concept of dead setting I always was told meant the setter
could coax the metal ( prong ) dead against the stone . Flush ,
that is to say..absolutely no space underneath the prong.
Not quite, though certainly this is easier with platinum than
with other metals. The term dead means a lack of elasticity or
springiness, so that when you bend platinum, it stays where you
bent it, without springing back. Thus prongs bent toward a stone
stay tight, without springing away from the stone when you
release the pressure. If you’ve started with a properly cut
seat for the stone, and tighten the prongs correctly, and finish
them aff correctly, you can indeed get them set very close to the
stone with greater ease than with other metals.
As to annealing platinum, it’s somewhat similar to annealing
gold and silver except that you need higher temps. A bright
orange is ideal. White hot is too much, as the metal will start
to get coarser crystals (and with platinum’s already coarse
crystal structure, you don’t need that…) Also, unlike gold
and silver, annealing is not instantaneous. You need to let it
"soak" at that bright orange temp for a while. How long depends
on the thickness of the metal. for 1 mm thick sheet, a good 20
seconds is probably about right. Thin wire will be much less.
Remember when annealing: The metal should be clean first. This
means remove the oil and/or steel residues from rolling mills, be
sure there is no oil or fingerprints or gold/silver filings or
residues on the metal.
the easiest way to affect the above is simply to quickly dip the
metal in your ultrasonic (or traditional boil out solution) and
then steam it off if you’ve got a steam cleaner.
When holding the metal, use carbide or tungston tipped tweezers.
Steel can be used, but will leave a dark stain that MUST be
sanded off before heating to higher temps such as soldering
Just as with soldering, use a sharp oxidizing flame, and don’t
put the hot metal on a charcoal block, or other contaminated
Quenching from a lower, red heat, is just fine. Usually water,
not pickle, to avoid spattering.
hope this helps.