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Hot setting wax risks with Emerald?


#1

Hi,

I’m to set an oval emerald (a fairly pale and cloudy stone)
17mmx21mm in gold. Usually, I secure creations in setting wax to hold
them steady while I work on getting the setting done.

My question is:- Is the hot setting wax going to be too much (too
hot) for a stone which generally doesn’t like heat?

If yes, then how can I hold the stone whilst doing the setting?!

Thanks in advance,
Gee


#2

try using jett-sett ! It is far more stable and safe for the emerald
that sounds as though it will break on contact with the temp. of hot
setting wax. Jett-sett (or friendly plastic cut to bits- both are
thermo-plastics activated in hot water friendly plastic comes in
sheets at most craft stores and can be ground up otr cut to small
bits, and jett-sett is a brand name for pre-sized cgrains of the
same stuff but without colours or patterns added and sold by jewelry
supply vendors for far morte than friendly plastic- nonetheless,
they both work equally well for holding setting operations and
engraving) is malleable around 120 degrees thougth you submerge the
bits or granules in boiling water initially to soften then it remains
workabvle to around 110-20- that’s what I would try if the emerald
was expensive or is irreplaceable…rer


#3
Jett-sett (or friendly plastic cut to bits- both are
thermo-plastics activated in hot water friendly plastic comes in
sheets at most craft stores and can be ground up otr cut to small
bits, 

Thanks for that. I’ve been meaning to try some Jett-Sett or
equivalent, but haven’t persuaded myself to mail-order a “starter
kit”. I’ll try the craft store.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#4

When mounting heat sensitive stones I always heat them up slowly
rather than applying hot wax or putting it directly on to a hot
surface. no problems

Nick


#5

i am coming in sort of late on this one but i have done this alot if
we are speaking about the same thing carving a wax heating the stone
so it sinks into the wax to form an impression that will accept the
same stone after the wax is cast in metal?

I can understand that people are afraid to encourage and give advise
technique in the event the person using the accounting screws up and
looses a valuable emerald or some other gemstone i am not giving
advise i am tellng what i have done and had success with i generally
employ the wax pen for this proceedure i first cut a place into the
wax that is too small for the stone but close in size to fit the
stone if the hole is too small then the stone slips around and you
will find it irritating to position your intended result.

I then melt some sprue wax onto the pen and table of the stone i
generally use sprue wax because it lowers the melting temperature of
the hard carving wax i ilke to use as it flows around the belly of
the stone when the stone reaches the same temp of the wax. you see i
am heating the wax and then the wax heats the stone i have done this
with all types of stones emeralds, tanzanite, opals all with great
success.

keep in mind that you are pushing the dangerzone because of lack of
experience.

one must be carefull about how hot the stone gets but keeping a
balloon of molten wax around delicate stone is a good indicator to
stop if the wax begins to burn or smoke.

fear can be a good thing but it sholud not deter the artist
/craftman from making calculated risks in seeking growth &
knowledge.

best regards goo


#6
try using jett-sett !

Thanks for this - sounds a much better option. Couple of questions
though… (1) how do you get the plastic off at the end? (2) does
anyone know where I might get this in France or the UK (perhaps under
a different brand name?)

The emerald is to have a delicate ‘cage’ setting around it so I’m
going to need to hold both the emerald AND the gold cage in the
plastic. To this end, I’m not going to able to use anything hot or
any chemicals to loosen it after the work is done.

Gee
http://www.rockwaterstudio.com


#7

Hi Gee

try using jett-sett !

Thanks for this - sounds a much better option. Couple of questions
though... (1) how do you get the plastic off at the end? (2) does
anyone know where I might get this in France or the UK (perhaps
under a different brand name?) 

You might try a place that sells medical or dental supplies. Both
the medical & dental fields use a plastic with a low melting temp
for braces & other items.

I’m not sure what it’s called where it’s sold in those professions,
but I’m sure if you describe what it is you want to do & some of the
attributes of the stuff they’ll know what you’re looking for.
Incidently the plastic comes in several colors.

Dave


#8

Gee,

(1) how do you get the plastic off at the end? (2) does anyone know
where I might get this in France or the UK (perhaps under a
different brand name?) 

Jett-sett is just one type of thermoplastic. Hobby shops usually have
them, but perhaps under a different name. I prefer to keep in touch
with local physical therapists who specialize in hands. They make
lots of customized splints from sheets of thermoplastic. They always
have lots of scraps and are willing to save them for me if I ask. As
far as removing the Jett-sett, it just needs to be warmed up a bit
and it will peel off. 100-130 F degree water, depending on how much
of a hurry I’m in. Makes great file handles, and many other things
too.

Good luck,
Jamie


#9

Whilst what you have to say is of interest, it’s not quite what I’m
trying to achieve!

I’m looking for a way to hold an emerald in place with it’s delicate
gold setting (a sort of cage structure) whilst I push the prongs over
to complete the setting. I’m making the setting but the emerald will
protrude through it and I’ll need to make sure the stone is held by
wax or jett-sett or ?? before I can work on pushing the prongs over.

thanks,

Gee
Jewellery for your Journey
http://www.rockwaterstudio.com


#10

Kerr’s Blue Inlay wax is also useful, but not for the faint of
heart.


#11

Hi Gee,

Look on Ebay for ‘Polymorph’ or ‘Thermoplast’ - its all the same
stuff. To remove it when you’re finished, just warm it with either
hot water or hot air - I use a paint stripper gun. You only need to
get it to about 60 degrees C so even an ordinary hair dryer might do
the job but will need a bit longer for the heat to seep through.

Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#12

I got my thermoplastic off Ebay UK. Called Polymorph. It cost around
UKP 8 for 500 grams and will probably last me a lifetime!

Hope that helps. Jon


#13

I’m looking for a way to hold an emerald in place with it’s delicate
gold setting (a sort of cage structure) whilst I push the prongs
over to complete the setting.

Let me see if I’m getting this. You want to rigidly hold the emerald
while you push the prongs over? Correct?

If I got the picture let me say imho, this is a recipe for disaster.
Do not ‘push’ on an emerald. Cajole and tickle the metal over the
stone. If the stone is rigidly mounted(wax, thermo, crazy glue,
whatever) you have very little warning when things aren’t going
right. You may think its going fine, umm until you hear the most
sickening little click. Don’t ask me how I know.

If the stone kinda ‘floats’ while you’re setting it, you get a much
better gauge of what stresses the stone is under. Do each opposite
prong just a little bit at a time. You gently settle the stone into
its seat, gradually. Always work on the high side of the stone.

For emeralds in particular, I find it a great aid to make the prongs
extra long. This lets you use less tool pressure because of the extra
leverage of the prong. Less tool pressure means when/if the tool
slips you won’t have that pressure suddenly crash down on the
emerald. In a perfect world tools don’t slip, but we are not in a
perfect world. Pull the prong from the opposite side, you’ll get a
better feel for things. Once fully seated trim the tips as you see
fit.

If you feel you must have something to bed the stone into try bee’s
wax. Take a glob and roll it around in your hands to warm/soften it.
Then roll it around in some rouge dust to get it a bit dirty and less
’sticky’. Knead thoroughly then press it in the setting and then the
stone goes in (BTW this makes great wax stick for handling stones).
It will keep the stone from being floppy yet has enough easy 'give’
so you limit stress. Well, you can limit stress by not setting
emeralds but that’s another discussion. When you’re done, bee’s wax
is simple and painless to remove. Pick most of it, paint thinner or
easy steam the rest if need be. Obviously you need an untreated stone
for this.

If I misunderstood your intent I’ll just slink over into the corner.


#14
Let me see if I'm getting this. You want to rigidly hold the
emerald while you push the prongs over? Correct?....[snip] 

Fabulous reply - love it! Yes, you understood me perfectly and yes,
I have more than a healthy respect for the challenge ahead! Scared,
is another way of putting it! The stone is pretty big to will need to
be seated/held somehow while I set it. You’re suggestion sounds
ideal.

Will keep you posted - no need for slinking!

Gee
http://www.rockwaterstudio.com


#15
its going fine, umm until you hear the most sickening little click.
Don't ask me how I know.

I’ve had similar thoughts, but I didn’t want to get involved… Then
you set it, remove the goop and find that the stone is loose after
it’s gone.

Then you need to do what you might have done before, but your prongs
are clipped off…

Diamond dealer brings in 15 carat (or something like that) diamond.
So valuable that he’s permitted to watch the stone, but he’s told to
keep his mouth zipped. Setter pulls out slip-joint pliers - the
mechanic’s kind, and you can see the courier’s eye’s go wider and
wider… Like when the dentist pulls out a saw…

It’s not the leverage, it’s the span of the jaws. "Setting Pliers"
are for stones up to a carat or something more. They will start
slipping more and more as you try to push those limits. Big stone,
big pliers. Don’t worry about toolmarks (unless you’re a klutz),
you’ll have to clean up in any case. I use Lineman’s pliers more, for
that, they’re tighter…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#16

Hello Al,

Another source for thermo plastic is your physical therapist. They
use sheets of the stuff when forming removable braces and other body
supports. It’s also useful to shape handles on tools to exactly fit
one’s hand. There are always scraps available - call the PT dept. at
your local hospital and offer to reuse those scraps.

Judy in Kansas, who just returned from cool Colorado to triple digit
temps!! At least the tomatoes like the weather.


#17

I have a suggestion, If you are not use to setting emeralds in the
first place, one this size is not the ideal “practicing” stone.
Leave it to someone with more experience and you’ll save a ton of
$$$$$. I’ve been setting stones for 25 yrs. and have never used
anything like you are describing. I agree with the points made and I
feel it comes down to whether or not you know what you are doing.
Believe me, that “click” sound can sometimes be followed by that
throwing up sound, “RALPHHHHHHH!”

Steve Cowan


#18
remove the goop and find that the stone is loose after it's gone.
that seems about right. 

In some cases, which John refers to, I use the smallest pair of
channel locks I’ve ever seen which I further reduced. They work well
in producing leverage and allow for control of the amount of pressure
one needs.

KPK


#19
Another source for thermo plastic is your physical therapist 

Thanks, I’ll try that. My wife has spent enough time in the hospital
the last year that she should have some good contacts [g].

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#20

Hi Gee,

Scared, is another way of putting it! 

Once I started working with a microscope the ‘fear factor’ (guessing
as to where I am in the setting process) dropped by orders of
magnitude. I can actually watch the shrinking gap between prong and
stone as I move the prong. If the stone is floating, as mentioned by
Neil, there is no possibility of breaking the gem as you evenly move
each prong over. A setting pliers - the one with the slot cut in one
face - will keep any possibilty of slippage to a minimum. Also,
parallel jaw pliers can be very helpful in controlling the amount of
force you are appying if you are coming straight down on the prong.

Could you post a picture of the stone/setting? I’m wondering why you
need to ‘cement in place’. Is the setting too small? Prongs too
short? Remember you can tell the prongs where to fold by slicing a
teensy line in them with your saw blade.

Anyway good luck, and keep us posted!
Pete