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Prong re-tipping


#1

I am having trouble re-tipping a prong. The prong is on a ring
that holds a series of baguettes in a round pattern. The
baguettes are about 1mm x 2mm. The trouble I am having is
isolating the tip that is in need of repair from the other prongs
since they are so close together. I know that it can be done and
orchid’s experienced jewelers can help. Thanks, Steve D.


#2

Steve,

Paint the adjoining areas with white-out or yellow ochre
(available from jeweler’s supply houses).

Sharon Ziemek


#3

Steve, the best thing to use is yellow ochre. First clean the
ring, and use alchohol/borax to protect the diamonds. Next, using
the ochre paste, paint the areas that are not to be worked on.
This essentially forms a “resist” against the solder flowing. At
this point you have isolated the offending prong . Best of Luck,
Rob Ringold


#4

Hi Steven,

The yellow ocre thing is good or white out but, if I can ask a
question how big your flame. More to the point, which torch are
you using? It is not usually required to paint of tips if first
you pre heat the ring then concentrate the flame locally on the
tip to be soldered. Also are you trying to apply a metal tip or
a solder tip? In this repair a metal tip is more advisible. Jim,
@Zimmerman


#5

The yellow ocre thing is good or white out but, if I can ask a
question how big your flame. More to the point, which torch are
you using? It is not usually required to paint of tips if first
you pre heat the ring then concentrate the flame locally on the
tip to be soldered. Also are you trying to apply a metal tip or
a solder tip? In this repair a metal tip is more advisible. Jim,

Hey Jim I successfully pulled the job off yesterday (Sunday) using
a Victor oxygen/acetylene torch. I believe the source of my
problem was just as you mention. I was trying to re-tip with just
solder and it ran all over the place. Well they say that
experience is the best teacher . After removing the gob of junk ,
I reassessed the situation and decided to use wire for a tip. The
job came out perfect. Thanks again for all the useful input and
words of encouragement. Steve D.


#6

…Hoping I won’t get laughed off orchid,

Wendy,

If we weren’t all looking for easier ways of doing our tasks, we
probably wouldn’t be on Orchid. I’m actually glad you posted
this, as I was wondering how well the redi-prongs worked. I
usually prefer to fuse tips on whenever possible, but I was
thinking that for cluster style rings that prefab may be the way
to go. Have you tried the “V” shaped yet? I also noticed they
have a channel repair kit.

Sharon Ziemek


#7

If we weren’t all looking for easier ways of doing our tasks, we
probably wouldn’t be on Orchid. I’m actually glad you posted
this, as I was wondering how well the redi-prongs worked >>

I recently hired a new goldsmith with 16 years of experience. My
policy with instuction is to help where needed, but not to demand
that things are done “my” way. As this list has demonstated to us
all, there are always many ways to approach a problem. Anyway I
gave her a job to retip about 20 prongs on a WG ladies ring and
she did it this way. She balled up 20 tiny 14k wg beads about the
size of the prongs. She then tapped them on her block to flatten
them slightly. Then she placed them on each prong with a little
hard solder under each (much like the redi-prongs), soldered and
filed and finished. It was beautiful, all prongs exactly the
same. I would have told her to just use 19k weld solder because
it doesn’t run, her way was better. I have been doing this 20
years and it seems the longer I do it, the more there is to
learn.

Mark Parkinson


#8

She balled up 20 tiny 14k wg beads about the size of the prongs.
She then tapped them on her block to flatten them slightly. Then
she placed them on each prong with a little hard solder under
each (much like the redi-prongs), soldered and filed and
finished.

Just curious. I’m going to assume that she had already melted
the hard solder on to each flattened ball first; how many did
she solder at the same time? How did she get the little
flattened piece to stay on a tiny prong without moving (due to
the flux widening and shrinking?) I like your original idea
about the 19kt weld solder. It does sound easier using solder on
a pick, rather that balancing the ‘redi-prong’ on the top of a
prong.

regards, Allan
waterphoto@aol.com


#9

Just curious. I’m going to assume that she had already melted
the hard solder on to each flattened ball first; how many did
she solder at the same time? How did she get the little
flattened piece to stay on a tiny prong without moving (due to
the flux widening and shrinking?) >>

No, she put the solder under the the little (very uniform) ,
slightly flattened beads. She setup about 4 at a time, used her
pick to hold in place, use minimal flux (just enough), small
pinpoint flame. She really flew thru it, I didn’t time her. I am
not advocating this, it sure works for her. The prongs were very
uniform, you could not tell they had been repaired, just like
new.

Mark Parkinson


#10

hi i know no one asked me but… let me butt in here. try
diluting your flux by 1/2 with distilled water if you are not
already. have fun! geo fox


#11

Have you tried the “V” shaped yet? I also noticed they have a
channel repair kit.

Sharon,

I got the “V” kit and it doesn’t work as well as the round ones
because there are so many different sizes of marquise stones and
the angle of the “V” never seems to be just right. You also
have to “back it up” with quite a bit of hard solder in order to
grind it smooth.

