldered area tends to tarnish. It is also a less expensive solder. It does not seem like a good place to cut corners. But we see it from time to time.
Here is a peg head soldered in place with low karat solder. This darkness at the base will repeatedly come back even after repeated polishing.
If low karat solder was used on a repair or assembly there are two remedies. The first option is less likely to help. Hopefully, the tarnished area can be sanded and polished where just a small seam might retarnish.
Most likely the area that is contaminated will have to be removed or the surface area where the low karat solder is on will need to be sanded and polished to remove all of the bad solder. On a chain the darkened area will have to be cut out and reassembled. In the case of a head, the head will need to be removed and the area sanded to remove any of the old solder on the surface and then have a new head installed. (Most likely you will not be able to remove all the old solder from the head.)
Most of the outer prongs holding in the diamonds were very worn.
The channel for the bagguttes also needed attention.
The 4 prongs holding in the emerald were thin and worn.
I removed the emerald and completely removed the center prongs so I could work on the retipping the diamonds with out fear of damaging the center stone.
The picture above shows all the rebuilt prongs, repaired channel and 4 new wires welded in for the center stone.
As you can see, the prongs are all beefy and the ring looks like new.
This is another great repair for the laser welder. This platinum ring was missing a stone because 2 of the 4 beads holding it in were gone. Platinum has such a high working melting temperature it can be a problem re-tipping stones. You can damage a diamond torching a ring to repair temperatures. Most jewelers use a white gold solder to do those type of repairs.
The laser welder allows you melt metal right were you need it. Working with a .3mm beam, I hit just the tiny bead with a few shots and build it up some with platinum wire. Then I opened the beam to .45mm then .6mm to soften and round the new bead.