Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Repairing silver and turquoise ring

I have a sterling silver ring that I made and was on the last part
of setting a turquoise cab into when one of the arms on the shank
(where it was attached to the back) popped off. Apparently, even
though I checked and thought it was soldered well, it was not.

I am going to reattach the shank by soldering in a can of water to
help protect the stone. There’s no way I can take the stone out at
this stage without ruining the bezel, so this is my only option.
It’s a nice ring, I’d like to try to save it.

Now, what happens when I have to pickle the ring?!? I’ve never used
pickle on anything other than just sterling. Is it OK to plop the
entire ring, turquoise and all, into a pickle pot? Sorry if my
newbieness is showing.

Tracy Burlison
Tracy’s Treasures


WARNING: if you get that stone hot it may change color or char or
break. Try hitting a little scrap turquoise with your torch and see
what happens. Turquoise is very soft, unless it’s natural gem
quality, which I would never take a chance on w/ heat.

I have used thermo shield paste which acts as a protector from heat
in certain situations, but to re-attach that shank to the plate, you
need to get the plate hot, hot, hot for the solder to flow to join
the shank.

My suggestion would be to remove the stone. It’s a royal pain and I
hate to do it, but after doing it once or twice I haven’t had to
again in a LONG time (knock-on-wood). Use a sharp x-acto knife to
very gently pry open one spot (without scratching the stone),
preferably in a less conspicuous and straight place, then very gently
progressivley pry the bezel open from that spot. Remove the stone at
the earliest possible place; you may not have to open the bezel all
of the way around. Gently file or sand the bezel, re-solder the
shank, pickle, polish and voila! Ready to re-set. I use the great
little silicone poishing wheels on my flexshaft. They work miracles
to touch up bezels.

I wouldn’t put turquoise in acid. If you must, use an eye-dropper,
q-tip, little sponge, or natural bristle watercolor brush and try to
apply only to the silver.

Good luck,
Kay Taylor

Tracy, I don’t think that the turquoise will survive re-soldering
the back, even with the stone submerged unless there is a significant
air gap between it and the back plate where you are soldering.
Remember silver is very conductive to heat, and I don’t believe that
you will have much of a temperature difference between the top and
the bottom of a sheet of sterling. As for How to repair this problem
I would laser weld it, not that that would solve the problem of heat
transfer, but it would control the problem by reducing the time the
turquoise to milliseconds.

Wayne M Schenk

Tracy - First off, turquoise cannot take heat. You don’t really
describe the ring, but if it’s typical - a plate with a stone on it
and a shank on the back, trying to solder the shank under any
circumstances is going to burn the stone. If it’s backed with Devcon,
as is typical, that will burn even sooner. If the bezel is fine
silver, you can just get a knife blade and go around it and unset the
stone pretty easily. And, no, don’t even think about putting
turquoise in a pickle pot.

There’s no way you will be able to solder that without burning the
turquois. Best option I can think of is to cut the bezel, remove the
stone and do it over. Another possibility would be to clean the
joint and resolder with one of the low temp non lead solders.

Jerry in Kodiak


The Turquoise will not hold up to the pickle and you most likely will
not create enough heat to flow solder on a part that is submersed in
water. To do the job correctly with a torch, you will need to
carefully remove the stone, solder the part and then reset the

Carefully use a flat graver to lift a small section of the bezel away
from the stone ( take your time here so you do not destroy the bezel
or stone ). If you are very careful you can now use a small piece of
polished brass stock or even a small bevel or knife edge graver to
continue lifting the bezel. If you take your time you should be able
to remove the stone, clean up the bezel and reset it just fine.

Good Luck
Greg DeMark

go ahead and solder the ring. you can brush the pickle on the area
you need only. in order to get a good solder you might want to use a
heat sink paste.

I always remove the stone…much less risk. I use an xacto knife
with the blade edge and the point “softened” a little so it won’t
gouge anything. I run the blade around between the stone and bezel
and after going around once I pry a little away from the stone to
loosen it all the way around. I have done this many times with
minimal bezel damage. The usual cautions apply regarding too much
pressure etc. Good luck. I don’t recommend turquoise and acid.
Turquoise does not like chemicals. Remember that a lot of turquoise
is treated in some way.


Hi, Tracy,

I think you’ll get a lot of response on this, but I have one idea
that might be different…

First, you cannot fix it without taking out the turquoise. Really.
If I understood right, and the joint is on the back of the setting,
water will not help.

It may be easier to take out the stone than you think. If it is a
fairly normal bezel, it is generally possible to insert a thin steel
tool between the stone and the silver and very carefully, slowly
coax the silver away from the stone. My favorite tool for this is a
dental-type tool with a profile sort of like a golf putter, but very
flat. In other words, it is a tiny spatula that sits at an angle to
the handle. I bought a very nice set of such tools at Blick Art
Supplies. I can’t find the exact one online, but these are the type,
and one of these might work:

The idea is, you need a smooth hard steel tool with a somewhat sharp
edge but very strong and not too sharp, so an exacto blade, for
example, is a poor choice-- it is too sharp, too flexible, and
breaks too easily. You want a teensy butterknife, in effect, so you
can slide it along between the stone and the bezel.

Usually, bezels opened in this way can be annealed and put back,
really none the worse.

Worst case scenario, you have to choose between saving the stone or
the ring. Can you choose wisely? And if it makes you feel any
batter-- we’ve all done it.



I work almost exclusively with silver and various stones, including
turquoise. Whenever I have a problem like this, I have found that it
is easier and takes less time to just do it over - begin again. I
salvage what you can of the materials to use in fusing or as recycle,
but I just say a few choice words, heave a heavy sigh, and go back to
square one.

I find that I don’t make those mistakes as often as I used to, but
sometimes those bails/jump rings/ear posts appear to be fine but on
stressing or during setting they just aren’t. I take more care now
to test each join before moving on, then retest after each soldering
operation. I also look at it from the point of view that it’s better
that I find it than a client.

Good luck with your project. Susan in Denver where round 4 brought a
dusting of snow, below zero temps, and sign of elk in my driveway.

Which is more valuable
Time and or material ?
Stone or setting ?

Is the ring or setting cast or easily replaced ?
Is the ring intricate and or expensive to replace.?

Is the stone calibrated and easily replicable,
or is it freeform and or expensive ?

" soldering in a can of water to help protect the stone " or "
plopping the entire ring, turquoise and all, into a pickle pot " are
ill advised

Keep us informed.

Depending how far from the stone your solder joint will be, you
might be better off to unset the stone and do a new bezel if you need
to. Silver transmits heat like crazy. The water trick may end up just
sucking all the heat from your flame and you’ll just boil the water

If the stone is tightly set, try this…If you have access, drill a
smallish hole on the backsheet off to one side. Using a scalpel or
similar tool gently pry up the bezel. Then push the stone out with a
brass rod or other softish material. This doesn’t always work but its
worth a try to save your bezel. Then go ahead and solder your shank
and solder a plug in the hole and reset. You may want/need to dress
off the top edge of the bezel before resetting, or solder on a new
one. If you inadvertantly scratch the turquoise it can be polished
out rather easily.