Hello again all,
I’d like to capture a crystal or stone in a caged setting. I know how to make the cage, the problem is soldering it closed with the stone inside. I’ve had little success with this type of setting without destroying the stone. Can someone point me to a tutorial or help me out with how to achieve my mission?
Hello again all,
Why not close the cage mechanically, so the stone is never heated?
There is also laser welding or pulse arc welding, but youcouldcreat a design that closed with a rivet, of by a twist of the cage wires.
There is a tutorial from Jewellery Training solutions, but you have to pay for it.https://jewellery-training-solutions.thinkific.com/courses/captured-keshi-pearl Basically it consists of 2 domed round sections joined by a long piece. The circles are folded in the centre half to meet each other and the long piece becomes the bail. There is no soldering, only piercing. Check it out
You could submerse the portion you don’t want heated in a substance called thermo-gel sold by Kernowkraft
As I suggested earlier, and after looking at the image in the link, I see no reason that you could not design the two domes so that they are closed by a rivet if you wish to use no heat.
On the other hand, as suggested above by kreder you can also use a heat shield to protect the gemstone or pearl whole soldering the assembly closed.
I prefer to use a product called Wolf Clay as such a heat shield, and routinely use it for sizing sterling rings with heat sensitive gemstones or enamel, but I am not sure where this product is available if you cannot get it directly from Kate Wolf, as I did.
ringdoctor, I want to be able to do it on my own, without having to source a laser or pulse welder. I could use a rivet but I love the look of a fully soldered piece.
That would be great for a stone or pearl with a hole in it…I want to cage a chunk or nugget without a hole.
I think a heat shield might be my best bet. Can you recommend any other brands if I can’t find Wolf Clay?
No one has mentioned the old-fashioned, low tech way to solder silver with a heat sensitive stone. So, I will:
I use a clean tuna can and fill it with clean, fine-grained sand. Got mine from a box of bird “grit.” Then add enough water to thoroughly wet the sand - not soupy though. After applying whatever flux you use, sink the heat sensitive bit until only the part to be soldered is exposed above the web sand. Actually, you could apply the flux at this point, if the joint is clean.
Now you apply the torch and solder. As the silver will transmit heat, you are likely to see steam rising - possibly some bubbling in the sand. This will take quite a bit of heat as much is lost to the wet sand, so expect to turn up the torch. Watch and quickly pull the torch off as soon as the solder flows.
I’ve sized many silver rings this way, not to mention soldering jump rings through sensitive stones. People who understand the heat on stone quandary always ask me how I did it.
I claim no originality on this method. An Orchidian, whose name I don’t recall described it in the dark past.
Judy in Kansas, who is wading into the dreaded paperwork associated with submitting income tax!!
This may seem too simple but a friend made her cage with two round discs domed and then drilled holes around the top and bottom through which she threaded wires and soldered the wires on the bottom and balled the tops by sliding the wires away from the top. You could also just solder them. After it’s completed its an easy task to spread two wires, insert your object and then close.
I think Wolf clay is the best and you can get it from her. Just email or call.
Judy, thank you! This is something I can do!
I use Kate’s Wolf Clay almost daily.
Over the years I have tried a great many different “heat shields” for soldering Sterling Silver, and Kate’s product has outperformed everything else I have tried.
I used to work for a retailer that sold over $1 million in David Yurman annually, where I was the sole jeweler and I sized a huge number of DY SS rings over almost a decade there, that all held heat sensitive stones. I experimented with a variety of thermo-protecting products.
I WISH that I knew of Wolf Clay back then!
INTENSE heat, very good thermal protection, speed, and confidence are the key.
If you do not get a good solder flow, STOP!
I mean STOP!
Clean everything, reflux, and start over.
Heat, speed and a good heat sink are the key when fragile stones are close, soldering any metal, but especially SS.
May I suggest getting this book? Has all sorts of ways to wrap stones without any soldering!