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Repairing silver ring

Hello all, I have a question about repairing a heavy sterling man’s
ring set with a lapis buff top stone. There is a crack in the middle
of the ring shank, at the back at the farthest point away from the
stone. It’s not a setting where I can safely take the stone out
without either breaking it or really mangling the setting itself. Is
there a way to safely solder that crack with hard solder with the
stone in place? Leda

Leda, There is a wonderful article in the November issue of Lapidary
Journal that explains how to do exactly what you ask.

Leda, This is how I was taught to solder a ring in this situation. I
wrap tissue paper around the stone and then soak it in water. Then I
place the ring in a shallow small dish of cold water. I then apply
flux and solder and use an oxy-acetylene or oxy-gas flame to solder
the join. (This is all done after the join has been cleaned and
re-butted). The water soaked tissue paper absorbs most of the heat and
the hot flame of the oxy torch ensures a quick solder. Keep your eye
on the tissue and DON’T let it get dry!! Hope this helps.


Leda, Maybe not. It depends on the thickness of the part of the shank
where the break is relative to the mass of the rest of the piece.
Can’t say without seeing the ring, but if there is enough difference
you may be able to submerge the stone in water and solder with easy
silver solder and a large hot flame. Sometimes I have , after
informing the owner, done a job like that with a low temp. non lead
solder called “Stay-Brite” which I’ve picked up at the local hardware
store. Haven’t had any complaints so far, particularly after I’ve
pointed out that the alternative is to simply accept the fracture in
the stone. Jerry in Kodiak (where the mountains are showing lots of
termination dust)

Hi Leda,

Briefly, no. At least not “safely”.

Lapis is not a mineral but a rock made up of several constituents,
among these calcite, pyrite and lazurite (or lazulite, don’t remember
which). Certainly the first two will degrade with heat, the calcite
becoming quicklime and the pryite becoming iron oxide.

With a heavy shank such as you describe the heat would be conducted
instantly to the stone, and if you put the stone in water the
surrounding silver mass would most likely flash the water into a
blanket of steam, thereby losing the cooling effect.

Maybe, maybe, maybe, if you kept the stone cold and used an intensely
hot tiny flame like a hydrogen torch you might be able to
concentrate enough heat quickly enough at the joint to do the job. But
I have no experience in this and am inclined to doubt it.

Cheers, Hans Durstling Moncton, Canada

Yes, get like a tuna fish can and fill it with water. Prepare the
ring for soldering nice fit and all. Now take the ring and add some
tension to it because you are going to put the solder between the 2
halves and when it melts you need the 2 halves to come together. Go
ahead and Boric acid and alcohol burn off then apply flux generously.
Now take your 3rd hand and put the ring in with the tweezers on the
stone, put in tuna fish can with water and leave about half the ring
exposed and the stone a few mm under water. Take you torch and put on
your largest tip and make the hottest flame you can lot’s of O2. Point
the flame right at the seam. The object here is to get on and get off
as soon as the 2 halves move together. If your water starts to boil
you are taking to long so crank up the heat. The reason you put the
solder in the slot is that it will make the ring act as 1 piece and
you won’t boil the solder. Robert Benham

Leda, Unfortunately, there is no safe way to repair such a ring
without some pretty drastic action. First or all, you must remove the
stone. There is no way to heat sink that large a ring and the heat
will get to the stone no matter what you do.

First, let me assume he stone is bezeled…not pronged. If the
latter, it is a fairly easy job. If the former, you either have to
use a jeweler’s saw and cut around the ring just below the bezel line
to remove bezel and stone. Another possibility is to cut into either
the front or rear shoulder of the ring setting and gently pry it apart
enough to remove the stone. I prefer the former.

Repair the cracked shank with hard silver solder. Prepare a piece of
flat bezel stock of a width and thickness that it will provide a good
hold on the stone and solder it to the top of the ring with easy
solder, where you removed the old bezel. Clean it all up, file the
bezel, and reset the stone. If you sawed the shoulder, you will have
to open the bezel, solder a piece of sheet silver the width of the saw
kerf into the shoulder, clean it all up and reset the stone. The
problem with this method is, often the bezel has tempered and will not
reset properly. So, I prefer to attach a new bezel.

All that sounds pretty involved but it really does not take that
long. Explain all this to the client before you do any work on the
ring and that there will be an extra charge to ‘rebuild’ his ring.
Believe it or not, I actually enjoy doing this work and to end up with
a beautifully restored piece.

Oh, and good luck. Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where
simple elegance IS fine jewelry!

    Hello all, I have a question about repairing a heavy sterling
man's ring set with a lapis buff top stone. There is a crack in the
middle of the ring shank...  Is there a way to safely solder that
crack with hard  solder with the stone in place? 

G’day; Yes there is but only if you have access to a really hot
oxygen boosted flame. Get a small shallow dish - a saucer will do -
and place the ring in it so the crack in the shank is at the top, and
cover the part with water which you don’t want to get hot. Preferably
ice water. Even blue tack will hold it if you’re quick with the torch.
Now flux the area around the crack and place a paillon of Easy solder
on it. Now comes the torch bit. You’ll need a very hot, fine flame;
you won’t get very far unless it is extremely hot. You can melt the
solder into the crack very quickly and remove the torch before the
head heats up.

