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All, .Two problems.When Iam soldering wedding sets or any sets
together many times the old solder joint will pop open as Iam
heating it.Causing my perfect alignment job to be perfectly
askew.This usally happens when a customer is looking through the
glass window in my shop at the mall to make sure Iam not harming
the heirloom they just bought for $499.Or switching out those
I-2 rock salt beauties.I could anneal the set but what if it has
lets say forty ,eight point princess cut Tanzanites set with
alternating rows of invisible set diamonds with a bezel set
opal for a center stone.And PLEASE don’t tell me the virtues of
removing the stones.In a perfect world that would be perfect but
I gotta make a living and time is what that takes.Any tips? Has
anyone been replacing cast in place alternating tapered
baguettes.By alternating I mean one wide end up ,one wide end
down ect.If the old stone is broken and you match it with
another baguette you have to cut a new seat wich I do but there
never seems to be enough gold to keep the stone up without it
falling through.And it is almost impossible to get the right
size baguette.Any helps? Thanks J Morley
Coyote Ridge Studio
J Morley Goldsmiths


Yellow ochre? Should prevent old solder joints from flowing, but
if there is a lot of spring tension in the shank, I’m sure it has
its limitations.

BTW, since yellow ochre is iron-based, it can contaminate your
pickle… just the same as a solid piece of iron. Quench first
(except if soldering with stones in place), remove ochre, then
pickle if appropriate.

Worth a try, I guess!


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio
Charlotte, NC (USA)


Hey, I worked for a jewellery chain for a while and had a
tonnnnnnnnnnn!!!of those kind of problems. Usually I did
this, for straight sizings, but occasionally for touch soldering.
Heres what I did:

*Usually I heated the rings lightly at first to oxidize them so that the
solder joints stood out.
*I would then bind the rings with binding wire in the position that I
wanted them
*I then used locking tweezers to heat sink the solder joints.
*Use 10k easy for 10k and 14k sets.
*Use 14k easy for 18k sets.
*I have tried yellow ochre over the old joints but usually I found that it
spread or I messed it over the fresh joint that I was making and then the
new joint wouldn’t close.
Hope that helps,
Cary James
This is my new orchid account.

   All, .Two problems.When Iam soldering wedding sets or any
sets together many times the old solder joint will pop open as
Iam heating it.Causing my perfect alignment job to be perfectly

If you are soldering wed sets together after sizing them, do not
round them out first. This puts tension back into the rings and
they will pop open. If I am soldering sets that I haven’t worked
on I will heat up the shank without any boric acid solution until
there is some color change. If there are any seams they will
show up. I then will either cut the seam and resolder to relieve
the tension or just be very aware of the seam and first solder
the set together as far away from the seam as possible and
flowing over the seam last.

good luck

bill Wismar


Dear J Morley:

First, in the case of soldering diamond wedding sets together, I
would suggest using binding wire or, my favorite, the common
soldering tweezers. If you have a set which is of respectable
weight(lucky you), annealing would be the first option soldering
both top & bottom to prevent shifting durring wear. This not
only prevents the seam problem but allows you to check your
alighnment after the first solder. Some adjustment (though not
much) is possible at this point. This usually takes care of the
problem of old sizing seams. If, however you must deal with the
more common discount merchandise, consider soldering them
together at the sides first with low temp. solder and then
complete the job by soldering them at the back. And finally, if
set with heat sensetive stones, simply put the rings upside down
submerging the stones in water.

Hope this helps;


Hi J Morley,

Its good to know that you are suffering along with the rest of
us. Problem #1, one thing I do is have a large, fairly heavy
pair of tweezers (maybe 8 inches) with the end slightly curved.
If the seam pops open I just grab the popped ring at 3 and 9
o’clock and squeeze it back together while soldering. Usually
there is no need to realign, everything fits back together.
Occasionally I have to put a spring tweezers across the two
rings, parallel to the side of the shanks, (also at 3 and 9), to
pull the gap between the two rings back together also. So that’s
potentially three pairs of tweezers, solder together tweezers,
large spring tweezers and large pickup tweezers. Then you do the
hokey-pokey and you turn…

The cast in bags are a pain for all too. Over the years I have
accumulated a huge, vast selection of baguettes. And still I
never have the right size. I always have to order three to get
the right one.

Good Luck,
Mark P.



I have been in your situation and had the same experience with
wedding sets with old sizing joints. I believe with all my heart
in using the “dove tail joint” when doing the initial sizing to
prevent problems in a second operation(& 3rd, 4th and so on) on
any ring that is going up. I have even done it on downs in
certain cases. Usually I find the “butt joint” in a down sized
ring or one I didn’t do to begin with and then I find you have to
use a softer, brush flame and move your heat to gradually and
gently bring your area to soldering temperature. I think a fast
heat-up located in just the area you want soldered causes the
old solder to expand faster than the metal so “thar she blows!” I
know it isn’t going to solve every situation. Old rings become
work hardened and the shanks have a “memory” of their old shape.
When you heat them they just want to go back to the way they
were. If they were sized a little to small to begin with and had
to be tapped up they will have a pulling tension and that will
cause a POP also. I hope I have helped. It’s 4:30 am and I can’t
sleep and I may be a bit silly. Patty in MO.


