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Gemstones for Antique Platinum Filigree ring


#1

Everyone,

I am hobby metalsmith which is how I came to discover Ganoksin. I
really enjoy the interaction between the people in the trade and the
wealth of knowledge exchanged.

I have a situation which I hope to get some good feedback on. I am
recently engaged (yay!) and my fiance gave me a gorgeous antique
hand-fabricated platinum filigree ring set with a 7mm x 5mm (1ct)
oval peridot.

I love the ring and have been enchanted by the bottle green color of
the peridot. Unfortunately the stone isn’t in the best condition, it
has been scratched and I was told it might not have been
well-faceted in the first place, which is why it doesn’t show off
the crystal of the stone to its advantage-it appears somewhat dark
against my finger. (I compared this with a similar but newly cut
quality peridot, which appears very brilliant with wonderful color)

However I am more than happy with the ring and would have been
satisfied with the notion we would one day replace the stone.The
problem is I need to have the ring resized right now to fit me, and
when I recently consulted a reputable local jeweler (I am in
Atlanta, GA) I was told that since peridot is heat-sensitive, the
stone would have to be unset to get my ring resized. This caused a
domino effect-the prongs, due to the age of the ring have been
slightly worn down and might not survive the resetting of the stone
after resizing. Which means if I was going to resize the ring, I’d
need to re-tip the prongs, which got me thinking if its best we
invest in a new gemstone right now if we were going to do it all. It
doesn’t seem very wise for me to spend 200 dollars to resize and
retip only to reset the scratched peridot. Or is it?

So my first dilemma has been that I haven’t been able to talk or
consult with anybody firsthand who cuts and sells gemstones who can
give me a better idea of what my options are. Everything I have
heard on gemstones so far has been secondhand (jewelers/antique
dealers having their own gemstone dealers who I’ll never meet) and
being in the trade myself, I prefer to talk to the gemstone
dealer/cutter themselves, and of course prices would be tighter. I
am considering another peridot because I love the color but i
understand it’s a relatively soft stone for a ring, I’ve been
reading up about Chrome tourmalines and tsavorite garnets and have
come to prefer natural untreated vividly colored And so
on!

So the long and short of it, my question to everyone is:

  1. Am I wise in investing in a gemstone now, and if I am, is anyone
    willing to give me an honest idea of the gemstones they have and
    what would suit me (I’m in Atlanta, Ga)

  2. Should we just spend the money ($200) to resize and re-tip and
    reset the old stone and wait till we find something I like and spend
    more money resetting it then. Is there any other way around this
    that we haven’t thought of that makes more sense?

Thanks so much!
-AT


#2
I love the color but i understand it's a relatively soft stone for
a ring, I've been reading up about Chrome tourmalines and tsavorite
garnets and have come to prefer natural untreated vividly colored
gemstones 

You are correct about peridot. It is not suitable for rings. Chrome
tourmaline and tsavorite are better, but not by much. If you wear
ring occasionally it may be fine, but for everyday wear I would not
recommend it.

The good news is that 7 X 5 stone is about 1 ct. so you are not
going to be hit by price escalation. Consider blue-green sapphire. It
is not the grassy green, but some of them are quit attractive.
Sapphire is very durable and excellent choice for the ring. If you
insist on forest green, investigate heliodor and chrysoberyl. These
gems are usually yellow but can be found in colour matching peridot.
As the last resort, a hydro-thermal lab grown emerald would be a
good choice as well.

Leonid Surpin


#3
Am I wise in investing in a gemstone now, and if I am, is anyone
willing to give me an honest idea of the gemstones they have and
what would suit me (I'm in Atlanta, Ga) 

Yes. There are lots of honest jewelers. Peridot is not so expensive.

There are some terrific books for lay people on buying colored
stones. None of them came up on amazon or I’d tell you the titles,
but they should have them at Borders. If you learn more, perhaps that
will give you more confidence as a shopper.

Should we just spend the money ($200) to resize and re-tip and
reset the old stone and wait till we find something I like and
spend more money resetting it then. Is there any other way around
this that we haven't thought of that makes more sense? 

No.

