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Cameo unsetting

Hi all, Can anybody tell me the best way to remove a cameo from an
earring setting ? A customer has left in a single cameo earring,
having lost it’s companion and wants it to be made into a ring. The
earring is oval, with a 10x7 cameo in a rub over setting with a
millgrain edge, the bezel height ranges from 1.4mm to 2.2mm .
Obviously I can’t solder a shank to the earring with the shell in
place, so if anyone has had a job like this before can you tell me
how you did it.

Thanking you all in advance,
Neil KilBane,

Hello Neil,

 Hi all, Can anybody tell me the best way to remove a cameo from
an earring setting ? 

Unless you can convince your client to convert the earring to a
pendant (so that you can simply modify the existing finding), I
think you will have to carefully cut away the existing setting, and
most likely destroy it. Ask her to consider that alternative. It
should be much less expensive. You describe the bezel as "rub over"
so that means to me it’s so tight that you don’t want to risk prying
the bezel edge away. I’d start by sawing or drilling at a 45 degree
angle through the bezel edge on the back of the mounting first.
That’s the most likely place for a void (hopefully there is no
adhesive). If you inadvertently touch the shell, damage will be
slight and it won’t show in the final mounting. Once you’ve gotten
through and can better see what is inside, carefully extend the hole
by sawing up the side of the bezel. That should loosen the cameo a
bit, making it easier to saw or cut through the bezel on the
opposite side if necessary. After that, the cameo should be easily
removed unless it was glued in place. Your fee should reflect the
risk you take in removing the cameo. The best of luck. Let us know
how it turns out. Judy in Kansas

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
B.A.E. 237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhatttan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936 FAX (785) 532-6944

The safest way might be to cut off and file down old findings, then
laser weld the new shank to the cameo frame (IF it is thick enough.)
You might also want to make sure that it is karat gold, and not gold
filled or gold plated. In the USA, we frequently see cameos which
are not set in solid gold. I assume you can find a trade shop in
Ireland to laser weld a shank which you fabricate. David Barzilay, Lord of the Rings

Hello Neil: Not having seen this ear ring I can only guess on this
one. Is the bezel in good enough shape that it can or should be
reused? If so make a cut all the way through the bezel from top to
bottom tiring to be careful as not to nick the cameo. Pry the bezel
open enough to free the cameo. With the cameo removed clean and
solder the bezel back together were you cut it. Using a burnisher or
the like run it around on the inside of the bezel to bend the metal
back up straight like it was a new bezel. Solder on your shank and
then set your cameo. Michael R. Mathews Sr. Victoria,Texas USA

     I assume you can find a trade shop in  Ireland to laser weld
a shank which you fabricate. 

Thanks for the tip David, but I doubt if there is a laser welder
being used by any jeweller in the country, if anybody knows of one
though would they please let me know.

Neil KilBane,

     Hi all, Can anybody tell me the best way to remove a cameo
from an earring setting ? 

After some years of lifting bezel edges from shell cameos with a
knife, I have found that most shell cameos may be pushed out from the
back with little effort.

Bruce D. Holmgrain
JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler

here’s a tip for unsetting soft things like your cameo. Thumbnails
are just great! I use my thumbnail whenever I need to unset a bezel
and will try that first with a prong. It’s hell on the nails, if you
care about that stuff, but you’ll never scratch the materials!
Marianne Hunter

For those of us who have little to no nails left after our days in
the workshop (or for those who care about such things), consider
taking one of those fake acrylic nails and mounting it into a file
handle. Works like a charm and is cheap to replace as needed. Plus,
there are different sizes and shapes available and they can be
emeryed to fit just about any need.

Have fun,
Karen Goeller
Hand-crafted artisan jewelry