J Morley, Sounds like my day…the wonderful world of real retail
where the customer can see you while you work…My bench is out
in the open where you can watch to your hearts content…most
people get bored in about two minutes so If I have a problem I
act very busy while my wife runs counter intelligence ( pun
intended ). Now to the problem of rings popping while trying to
solder wedding sets together. This one is a bear because Granny
is watching your every move and her daughter is very nervous…I
check to see if they have been sized before…a quick soft flame
on yellow gold will reveal sizing lines…or a quick check under
microscope pumped up to 20 power to reveal anything I can see to
let me know if they have been sized…yeah they have…so onto the
tack welder to align and zap now they are held together…( I
bought a Tack II welder last year and this thing has saved me
hours of work…I still do not know Its full potential) If you
can’t tack it then devise a holder. Take an old pair of large
tweezers and put an outside U notch in them ( each side ) and
then widen the base to reverse the spring tension to an outward
push ( does this make sense ) I have made up several of these to
hold two and three rings at once… After you have lined
everything up you must use soft solder…14 plumb soft on 14
yellow etc… boric acid/alcohol flux…solder pick up a small
piece of solder and quick place on the side not the bottom and
flow together…now do the other side…If I am good that day the
solder will run up the seam and the rings wont pop…If I’m not so
good Oh well Keep talking Honey.

Now having said all this I usually try to talk customers into a
quarter shank for comfort and I cut out the sized sections and
replace with a larger double wide quarter shank.

On the baguettes each problem is more than likely different…If
there is room for getting at the problem from underneath the last
one I did few months age I actually revese set…from underneath
so as not to unduly damage the channel from on top. If there is
no room underneath you might have to spot weld some gold wire to
the channel to build it up a bit. But be careful as some new
channels I have seen lately are not cast but welded on in one
piece. Maybe others have some better ideas on this one ?

Terry Parresol in HOT central Florida


If you heat the area slightly and cool it with a wet tissue it
will take the spring out. careful you don’t get close to stones
in place and don’t have it dripping, works for me.


I use an olivine mixed with water to hold my object with heat
sensitive stones I don’t have to worry about set up so much and
as long as you don’t keep it there forever, It’s a heck of a lot
less bother if your in a hurry and it tips over cause you didn’t
put it right away. It also always handy and only needs a little
water…Ringman. fine olv.


Morley, it sounds like what you’re in need of is a pair of “Save
Your Ass” Tweezers. These tweezers are regular long tweezers
with a wide spread, and the tips bent in at right angles. As
you’re soldering the 2 rings together, start up the side (using
EZ solder) and tack the two rings together (this keeps them lined
up if they pop). As you then draw the solder down towards the
center, if your sizing area pops, grab the SYA tweezers and press
the gap back together by placing the tweezers on the sides of the
shank to bring it back in, all the while flowing the solder
between the two rings. It takes a little practice, but after a
few tries it will work beautifully. Many chain store repair
persons avoid this problem by soldering only on the sides,
leaving an unsoldered area at the bottom. I don’t find this
aesthetically acceptable, but if you do, that would be the
simplest solution. As for your baguette problem, it sounds like
you may have to add solder to build your seat up. Another common
chain jewelers solution is to use a graver to draw a bead from
underneath to act as the seat, and then draw another one from the
top to hold it in place. I don’t consider this a great method,
but a lot of that kind of jewelry is not built well enough to
withstand the pressure of a true channel set. Hope this helps.
If you’d like I can draw a sketch of the SYA tweezers and scan it
and send it off to you. Mike


Ringman What is olivine and what is the consistency when mixed
with water?

Alan Revere



Ochra iron based? I understood ochra to be a plant, dried &
powdered for this purpose. Perhaps you are confusing iron as a
nutritional mineral as opposed to the ore mined from the ground?



Olivine is a casting material that can withstand the heat. The
mix is about paste or a little tighter, if worried you can
always float some water but don’t move the piece after that. it
seems to work well and I have been using it for 18 yrs. Without
a problem… Ringman


Ochra iron based? I understood ochra to be a plant, dried &
powdered for this purpose. Perhaps you are confusing iron as a
nutritional mineral as opposed to the ore mined from the ground?

Watch spellings. Okra (note the K and A) is a plant. Good in
gumbos. Ochre (note the E) is mostly dirty (natural) iron oxide.
Common as a base for various yellow and brown paint pigments,
the powder mixed with oil or water makes a decent solder resist.
Won’t keep it from melting, but will keep it from flowing over an
area it covers.



Olivine is the highest temperature percipitate in a cooling
silica melt, so a good refractory material. I think this is the
matrix of a diamond pipe. (Mg,Fe+2)2SiO4 (sorry about the lack
of subscripts) so like peridot. But actually submerged in water
most reasonably stable materials will work this trick. I’ve been
using some putty I got at a plumbing supply place about 10 years
ago in the bottom of one of those flimsy aluminum beer cans. As
long as it’s wet, it won’t burn. j


That is basically what I use also, I use a mix derived from
aluminum foundry casting material (olivine) in two grits. Fine
and 300 grit, the mix provides more stability when wet and can
be rejuvenated hundreds of times, CHEAP, I have repaired Gents
silver rings with epoxy turq. in place, just need a fast intense
heat, rosebud, I use a cutting torch head with out using the O2
blast, tricky but it works…Ringman