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#4

Amy, I would recommend a green sapphire to replace the peridot, and
the ring means something to your fiance- so I would consider having
it re-worked. Platinum is the most durable of the noble metals, and
the ring would continue to be an heirloom.

In the gemstone world- you get what you pay for, if your looking for
cheap- you will find it. I would contact John Heading at
www.cobblestonegems.com for your sapphire, and faceting. He’s top of
the line, and owns the mine. But he’s not cheap - I would expect to
pay up to a couple hundred for his stones and services.

Best of luck to you…Jim


#5

Amy,

If in fact this is an original hand-fabricated platinum filigree
ring from the early 20th cent my suggestion would be to try and
salvage the original gemstone.

Why not speak with a lapidary to see if this peridot can be
repolished and still fit the ring. This would be more economical than
replacing the stone in many cases and the ring would remain original.

The only gemstones that will hold up to everyday where and tear that
an engagement ring does will be a Diamond with Ruby and Sapphires the
next best thing but my suggestion is to try and keep the ring
original.

Greg DeMark
www.demarkjewelry.com


#6

Amy,

Platinum is a poor conductor of heat. Unless this ring is unusually
heavy, it can be welded in the jeweler’s fingers, while the stone is
submerged in water or laser welded. There is probably no reason to
unset the stone.


#7
Am I wise in investing in a gemstone now, and if I am, is anyone
willing to give me an honest idea of the gemstones 

Amy, I imagine you’ll get a LOT of replies here. I’ll say a couple
of things: peridot is the worst possible stone you could have for an
engagement ring, in terms of durability and properties. There’s an
excellent chance that your stone won’t even survive the recut/reset
process. It’s really not that far away from what would happen with a
piece of blackboard chalk - it’s not very much harder, and it’s not
very much sturdier. Setters hate it for those reasons. Which stone
to put is a bigger issue that I won’t get into - your preference,
your budget, all that.

Do it now, if you can afford to. Then it will be YOUR engagement
ring, not 1/2 of one, and you can get on with life. You’re going to
have other things on your mind. Likely you can get the whole package
done for a bit cheaper than if you make two trips, too. BTW, I could
easily size it without removing the stone - that’s a curious
statement, there…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#8

Hi AT,

Congratulations on your engagement, I can imagine how excited you
must be. I bet your left hand has never been so much in the limelight
if my own engagement was anything to go by!

A good quality peridot is goreous if you like the citrus to olive
colour. I have bought inexpensive peridot gems but I’ve also bought
and set a trillion cut lab certified peridot of higher value and it
is an absolutely gorgeous, intoxicating stone. As for other green
gems, the Tsavorite you mention is a beautiful and rare gem and
definitely worth considering. Also you might consider a demantoid
garnet which has a beautiful green colour and more “fire” (or
dispersion) than a diamond. The stones with a lighter body colour
have higher dispersion whereas the deeper green ones have less - it
depends what you prefer, colour or fire. They are considered a clean
stone as far as clarity is concerned but can have “horsetail”,
feathery natural inclusions under magnification.

As far as the Moh’s scale is concerned, all the stones mentioned
including the demantoid garnet have a similar hardness rating in the
range of 6.5-7.5. If I were you I would enjoy the experience of
pricing up all the gem types you like in the size/carat weight
you’re talking about and take your time making such an important and
significant decision. Maybe some of the lapidaries on this list will
offer up some advice for you. As your peridot will have a great deal
of sentimental attachment for you because your fiance chose it for
you, you may consider having it mounted in a pendant (or mounting it
yourself of course), where it will get less wear and tear than in a
ring.

As for whether to change the stone now, I’m also in two minds. My
first instinct was yes to get the stone changed at the same time
because of the age of the ring and chance that the prongs need some
attention. But then again, if you do that, you may have more limited
funds to buy a replacement stone due to having to pay for resizing
and retipping, etc. I’d price up some stones anyway and it may well
be that you’ll be able to afford it all in one go. Sorry not much
help on that score.

