Downsizing ring with shared prong melee

So I have sized all sorts of rings in my career, but the newer bands set shared prong diamonds are giving me all sorts of problems when I down size them. As in the melee loosing and falling out. Since I work in a shop that offers “while U wait” repairs, this can be a bit of a nuisance to put it mildly. “Hang on, almost done, just gotta fish Mr.s Smith’s canhardlys out of the ultrasonic!” Any suggestions?

You gotta be kidding me. First thing, this isn’t putting on some new heels on a pair of shoes. You can be working on a piece of jewelry worth several thousand dollars or more “While-U-Wait”? Why would any sane person do this. The risk of anything going wrong is on the craftsman. the situation you are describing is impossible. You have to go over the entire ring and tighten individually. If the ring has to go down more than a size, I won’t do it, the seats of the stones are stretched too much and eventually, you are going to get a comeback. I recommend creating a liner in that case. And not while you wait!

Actually, thank you. I’ve been trying to explain to my co-workers that some jobs should NOT be done quickly. I am more than happy to do things like chain solders and simple sizing jobs,but please,if you want good results and happy customers, some things need to be left so I can do them properly. And sometimes you just have to say “sorry, no.”

It’s a real problem. So many pieces come straight from the manufacture poorly set with not enough metal securing the stones. A bench scope really helps with this. You have to check and tighten them all before, during and after sizing. It’s a huge pain but you don’t lose any that way.

The occasional rush job done while they wait is unavoidable. But having while you wait as a business model is only going to hurt your business in the long run. For a few reasons. One is that your bench people will be much less productive because they are never able to build momentum in their work by grouping similar tasks of all the jobs that need doing that day. Second you’re going to disappoint the customer, as you’ve experienced, things often go wrong. So the customer has to wait longer and becomes aggravated. Plus the quality is less than it should be because the the only goal is to do it fast not well. If the place you work is set on the while you wait model you might think about looking for a new job?

I’m sympathetic that with those lost melee. Sometimes simple sizings turn out to be time consuming projects. All I know to do is tighten as you go. A laser welder is also a big help so you can do a few quick tips where prongs are missing on that junk.

Good luck!

Use the Geller book for pricing. The more stones the ring has the higher the price is so you are covered for those inevitable hassles and you should be charging a rush fee for while you wait.

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I once worked as a setter for an extremely fast-paced company. On a mid-afternoon Friday I was told to quickly remove a customers 1.50 carat Princess stone.
I first examined the stone under the four claws. Resets can be a definite problem. I had a ‘gut-feeling’ something is 100% wrong!
I’ve learned to listen to my ‘gut-feelings’ in accepting expensive work-projects.
The owner asked why I’m taking so long? I replied “Under one claw the diamond is broken and I’m not touching it” The owner couldn’t find the break, until I told him where it was! The break was very small & under and inside one “Vee” shaped claw, it was quite hard to find.
BTW, the costs would have been expensive, why? These are the reasons, repolishing/repairing the diamond, paying for the difference of loss of diamond weight, getting the stone re-appraised. If the customer wouldn’t accept it, another stone would have to be bought. All of this money saved, just on a “gut feeling”.
To continue further, the shop-owner had to call the store about the problem and the store had to call the customer!
Everyone in the shop celebrated when the ring was finally sent out!
What happened was that the original ‘setter’ broke the stone and didn’t say a word!.;(
If I took out the stone or even attempting to with any tool marks, automatically it’s my fault!!
I saved myself and the shop mega-dollars!
Being a Diamond Setter can be an ongoing ‘fun time’ at the bench.
Regards to everyone!
I’m Gerry, On my iPhone!

A bench jeweler has little control over store policy if they are employees. If you work for an operation that offers While You Wait repairs, that is who you work for.

Having said that, as a professional craftsperson you should have the power and the right to set limits on exactly what gets “while you wait”, and what needs to be handled differently.
As Jerry has suggested, it is not just what you can do at the bench, but your professional assesment, instincts and ability to spot and avoid problems that are the mark of a good bench jeweler.

See if the shop is responsive to the concept of a multiple tracking system, where more complicated, difficult or dangerous repairs are given a longer turn around time, as well as a price that reflects the degree of difficulty. There can be more profit to your employer with this system, if done correctly.

I too hate the current wave of lightweight, shared prong, practically not-set jewelry, that starts to shed stones like dandruff if you even touch them, but doing repairs for multiple retail jewelers they are a fact of life. Examine them closely, to spot the problems, discuss the issues before you begin work, and try to get the shop to price and time the problem work to make the shop a profit when you do have to take more time to check, to tighten, to reset, or reprong a POS.

As mentioned elsewhere above, a bench microscope, and a laser will go a long ways toward avoiding and, or solving problems with the type of jewelry being discussed here.

I try to bend evenly as I can all around the ring and then tighten as you go. Then obviously give a good check before you give it out. One thing I created is a smaller vice grip with the teeth ground off and leather in the jaws. You can actually compress the ring down with very controlled pressure. I can put up a pic if you want. I also made a pliers I can put beading tips into to precisely push down beads.
The only thing I’ll say about rush jobs is we charge 50% extra if they want that and they need to be somewhat clean or we say come back tomorrow. Tomorrow is still a rush price.

Yes please. I’d like to see pics of both pliers Shannon.

I tighten every one of those before I bend to size, this helps a little. I
squeeze the prongs on the diamonds…dont we love halos and 1/2 pt

When channel set wedding bands were all the rage we were forever having to fight stones falling out during a size down. Then there was the issue of the stones hitting and chipping each other on sizing up. We learned to leave the shanks oval. We would explain this to the customers before undertaking a job.
Even without sizing shared prong settings on light weight ring worn every will eventually fail.
So I recommend that clients should be informed that any sizing will have to be priced higher for the extra time and grief. We all might as well make money if we’re gonna be miserable.

I would love to see a photo of those pliers!

I’ll get pics
Here are some pics of my pliers for bending and pushing beads back down. I ground of the sharp teeth on the little vice grip and put leather on the jaws. You can use these vice grip to increase your hand strength and control when that cam mechanism is adjusted to where you can squeeze it comfortably. My favorite new setting pliers is a modified five grip also. I’ll put up a pic of that next. SD

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Of course that last one is just your basic bow closing pliers/ ring bending but with leather.
Here is the setting pliers and I also use it for sawing stock and filing cause it locks and saves your hands from fatigue.


How do you fasten the beading tool tip in the pliers?
Thanks for sharing!

That little disk magnet on the back of the pliers holds it in.
The beginning of that one is a cheap long nose pliers from harbor freight or similar junk store. Doesn’t have to be good quality cause you’re wrecking it, I mean, improving it anyway.

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Very clever!

I see that I was not the only one to spot those cheap, tiny Harbor Frieght, “vise grip” pliers, and see the potential for the bench, with a little bit of alteration.
I have altered them for setting, and even for closing rings.
After a few years you can end up with quite an assortment of tools you have customized, like the prong closing pliers below that I redesigned to close prongs on the difficult to hold, Martini style earring.


I have to think about the pliers, adapted to hold beading tools. Hmmmm… Another interesting idea.

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