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Problem with Stuller's white gold heads

Hello group

I am a lapidary artist and I offer services to the trade. Some of my
accounts come to see me in my shop, usually on a weekly basis. after
the business stuff is done, we usually just chit-chat for a bit
about how’s the family, the retail biz, problem customers ect.

Last week I was talking to One of my accounts that has a retail
store about 50 miles from my shop and he comes to see me once a
week. We got on the subject of the problem he has had with Stuller
white gold heads.

The first incident was a customer had a 68pt diamond set into a new
4 prong head. The customer returned to the store 2 days later and
one of the prongs had sheared off below the seat of the stone and
the diamond had fallen out, fortunately the diamond was found. He
had his setter look at the head and his response “the customer
snagged the prong and broke it”. So he decided to reset the diamond
into a 6 prong white gold head,and wouldn’t you know the very next
day the customer returned with 3 prongs sheared off below the seat
of the stone and now the diamond was lost.

The second incident was a customer brought a 79pt diamond into his
shop and had a new 6 prong white gold head replaced from the old
head that was worn out. The same thing happened within a few days.
Three prongs sheared off below the seat of the stone, and stone
could not be found.

These two incidents happened within a week of each other and my
account had to replace the two lost diamonds.

I thought to myself, he’s had a run of bad luck.

The next week I was at one of my other accounts that has a retail
store about a mile away from my shop. As I walk into his store and I
am waiting for him, he is talking to his setter that works out of
his home. He was telling him about an incident where they had reset
a 1.65ct diamond into a white gold 6 prong head, and two days later
the customer returned to say 3 prongs broke off and the diamond had
fallen out. The customer waited about 20 minutes before they told
him that they had found the diamond.

I asked him if he bought the head from Stuller, and he said yes.

Two jewelers with the same problem with the white gold heads from
the same manufacturer should have some attention.

Has anyone else had this problem?

Stan McCall
Custom Creative Gem Cutting

stuller’s super white is great for mass production but it is
definitly not the gold for me the stuff is way too tough to work
with. doesnt bend, oxidizes so well i have to use three different
kinds of flux at the same time and istill have trouble soldering the


We use Stullers finding almost exclusivly. I have never had a
problem with any of their settings or anything else for that matter.
But sh… happens.


Since the posting didn’t specify that they used Stuller’s new X-1 (I
think it’s something like that) alloy heads I assume regular white
gold heads were used. I’m also going to assume that the setters
didn’t cut the seat too thin while burring a seat. I’ve been using
Stuller heads without any problems for almost thirty years and I know
they couldn’t sell enormous amount of settings if they were failing.
Which leads me to wonder if it might be something environmental, such
as, chemical attack like chlorine from hot tubs or swimming pools.
Chlorine damage can lead to prongs breaking off suddenly as described
in your posting. I read an article, I believe in AJM/MJSA magazine,
about chlorine damage to white gold alloys. In it, there was
documented damage to white gold settings in a scientific setting. It
was documented that as little as a few hours exposure to heated
water/chlorine mixture that prongs failed as you described. Hot tubs
are of course using warmer water and the water in pools is warmer as
well. That being said, my first thought would be to ask the customer
if the rings had been exposed to chlorine in a hot tub or pool. Some
customers use chlorine bleach to “punch up” their dish washing water
and wear their rings while doing dishes.

The usual disclaimer applies. I don’t work for Stuller nor have I
ever worked for them. I just don’t want people to rush to conclusions
without looking at all possibilities.

James S. Cantrell CMBJ