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How'd they DO that?


#1

Folks, I was in a wonderful gallery in SoHo last week and saw some
jewelry that made me scratch my head and wonder “how’d they DO
that”? While I certainly wouldn’t want to copy the design, the
technique is one that would solve some thorny problems I’ve had in
my own designs, on occasion.

The pieces were done in 18kt yellow gold, and involved
large-diameter (1/4" up to 3/4"), thin gauge jump rings, hammered
flat. On some of the rings were hung drilled briolette stones,
about 8mm - 10mm length. These were NOT sapphires or diamonds, and
the jump rings were most definitely soldered shut. The stones were
hung like beads, with no separate findings.

So my questions aRe:

  1. If you were to approach this as a design problem, would you use
    some sort of “cool-jewel” heat sink on the stone to solder the jump
    rings? If so, how far does the stone have to be from the heat
    source for the stuff to be effective (these were pretty small
    areas)? If I’m using a Smith Silversmith torch (acet/air) do I
    stand a chance of accomplishing it, or would it be only possible
    with a Little Torch?

  2. Is the technique completely dependent on using gold, and if so,
    any particular karat of gold? (I ask since with gold you can solder
    a specific area without bringing the whole piece up to heat.) Any
    chance of accomplishing something similar in silver? (fine or
    sterling?)

  3. There was a range of stones used. Some looked like Andalucite
    (which is a stone I’ve fallen in love with, but haven’t worked with
    much), others like a beautiful light blue topaz, others peridot.
    Are there stones you think would be best suited to try with this
    technique (sapphires and diamonds are out on the expermental
    budget)?

Any insights?

Thanks,
Karen Goeller
@Karen_Goeller
www.nolimitations.com - Handcrafted Artisan Jewelry and Artwork


#2

Karen, This is not too difficult to accomplish.

 The pieces were done in 18kt yellow gold, and involved
large-diameter (1/4" up to 3/4"), thin gauge jump rings 

The key here is that the rings are thin, large, and 18k gold. Since
the gold doesn’t conduct heat as efficiently as silver, it would be
a simple matter of applying a heat sink (locking tweezers will work)
on either side of the joint. You could use Cool Jool, or even water
on a wet piece of paper towel, to protect the stones, if you wish.

 I'm using a Smith Silversmith torch (acet/air) do I stand a
chance of accomplishing it, or would it be only possible with a
Little Torch? 

Possible, but more difficult than using a torch with a tiny flame. A
"Hoke" torch would be an improvement, and it is much easier to work
in gold if you can control both the gas and oxygen separately.

Briolettes have become popular again, and shouldn’t be too difficult
to find, especially if you’re in NYC. Of course, diamonds,
sapphires, and rubies would be easier to solder, since they can take
more heat than andalucites.

With skill and practice, and perseverance, you can accomplish almost
anything. I know that I could solder silver jump rings like these
with a Presto-lite torch (or even a blow pipe) if I had to. I’ve
been doing this for a long time. I learned by trying, sometimes
failing, and trying again and again until I got it down.

Go for it!
Doug Zaruba


#3

Hello Karen One way to solder those jump rings closed is with and
electric soldering machine, I often use it in chain making. Take a
look at http://www.alpha-supply.com/146.htm. For real heat sensitive
stones you might still need a little heat shield.

Karen Bahr “the Rocklady” (@Rocklady)
K.I.S. Creations
May your gems always sparkle.


#4

Karen, The rings were most likely welded shut with an electrical
welder. The Sparky. You can find this in the Stuller Tool Book

Gianna


#5
 1.  If you were to approach this as a design problem, would you
use some sort of "cool-jewel" heat sink on the stone to solder the
jump rings? 

Hi Karen, I have done this kind of thing many times and use one of
two methods, both of which are very old and don’t involve buying
proprietary goop…

One way is to thoroughly wet a wad of cotton wool with water and
cover the stone with it. I usually thread the wool through the ring
and use the slushy mess to hold the ring upright on a soldering mat.
Make sure the wool is not too near the bit you want to solder and use
a small flame. Because the boiling point of water is only 100 degC,
whilever there is water present in the wool, whatever is inside it
will get no hotter than this. The other way is an even older
technique but uses the same physics. That is to bury the stone in a
potatoe - either just cut a slot and push the part of the ring with
the stone on into it, closing the gap as much as possible, or cut a
piece out of the potatoe, pop the stone into the recess and put the
cut out piece back on top. This method is a bit more messy than just
using a cotton ball as you have to clean away the cooked potatoe from
the stone afterwards!

Best wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield, UK