Boo Hoo

Everything that I’ve read here didn’t help me last night: as I
watched my beautiful little bezel set cab aquamarine melt onto my
locking tweezer while I tried in vain to solder a jump ring on to
it. The horror on my instructor’s face was wondrous. All under the
sickly rays of a hundred fluorescent lights while my poor carpal
tunnel riddled paws throbbed.

   it. The horror on my instructor's face was wondrous. 

Hi Judy;

What an image. Thanks for sharing that. I’m sorry too that you had
such an unfortunate happenstance. My question is, how did this
person ever get a position as an instructor? Were they actually
watching while you set yourself up for this? Shame on them. Perhaps
they can explain themselves to me off forum, and I can help put them
in touch with ways and places to improve their teaching (and
metalsmithing) skills. I’ll respect their anonimity. By the way,
what melted, the bezel, the jump ring, or the aquamarine? (you
veterans see where this is going?)

David L. Huffman

Hello Judy:

Everything that I've read here didn't help me last night: as I
watched my beautiful little bezel set cab aquamarine melt onto my
locking tweezer while I tried in vain to solder a jump ring on to it.

Are you saying that you put the torch to a set aquamarine? Ruby and
Sapphire (not star) and Diamond (not fracture filled) are the only
stones you should ever feel safe heating. I might not fully
understand what you mean and if I’m wrong please excuse me. Michael R.
Mathews Sr.

Judy, Ahh, but just think what you have learned. I find you have to
build things twice to get them right. Do not despair, my secret box
of failures is joy to show, especially to my Soldering 101 workshop
students. Soldering is an art-form unto itself. It takes practice,
practice, practice. Do not despair, try again. -karen

Judy take heart and take detailed notes, your discovery of how to
melt aquamarine with a torch will surely bring relief for you carpal
tunnel riddled paws in the form of a juicy patent for something no
one else has discovered how to do. Make molds and melt your
aquamarine into them and you will be able to put all those gem
carvers, cabbers and faceters out there out of business with your new
discovery. I am surprised that your instructor did not see the
potential in your accident perhaps the hundred fluorescent lights
were blinding his/hers vision of the future for your discovery.

Doug Frey

1 Like
By the way, what melted, the bezel, the jump ring, or the
aquamarine? (you veterans see where this is going?) 

I may be light years away yet from becoming a veteran, but “get it”,
I think??.. Assuming the meltee was the aquamarine, some questions
then follow. What color was the aquamarine once melted? Was it
charred at all? Did you just point your flame at it continuously? And
what torch were you using? Was the metal mixed in with it too?

Simply filled with curiosity! Carol

Everything that I've read here didn't help me last night: as I
watched my beautiful little bezel set cab aquamarine melt onto my
locking tweezer while I tried in vain to solder a jump ring on to 

My condolences on your bezel. :confused:

To offer some belated help, though, if you’re heating your metal to
the point of getting that ‘near-melt’ shimmer and the thing still
won’t solder (and heating to that point isn’t good unless you’re
trying for reticulation!), more heat is not the answer; there’s
probably something contaminating either the jump ring or the bezel or
both, and they need to be pickled and cleaned thoroughly and tried

–M. Osedo

I think we can safely assume that when you say that it melted, you
were referring to the metal! However, for those people who asked
about what ultimately happens to aquamarine when you heat it, read

Aquamarine shouldn’t really be soldered in-place. It can fade or
change colour at temperatures as low as about 600 degrees centigrade.
It isn’t possible to ‘melt’ aquamarine, but this is just because it
decomposes into a different mineral. You will need a temperature of
well over a thousand degrees: firstly the beryl begins to decompose
and it turns opaque (looking like porcelain), then ultimately it
bubbles and turns into a type of liquid glass. However, once it
decomposes, there’s no way to turn it back into aquamarine - so,
unfortunately, you can’t cast it!

If it was the stone itself that melted, then it must have been a
fake, like plastic, glass or possibly a synthetic.


To all you nice folks who thought to respond to my melted bezel
dilemma. Now that it’s Monday morning here in lovely Niagara Falls,
Ontario (ha ha) and my head is finally clear…The sun is finally
shining and although it doesn’t feel like June yet, I think we might
be finally through the monsoon season. To be clearer: I didn’t melt
the aquamarine. I melted the bezel. The bezel was actually perfect;
an oval with a window carefully sawn in the back for the light to
come through. The project was “A Matched Pair”. I still have the
other bezel. Just now I don’t have a matched pair. I am sure I can
construct another bezel fairly easily, I just need a little more
time which I am afraid, at this point in the course, is difficult to
come by. So instead of using the bezel set aquas in this project, I
thought I would use 2 domes and some wire and some seed pearls or
some other? to complete the project which I hope will result in a
pair of earings. The problem is I have some sort of “block”. I sit
and stare and can’t think what to do with these simple objects.
There’s an infinite number of possibilities but I’m finding it all
overwhelming because of the time factor (4 more classes, a total of
about 16 hours left) My " real job " is constantly infringing on my
jewelery time. Thanks, Judy

Thank you Studio Cute… Actually, it happened rather quickly. When
we started this course in November we switched to another studio
which was used by some of the full time day students. My torch is
much more powerful than the last one I used. I have done no
soldering to this point on the new torch so I was kind of unprepared
for its power. Plus I’ve been putting in extra long hours so I was
tired…it was just really unfortunate. Not to mention we have 23
students in the class: far far far too many for the instructor to
watch over everyone. The pieces were clean and well-pickled, I am
particular about that. I’m just a neophyte when it comes to soldering
very small pieces.

Hi Dave… Just getting back to the emails today. So busy. So busy.
You know, I’m afraid that she might peruse this website and see this
little vignette. I don’t think she’s aware of the Orchid site but if
she was and she saw this anecdote, she would know that of all the
hundreds and hundreds of jewellery students across North America, I
would be the one. Not that many people are currently bezel setting
cabochon aquamarines, I’m sure. Anyways after all the reiterations of
this story, basically it amounts to just inattention and fatigue led
to the calamity. Our class is too big, to be sure. But I should have
known better. I am pretty good at soldering for a real novice, I
just wasn’t thinking when I applied that big huge flame. So I really
have no one to blame but myself. And I’m not really grieving over
the loss of the bezel, I’m just annoyed at the loss of time. Another
subscriber was talking about the PrestoLite torch, and I’m really
going to investigate it. Because if I have a torch to work with at
home, I could solder and play into the wee hours of the night and
make up for lost time and eliminate the time pressure.
And thanks for responding.

I did not know that it is possible to solder certain stones in
place. With which sort of stones can this be done? What is the
advantage of this technique? Could someone please explain this a bit
more? What happens when a stone gets soldered in place? Does it get
’melted’ in the bezel?? Thank you. Best, Will

Just a note of experience. I have, once it a while, risked heating a
small or cheaper aquamarine wit no ill effects. I have never quenched
one and am sure that this would bring on disaster immediately. Note
that I would not test this on a larger or higher quality stone, but I
would suspect that anyone that was setting their aquamarine in silver
would be using one of the cheaper versions of aquamarine and would be
risking little. As to it’s fading, I haven’t seen this happen, but I
have only heated stones that were somewhat washed out anyway. I know
that heat treatments are common for aqua to remove undesireable
yellow tints.

In my SQHO, aquamarine is a little tuffer than it normally receives
credit for.