Helen
UK


#9

Hi Amy,

Seeing as you will already have the stone out of the ring you might
as well get it replaced, all it should cost you over the base cost of
the job already under way is the cost of the new stone. I’d go with
either the Tourmaline (Verdite or chrome are the green varieties) or
green garnet (either Tsavorite (chrome green) or Uvarite (emerald
green)) as they have similar hardness and both are considerably
harder than peridot.

BTW Congrats on your engagement.

Thomas.


#10

Hi AT,

A green stone (especially peridot) in an antique platinum ring
requires more love, care, respect and expertise than just about
anything else in the jewelry world.

Find a jeweler that has a laser. A jeweler that tells you that
sizing your ring requires the stone to be unset because of it’s heat
sensitivity does not have the modern equipment (laser welder) or
expertise to do the job properly. I would recommend that you find
someone specializing in platinum and antique restoration. If someone
of lesser experience tries to “retip” your ring they can do far more
harm than good. Make sure that all repair work will be done with
platinum, and not with white gold or white gold solder. White gold in
any form can cause serious, nearly irreparable damage to your
platinum ring. This may not be inexpensive, but quality work quite
often is not.

My answers to your specific questions are,

  1. If you are going to replace or re-facet the stone, do it when you
    have the other prong work done. I would not recommend retipping on an
    antique platinum setting, especially if you are replacing the stone
    as the shape of the stone will be different, and it may not fit
    correctly in the old seat. Retipping only adds metal to the top of
    the prongs and does not repair the seat or the metal fatigue damage
    done by bending the prongs multiple times during unsetting and
    resetting, not to mention the original setting work and a century of
    wear and tear. A complete re-building of the prongs will allow a
    stone setter to cut the seat to the correct dimensions to fit the
    new stone properly in new and more malleable metal. Also, the fewer
    times you work on a ring (or any other piece of jewelry for that
    matter) the better.

  2. $200 sounds like a pretty fair price to size and retip a platinum
    ring. If price is an issue, I would just size it for now, and reprong
    the setting and recut or replace the stone when I could afford to.
    The other gemstones you have listed are not really all that much
    better at survival in the everyday real world than peridot.
    Tourmaline is a good replacement, tougher, more chemical and
    scratch-resistant than peridot, but that’s not saying much. It will
    not resist damage like a diamond, ruby or sapphire. Neither will
    tsavorite, another somewhat fragile stone. When the time comes, pick
    what you consider to be the most beautiful stone, have it set by an
    expert, and treat your ring very gently. Most goldsmiths will tell
    you that anything green is less than durable and should be treated
    with the utmost care.

It is important to remember that an antique by it’s very definition
has been around and worn for many years. You would never expect to be
able to commute back and forth to work in a hundred year old car
every day, nor would you throw a hundred year old handmade cashmere
sweater in the washer without a worry, so be careful in your
expectations of a peridot and platinum ring that has already provided
a century or more of service. Most antique rings have outlived their
original owners and have seen more than their share of love and wear.
Many have been loved almost to death and don’t have much more to
give, even with expert repair work. A ring that has been around that
long deserves to be treated with the love, care and respect that you
would treat anything that has survived for over a hundred years.
Especially if you want it to survive another hundred years.

Dave


#11

Hi Amy;

Pay attention you sales people out there, here’s how you "inform"
your customers to the point that you can take a sale away from your
competition.

You’re not Amy Tan the author, are you? Love that stuff, Kitchen God
and all that. Seriously, your jeweler isn’t giving you all your
options. First off, there’s no reason that ring can’t be sized with
the stone in it. Unless the shank were massive the heat wouldn’t
conduct down to the stone, especially if the soldering were done with
the ring top immersed in water or some other heat shield. The new
plumb platinum solders will allow that to work if your jeweler knows
what they’re doing. And a laser, or even a pulse welder would do it
without damage to the stone if you didn’t want to risk using a torch.
What that should cost depends on whether it’s going up or down in
size, and how much up if it’s going up.

Now first off, I don’t think your jeweler is trying to overcharge
you, if indeed he had to do it the way he says he does. Here’s an
example from some of my retailers.

size a platinum ring down. $50 size a ring with a 2 millimeter wide
X 1.5 millimeter thick shank up one size. $70, $8 for each additional
size.

replace a prong in platinum. around $35, but cheaper per prong for
more than one. stone setting price depends on the stone; for an oval
like that, anywhere from $30 to $75

Here’s the order I’d do it if I were on a budget. It’s a “pay as you
go” plan.

