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Repair: sterling barrette with coral

Hello all,

I’ve been asked to repair a sterling barrette that has a coral cabochon. The barrette clasp is attached to the plate via two small posts at the back. This will be my first repair job.

I’m trying to decide whether to remove the stone or go ahead with it in place. I’d rather not remove it. I’ve read that coral is exceptionally sensitive to heat, but these prongs are a good distance from the bezel. Is surrounding the cabochon in wet paper towel sufficient? I’m working with a Smith little torch on oxy-acetylene.

Thanks for any help!


Be safe and remove the stone. Silver transmits heat very well. You have to have enough heat to do the job and the wet paper towel will not let the silver get hot enough for the solder to flow. Often there is organic material under the stone that could burn also. Be very careful in removing the stone, but once the stone is removed, you have more leeway to do the soldering and the clean up. Coral is very sensitive to chemicals and polishing.

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I would definitely recommend that you remove the stone. The bezel is actually an easy one to work with. If the stone is glued, then put it in the freezer and it should pop off.

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Check to make sure that the clip wasn’t soldered on with lead solder. More often than not steel findings such as this one will be attached with lead solder. If it is soft solder (lead solder) you’ve no problem with heat, just use a soldering iron rather than a torch.

As others have suggested, remove the stone. I have made barrettes using the same finding. There are holes in each end. You might consider soldering solid wire to the back of the barrette that you can use to rivet through the holes in the finding. I would buy a new finding. They are inexpensive and you may actually find them at a Michaels or similar craft type store. If I can find one, I have pictures of this type of piece and I will post it…Rob

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Following is a link that should take you to pictures of a barrette with a riveted back spring finding…Rob