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Repair Invisible set pieces

Hi all,

Does anyone know anybody who is actually willing to accept and repair
invisible set pieces? My workplace sells quite a bit of the stuff and
every month I get a piece or two that needs stone replacement or
tightening. I do it myself with reasonable success because none of
the job shops in my area will touch it! In my opinion, this technique
should stay solely in the grand old houses where they’ve got the fine
craftsmen capable of the work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve
been handed a brand new piece with a stone out or shaking like a

Really, it takes years off my life dealing with this junk and I got
better things to do than sweat. Shipping back to the manufacturer
isn’t much of an option as many are overseas and we’d need to wait
weeks for the work. Any takers out there with a reasonable

Still twitching from yesterday’s 20 loose stones,

Jane Armstrong
Bernie Robbins Jewelers

how about a dab of hughes 330 epoxy in the corners?

Hi Jane, It has been my experience with ivisible set rings that makes
me wonder how a person could replace a lost stone unless they had the
original one that fell out since they have the groove cut into the
pavillion that “snaps” into the underlying grid.(long sentence, whew.)
I was lucky a couple of times. I pushed it in and it stayed. But, if
it wasn’t made exactly right it wouldn’t stay and I think for the
customer’s long term benefit it should be returned to the manufacturer
for them to correct or replace. I’ve done wholesale repair for alot of
years and found myself butting heads with the store manager over poor
quality controlled merchandise. I seem to be stuck playing the role
of “Ralphette Nader” but my buying public loves me! My2cents. patty in

Hello Jane: The invisible set ring is, in my opinion, a very nice
looking way to set stones. I agree with you though, I think it is
junk. The problem is that it is not durable. I think most of it is
mass produced by inferior laborers. The rings I have seen are thin,
have no integrity and will fall apart over time. Fixing them just
marries you to it. I have remade 3 rings and channel set those stones.
I have seen stones chipped in the middle of the ring because of some
trauma causing them to bump each other. It’s not that you can’t
replace a stone and have it stay in through cleaning and delivery. It
is that if that same stone doesn’t fall out another surely will and
the customer will be back. It is really a matter of knowing when to
say no and explaining to the customer that the ring they love is not
well made. Of course you can’t really do that if you work in the store
that sells it. I think most bench jewelers would agree that just
because a ring is beautiful doesn’t mean it is well made. The store I
work in would never carry invisible set jewelry because we don’t want
to maintain it’s repair over the years. How many times have you heard
a customer say," I’ll never go back to that other jewelry store
because they can’t fix the ring they sold me. or the ring they sold
me keeps falling apart" Just my 2 cents worth.

Michael R. Mathews Sr. Victoria,Texas USA

Hi Jane; My 2cents on the invisible setting issue. I had a friend who
went to a workshop in California to learn how to work with these
beasts. Here’s the secret. . .

They have a diamond cutter sitting next to them to custom fit stones
where it is required, which I would guess would be about when it was
time to get the last stone in the channel.

When these pieces were uncommon, they were, as you say, in the
province of the great “Old Houses”. Now the look is hot, which means
every hack manufacturer who thinks he can pull it off will have a go
at it. You’re seeing the results. When I have worked on these
pieces, if I could even get a stone to fit, I would cut away the
outside channel by the stone, slip it into place, and solder a small
strip to replace the metal I’d removed. That way, I didn’t have to
put pressure on a stone that was snug up against another stone (which
has a notch in the girdle!). My vote would be to go over every
piece of inventory before you accept it, find out who’s stuff is
slip-shod, and avoid it. Meanwhile, rely on the manufacturer to
correct problems with their product.