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Metal of choice for heads on shanks


#1

If you replace a half carat head in an engagement ring, what white
metal do you use (for setting a diamond)? I nearly always use 14K
nickel and generally have good results. I once had a customer lose a
half carat diamond from prong shear on a job of mine. It was less
than six months from setting it and I did not see any customer
abuse. I assume that platinum is the metal of preference, but I would
like to know what you actually use.

Thanks in advance.
Dale Pavatte


#2

Dale- We use platinum when we can.

We saw an increase of prong shearing and failure in relatively new
rings starting about 15 years or so ago. It turns out that aging
boomers were spending a lot of time in swimming pools and/or hot
tubs. Plus the obsession with germs has lead o the increased use of
bleach based wipes and cleaners.The bleach was attacking the alloys
in the gold prongs and leaving them very spongy and prone to shearing
off.

Since platinum is only a few hundred bucks more an ounce than over
priced gold, it’s a bargain right now.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#3
Since platinum is only a few hundred bucks more an ounce than over
priced gold, it's a bargain right now. 

However, I see customers rings where the prongs on the platinum
heads bend sideways too easily as they are not made right for the use,
too light and thin.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#4
Dale- We use platinum when we can. 

We saw an increase of prong shearing and failure in relatively
newrings starting about 15 years or so ago. It turns out that
agingboomers were spending a lot of time in swimming pools That’s
good advice if the customer will pay for it. I’ll just point out that
if you solder a platinum head to a gold ring you need to design the
joint pretty well and not just stick it on. Platinum can just snap
off if your joint is solely dependant on solder.


#5
However, I see customers rings where the prongs on the platinum
heads bend sideways too easily as they are not made right for the
use, too light and thin. 

That is because the manufacturers make the platinum heads from the
same molds as the gold ones. Cast platinum needs a different shape
factor than gold does. This is way too common.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#6

Dale, My metal of choice is platinum because it is a good white
colour, is tough and malleable, and has the best resistance to
abrasion. The downside is the expense and the need for different
tools and equipment to work it.

Next is 18ct paladium white gold. This comes in different varieties
and my choice is the ‘general purpose’ variety because it is tough
and malleable, but it has a grey tint in the colour. The casting
variety appears to have a bronze tint and is more brittle/less
malleable. Either way Rhodium plating takes care of the colour, but
that in itself is a compromise.

Nickel white gold has a good white colour as far as I have seen (I
never use it myself but have done repairs on it), and it has the
problems you describe.

Alastair


#7

We prefer platinum, but whatever you use, fabricated settings are
likely to have better structural integrity than a soft cast claw. I
don’t know about heat-hardening, but I imagine that a fabricated claw
would still be stronger at the end of it.


#8
I don't know about heat-hardening, but I imagine that a fabricated
claw would still be stronger at the end of it. 

You absolutely correct. Metal itself has nothing to do with strength
of a setting. It is all about engineering and compensating lack of
inherent rigidity with rigid structures. The ring that I used to
shoot my Eternity Ring DVD is sterling silver. After I finished with
it, I gave it to wife of my friend to wear. She is known as very
rough wearer. It has been 3 years and ring is still with us. No
stones have been lost, no weakened prongs, no issues at all. And
average thickness of metal in this ring is between 0.5 and 0.7mm.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#9

Leonid,

You absolutely correct. Metal itself has nothing to do with
strength of a setting. It is all about engineering and compensating
lack of inherent rigidity with rigid structures. 

Metal DOES matter. Forged is going to be stronger than as cast.
Alloys are all different in their properties.

Unless your bench is in a cryogenic hell I doubt that even you could
make a strong mercury setting :slight_smile: Besides, it would do really bad
things to a gold shank

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand