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Colored Stone Rapir Challenges

Hi all!

Colored Stone magazine has asked me to do an article about repair
problems when working with colored stones. I know about a lot of the
biggest ones: emerald’s sensitivity to heat, or opal’s tendency to
break in prong settings, for example. But I’d like to delve beyond
the basics and offer Colored Stone’s readers not just the usual
warnings, but some do’s and don’ts for a variety of And
that’s why I’m turning to you guys.

What are the repair jobs that you dread seeing come across your
bench? The one that you just know are going to be trouble? What
styles do you see retailers selling that you know are going to be
back on your bench in no time? And what repairs are difficult, but
not impossible, if you have the right equipment and skill? If you do
custom designs for retailers, what do they need to realize about the
stones they select that might limit the designs you can technically

In short, what would you most like to tell retailers about repairing
jewelry set with colored stones, so that they can do a better job
selling those stones - and leaving customers happy with their
purchases as the years go by?

Please keep in mind that the article will focus on colored stones
exclusively. Although I know there are plenty of challenges in other
areas as well, for this article I’m looking for your color horror
stories, and stories of repair triumphs!

You may either respond to the list, or to me directly at

Thanks in advance for your help!
Suzanne Wade
Phone: (508) 339-7366
Fax: (928) 563-8255


Not a repair story but a colored stone story non the less. I
recently made a white gold mounting for another jeweler for a
customers large 10 ct peridot. From the looks of the stone a very
fine piece of material. Just using my hood and reading glasses for
magnification I proceeded to cut the wax and cast the mounting.
Since it came from another jeweler I never thought to question the
stone. It came time to set the stone. I had been a little
apprehensive about the setting as the prongs were very heavy white
gold, so I kept putting the job off until it just felt right. Not an
uncommon occurrence with me. Large expensive stones require a great
deal of concentration and focus to set them properly and keep the
stress level manageable. Anyway I got the setting clamped in the
ring holder and the the microscope set up and started in to work. As
I was moving the stone about for the best possible fit to the
mounting I noticed a very small and unusual chip in the girdle. Not
visible without 10 power magnification. It was an unusual chip in
that it was polished all the way to the bottom of the cavity. How
the hell did they polish down in the chip was my very first thought.
As I continued to work with the stone I noticed a line of what
looked like super glue or a string of very fine wax on the surface
of the pavilion facet… took a closer look using a scalpel … very
strange. I then cranked up the magnification on the microscope and
Surprise! Surprise! OPT ICON… Filled inclusions throughout the
stone as well as scratches that had been filled. I had never seen
this before. I thank my lucky stars I saw it before I put the
mounting in the ultrasonic or the steamer…a very fine trap, very
well laid and baited for the casual and unsuspecting jeweler…
Lesson learned. Loop the stone when it comes in and put it under the
microscope if there is even a hint of something wrong. I was not the
only one fooled by this stone as I had shown it to a couple of
other jewelers… Retailers beware of stones that unsuspecting
customers have bought from foreign markets. There are a lot of
unscrupulous people out there taking advantage of the general public
and loop all large stones regardless of the source. Better safe than
sorry. Frank (thank god I do settings under a microscope) Goss


Some retailers feel that, in order to be competitive these days,

they must always sell at the lowest possible price. Even fine stores,
and manufacturers, can fall into this trap. At a certain point, the
pieces become structurally too weak to hold together. The customer
who confidently bought a ring at a low price will not be too happy
later when stones fall out. A well made piece is always easier to
repair than a poorly made piece, and the cost of customer service
that the retailer will bear just doesn’t equal the up-front savings.

When I design a piece, I always consider how I will be able to repair
it, should it become damaged. Since most colored stones must be
removed for repairs, I have gone so far as to lock expensive, but
valuable, gemstones into the mounting with invisible screws, often
hidden behind small stones. I can remove the tiny stone, loosen the
screws to remove the gemstone, and work on the piece without worry.

Douglas Zaruba
Zaruba & Co.
35 N. Market St.
Frederick, MD 21701
301 695-4556

" I thank my lucky stars I saw it before I put the mounting in the
ultrasonic or the steamer.....a very fine trap, very well laid and
baited for the casual and unsuspecting jeweler..." 

You’re certainly right about that! Had you put it in the ultrasonic
and then steamed it, it would very likely been ruined anyhow, since
peridot should neither be subjected to heat nor harsh cleaners.
I’m not sure how much of either you can getaway with, if any, but
learned that the hard way and don’t feel up to further
experimentation. :frowning:

Jerry in Kodiak
( where winter just arrived with 50 kt. winds and snow)