If you have a ‘third hand’ clamping device, you can hold the ring
steady in the water with that, then when the crack is fluxed, pick up
a paillon of easy solder with a pick dampened in flux. Heat it until
it rolls into a ball; heat the ring with the very hot fine flame, and
holding the pick almost touching the crack, apply the ball to the ring
as soon as the flux goes clear. You need a very hot flame because
the silver will conduct a lot of heat down to the water very quickly
and it is a question of applying heat faster than it is conducted
away. Allow it to cool to room temperature still in the water. You
may pickle the shank afterwards, but take great care not to allow the
lapis to contact the pickle which will eat into it. Give it a quick
touch with a swiss file, go through the abrasive papers, polish, and
nobody will know. Unless they are another jeweller. – John
Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ

Hello leda,

Very simple, just put the ring in a small dish with water. so that
the stone is under water. Now solder the other side with a oxygen/ gas
burner. You need some heat.


We use some glass beads from our “bead blaster” in a shallow dish
with the the water to act as the stand for ring.

gianna in the new hollywood of ventura, california where john
travolta is crashing humvees in our downtown.

Leda - You will have to remove the stone to repair the ring unless
you can find someone in your area that has a laser welder. There is
no way to isolate the stone from the heat necessary to solder the
break. Steve.

Steven Brixner - Jewelry Designer - San Diego CA USA

Let me be a moaning Minnie, Back in the old days when I used to take
on repairs this sort of work used to fill me with dread. I’ve tried
using “cool Heat” a potato, iced water and papier mache. It will work

  • about 50% of the time. The rest of the time it doesn’t and you ruin
    the stone.

Turn the job down!

Tony Konrath
Gold and Stone

Leda - Some recommend immersion soldering, with the bulk of the metal
and the stone more or less protected by being under water. This is
the only way I know that you might save the stone, and only maybe,
because lapis has a lot of sulfur compounds in it and sulfur doesn’t
need much heat to get free and make trouble. In short, lapis is
verrry heat sensitive. Good luck!

Jim Small
Small Wonders

Hi Leda, The crack in the ring shank should be sawn through, filed
and closely fitted then if you absolutely cannot remove the stone(it
will be at risk if you don.t), try applying a heat insulating product
like Heat Shield or Kool Jewel to the stone and bezel…You must
use a very hot torch flame to solder quickly…yep hard solder is the
best…We have had good success with Heat Shield(from Rio), comes in
a spray can. But you must be very fast with the heat to keep it as
localized as possible…
Gary Dirks

Leda I have done this with an amber cab - frightening but possible!

I hold the ring in self locking tweezers as near the head as possible
and position this over a dish of water so that the whole of the stone
is underwater. A wet wad of something behind the stone gives extra
reassurance. Now solder the joint with a really hot flame (I had to
use an oxy-acetylene welding torch!). The water will sink so much heat
the very hot flame is essential.

Frightening but quite a sense of achievement - I probably wouldn’t
have risked it if I couldn’t have cut a replacement for the amber
though. Andy Parker, Agate House Lapidary Ulverston, Cumbria, England
@Andy_Parker Tel: 01229 584023


there are two good ways to repair your cracked silver ring. The
traditional way is to sufficiently heat sink the top of the stone so
the lapis won’t become hot. Usually with silver, this means literally
sitting the top of the stone in a container of water. At least,
that’s my favorite, since the various pastes and goos don’t seem quite
up to the amount of heat that will need to be dissipated with a heavy
ring. You’ll need a good hot torch with a large enough tip. with the
whole top half of the ring under water, the shank will require an
amazing amount of heat to melt the solder. Oxy/propane or oxy/natural
gas, or even oxy/acetyelene will do the trick, but not with some tiny
torch like a little torch with a #4 tip… You’d be there all day
with no luck. You’ll want a sharp hot flame, probably the sort with
which you could easily melt an ounce of silver… for casting. Be
sure to use a large enough container of water, since by the time your
solder melts, the water will be boiling merrily, and you don’t want it
to boil away. With a good hot flame, this will work fine. The
biggest problem you might have is with the torch being blown out by
spitting water from the boiling liquid where it touches the ring

And the second, easier method to repair this type of damage is to
send it to someone with a laser welder. the lasers can do this
easily, and with no risk of damage to the stone. And, the seam is
then a true weld, not an easily seen or even broken, solder seam. The
"filler" wire we use when welding sterling silver is not quite
sterling, but is close to “IT” solder in composition. It gives a weld
that is invisible on sterling, and just as strong as sterling.
Several posters to Orchid have lasers, and a number of them (including
my employer) do “outside” work for the trade. any of us could do this
for you.

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe

I use a bowl of wet sand, kinda nice for positioning the ring. This
works better than the water method for me, on larger object. Less
steam is produced to put out your flame. I do use the water in a
small measuring cup for colored stones in gold rings. have never
lost one yet, with either method.


All, Why even take the chance of ruining the stone? Cut the bezel,
repair the shank, rebezel the stone, and set the stone. Otherwise
have exact measurements of the stone ready to go on the hunt for a
new stone after you ruin the original.

Gerry Galarneau

All, Why even take the chance of ruining the stone?  Cut the bezel,
repair the shank, rebezel the stone, and set the stone.

Why indeed! Why trash the bezel? As long as the stone is immersed in
water, there no chance of damage.

Hello Leda: Yes. I solder silver with stones under water everyday. The
following is a web site with a step by step process.

Michael R. Mathews Sr. Victoria,Texas USA