The one shop I do subcontract work for bought me both kits hoping
to make thier life a little easier ( I hate prongwork, I should
get an apron like that instead of the one that says I hate
housework) so I wouldn’t complain when they took those pain in
the butt jobs in. (Like retipping 30 prongs on a cluster of 3
pointers). The round ones work great, as long as the prong isn’t
completely missing.

Maybe if you get in touch with the supplier, they could send you
a sample of the V prong tips ( someone sent me the round ones to
try before I bought the whole kit).

Good Luck!
Wendy


#12

Wendy,

Thanks for the info. I took a better look at the setting I have
to replace a marquis stone in and I’m going to need to completely
rebuild the prongs. They are well beyond the retipping stage. I
can understand the “V” not matching well. The settings I’ve seen
are like snowflakes, no two alike. I find making the balls for
retipping rounds easy enough I probably wouldn’t bother buying
the kit.

Thanks, and have a great day.

Sharon


#13

They are well beyond the retipping stage. I can understand the
"V" not matching well

I am just mentioning this cuz nobody else did. Many peole will
NOT retip the v prongs on diamonds because they can crack. I have
seen it happen twice. The theory is that the solder gets in under
the tip of the stone, expands and whamo, another job you just
lost money on. We will do it, but if the stone is of any value we
remove it, replace the setting or repair it and reset. I am not
kidding about this, one of the stones was over 2 ct., a sliver
from the point to the culet came off, that will ruin your day.
Mark P.


#14

I too had a marq. send a sliver off from the tip dowm the side
of the girdle while retipping. That was a few years ago and now i
tell all the jewelers i work with to never tip any sharp point
stone without removing and resetting. about a year ago i kept
tellin one of the guys to stop doing this. He said he had been
doing it for a long time and he had never seen it happen. He
stopped doing it only when i was there. One weekend when i was
off the very same thing happened to him. When i asked him why?
Too much time and work. Sorry not $2000 worth of time and work!
Just blowing a little steam. Just an idea to keep in mind.


#15

…Many peole will NOT retip the v prongs on diamonds because
they can crack. I have seen it happen twice.

THANK YOU, Mark! I wouldn’t have thought of that, but now that
you mention it…common sense strikes again.

Thanks again,

Sharon


#16

In a message dated 97-05-21 23:58:19 EDT, you write:

The theory is that the solder gets in under the tip of the
stone, expands and whamo, another job you just lost money on. We
will do it, but if the stone is of any value we remove it,
replace the setting or repair it and reset.

I really have to add my .02 here. When my customers come in
with a broken prong on a diamond engagement ring, I simply telll
them that I will not retip the prong. I will only replace the
head either with 14kt white, or most preferably, platinum. The
explanation to them is quite clear, and most agree. The cost of
a new box, or head, is no where comparable to the cost of risking
their diamond with a patch repair. Years ago I used to retip
prongs, and on one occasion that I remember, the white gold did
not fuse well to the remaining prong. Luckily, I caught it, and
redid the job. With the current cost of diamonds today, and the
liability you might incur with a faulty prong resulting in a lost
stone, I just say ‘no’.

end of lecture.

regards, Allan Freilich (waterphoto)


#17

I have to agree with you, Allan, I usually do the same-
Palladium white or platinum. Safer, usually faster, and if one
prong is gone, the others usually need attention anyway.

Rick
Richard D Hamilton, Jr.
@rick_hamilton

Shop rule: sailing is mandatory.


#18

With the current cost of diamonds today, and the liability you
might incur with a faulty prong resulting in a lost stone, I just
say ‘no’.

This brings up a question I have for you “pros”. When you
damage a stone, who pays for it? Do you have insurance that
covers this, or is it just suck it up and pay for it? Ouch… Anne


#19

You got it in one. It’s the difference in staying in business
or not. It also determines whether you keep your job, if your
employed by someone else. One out of a hundred is good, one out
of thousand is better. Five breaks out ten maybe you should try
some else. Not to mention did you drop it on the floor, is it
set straight, does fall out the first week on the customers
finger. There is no insurance for this type of thing other than
your setter know what he is doing. This is also why setter are
payed the most to the job. A fine setter will be able to set
10ct. of .01pt. with only one break or none. Jim alpine@hay.net


#20

Anne, I am primarily a designer who starts with my own stones and
metal. I also am a goldsmith for a small jewelry store. I have
an agreement with them that they are liable for the cost of
replacing or recutting a stone if I damage it. (They one time
they had to recut a diamond I chipped, by the way, was a marquise
with an “iffy” fracture in it). The store doubles what I charge
them to do the work, so they make alot of money off of me. As for
my own customers who I meet at shows and want me to set thier
stones, I let them know up front that the stone must be insured
by them (this gets my gemologist alot of business) and I cannot
be liable for breakage or damage ( especially on an emerald or an
opal). Sure, I lose some business, but people who are familliar
with my work grow to trust me and some are willing to take the
risk. A goldsmith friend of mine had her lawyer make her up a
waiver for the customer to sign. My attorney said they would
probably not hold up in court. I guess the trick is to make the
customer aware of the potential risks before you take the job. I
try not to work for a skittish customer if I can help it. Wendy
Newman