Hi, just wondering/ hoping someone can give me tips on a simple way
of retipping corner claws, like the ones you would see on a princess
Look forward to hearing
Hi Simone, I think it's a good thing you asked. There is a real risk
to retipping with solder on the point of a stone. People do it all
the time, but you risk damaging the stone during the soldering
process. If you do it, one of these times the stone will be damaged,
it's like Russian roulette. What seems to happen is that the solder
expands when molten and that applies pressure to the point and can
break it. Because of this most people will pull the stone, repair
the prong and then reset, or replace the head. Laser welders have
made retipping on points safer, but still not risk free.
Simone- They are called prongs. Claws are what my cats like to
sharpen on my work chair:-) Are they a single prong on each corner or
a v-caps? That makes a big difference on how you go about it.
Also be very wary when tipping pointed tip stones. If the tips are
not relieved when originally set the expansion and contraction of the
heated and cooling metal can break the tips right off.
Personally I don't like to tip any pointed tip stone unless I know
who set it. In most cases I just put in a new crown and re set the
Remember, if you break it, you bought it.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo - in the UK we call them claws. Prongs are what my garden fork
Thanks Mark, I agree taking the stone out and putting new 'v' corner
claws and resetting the stone is easiest, but still with risk. I
have probably retipped hundreds of marquise and princess cut stones
and to date have not broken one. I never let the solder near the
stone. It's just very fiddly placing the metal tips and was hoping
someone had a hint that would make my life easier
I'm sorry Simone, I didn't realize you were so experienced. That is
one of the downfalls of forums, that you don't really know the person
you're writing to. I owned a big trade shop most of my life, with
tons of retipping done by all. What was interesting about that was
that I have my own way of doing it, but I would hire experienced
goldsmiths who were trained elsewhere and they had different methods
than mine. I really loved that mix of techniques within the same
I'd say that the people who got the best results did a couple of
things. One is that they always premade the tips and never used just
solder. If they were round tips they would clip off little pieces of
wire, ball them up on a soldering block, then flatten the balls
slightly with a hammer on their bench block. They would make hundreds
of them and save them by karat and size. We would do the same thing
for v-prongs, take a wire, flatten the end a bit, bend it to match
your v-prong tip, hold the long end of the wire in your tweezers to
position it when soldering.
The other thing they did when working around points is to use very
high temperature solder to attach the tips. Something like 19K white
weld solder on white gold prongs. The thinking is that the high temp
solder is much slower to flow and so easier to control, while the
low temp solder can run all over the place even when you have good
torch control, risking flowing around the point. At least use hard
solder unless there is some very sensible reason to move down to
Of course you still need to keep the heat from your torch near the
tip, while heating up the prong enough to draw the solder to the
prong, your objective being that you want to attach the new tip but
not flow solder into the seat around the point.
One of those situations where you want to think good thoughts in
advance to get the positive energy working in your favor. ;)
It's good to make your tips slightly over-sized so you get a little
overhang over the prong. That way you avoid the little dip in the
seam between the new tip and the original prong. That dip needs to
be filed out or filled with new solder, and you don't want to solder
twice on points or thin out your new prong.
I imagine I'm not telling you anything you don't know, but hopefully
there was a little something useful in there.
Thanks Mark, it's always nice to reinforce that I'm doing similar to
others. I use my torch secured to the bench and take everything to
it, and find it very easy to direct heat away from the stone and to
the outside of the claw, there for the solder flows to the outside
of the claw. Yes, I do agree one does need to think good thoughts
when doing this, although just to clarify I wouldn't do this on a
larger stone under any circumstance.
Thanks for your input, the one thing I love about being a jeweller
is the way we can always bounce ideas off one another, and get
inspiration. It seems to be the same world wide.