  1. have the ring sized, with the old stone in it. (least expense)

  2. get the prongs done and have a new peridot set in it when you do
    (more money, but if the prongs are done right, they can be carefully
    pulled back and a new stone set in it if it’s been done right).

  3. find a good deal on a sapphire, a hard and lively stone that
    costs less than a diamond.

Peridot is a really soft stone for a ring that’s worn every day. And
really, a good peridot that size isn’t expensive at all. I’d feel
guilty to charge you more than $50. If you don’t want to spend for a
diamond, why not look into sapphires? They come in all kinds of
lovely shades from blue to pink, yellow, green. And oval cuts are
common. My advice, try another jeweler, get the ring sized, get new
prongs, and see what you can find in a green sapphire. I’ve given
you my plan of attack.

Best of luck.
David L. Huffman


#12

Thank you everyone for your thorough replies, I really appreciate it.
From all your advice and the places that I have been recommended here
in Atlanta, it seems like my options are down to resizing and
retipping (and possibly resetting a new stone). I have yet to meet
somebody who will be able to resize my peridot platinum ring without
unsetting the peridot so currently my search has continued for a
gemstone that has the beautiful bottle green color of the peridot but
is tougher than it is so I can do it all at once.

I heeded Helen’s advice and started pricing a list of green gems with
durability, brilliance and cost factor. While a lot of the green gems
are said to have been found in a color similar to the Peridot,
finding someone that has it in the 7 x 5 ( <1 ct) size I’m looking
for is another thing.

So anyone with a garnet, tourmaline, chrysoberyl or sapphire that
might be what I’m looking for?


#13

I note that many here are saying the ring can be sized w/o removing
stone. Maybe, maybe not. Depends on the ring itself and how much of a
change is required. If there is a drastic change, the base shape of
the ring will certainly change, pulling prongs away from stone if the
ring is made smaller, or squashing the stone if its made bigger,
possibly requiring new prongs altogether. And maybe distortion or
damage of the filagree. Have your jeweler look very closely at the
join of shank to top, a frequent troublespot.

On any old ring its important to scrutinize the piece for previous
repairs. Sometimes they are difficult to see if they were done well.
If there is white gold solder that was rhodiumed, the jeweler might
have a real surprise if he tries to platinum weld new tips or prongs.

Retipping as I’ve seen it, is done with stone in place so that’s out
in the case of peridot. Tipping with stone out is not very good imho,
a short extension that bears the force of bending over the stone.
Solder does not like to bend. Better to replace prongs entirely as a
matter of course, if, and its a big if with antiques, the mounting
can handle the repair.


#14

Hi Amy, I haven’t got the time to read alllll of the responses you
have recieved. The 6 or 7 I have read are all in the right direction
though. I am a second generation jeweler with 20 years at the bench.
If you plan to wear it daily… go for a harder stone. My wife is a
nurse and in14 years of work and kids and such sha has managed to do
quite a number on a ruby that is in a ring worn daily. And rubies
and sapphires (Mohs9) are tough compared to nearly any other stone
(peridot 6. 5-7, tourmoline 7-7. 5). Hard is good!!! There is some
really pretty green sapphire out there if you are patient and
persistant. Has far as the laser welder is concerned…Yes, it is a
good tool. But many fantastic craftpersons work in the platinium
world without a laser by choice not because they aren’t keeping up.
Many in our insustry are using the laser indiscriminantly, sometimes
to customers’ detriment. That said, the issues of your case do lend
themselves to laser being an good choice. But some prongs re-done
with lasers can fracture more easily than those done the traditional
why, 5-10% chance is possible. If it were my wife ring I would size
the ring Laser now, even if they send it out by currier, but, Not by
shippers. Be patient and look for a great stone (Sapphire in my
case, yes, green) Then decide how to do the prongs old school or
laser. Just me 2 cents, feel free to contact direct