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Resizing a Ring with a Pearl


#1

Hi all,

I saw a really beautiful one-of-a-kind ring today that I just had to
have, so I bought it! Only thing is, I need to reduce it down a size
and a half. Sizing it down isn’t a problem; however, it does have a
large freshwater pearl as the focal point. I don’t want to risk
damaging the pearl, so will simply using something like Kool Jool
insulate the pearl enough that it won’t get damaged? I’ve never used
Kool Jool on pearls-and as a matter of fact as I read further,
there’s a strong cautionary statement on the jar (not to mention,
that bright fuchsia color just makes me shiver). I guess I won’t be
pickling this one after soldering either.

Thanks in advance.
Tamra Gentry


#2

Two options…remove the pearl by soaking in acetone. or suspend the
ring upside down in a small tin of water, covering just the pearl.
Some jewelers would pack the pearl with wet tissue butt that’s a bit
risky, should it start to dry out.


#3

Can’t you take the pearl out of the ring or is it bezel set? You
might try wrapping the top of the ring along with the pearl in cotton
and submersing this in a can lid with water. Then resize as quickly
as possilbe. If the ring is gold you will have better luck than if it
is silver. At least I would, Silver sinks so much heat when you
solder it that it takes a while to get the heat right to get your
solder to flow. Again, at least for me. We used to use this water
technique when we had no other option. It can work pretty well.

Good luck
Dennis


#4

The easiest way, if the pearl is on a post, is just to remove it. You
can use Attack, the old fashioned way is to hold the pearl in your
fingers (so you can feel the heat - if it hurt you, it hurts the
pearl), warm the ring in a flame until the glue softens up. Another
way is to put the ring in a cup, covered with water, and put it in
the microwave for 2 minutes - the water removes the “no metal in
microvaves” thing. If you can’t remove it, though… I don’t like
Kool Jool. I use a melting dish filled with spent investment, which I
wet with water to make mud. You can also use sand, but we have an
endless supply of investment. If the shank is fairly thin, and you
work quickly, the pearl should be fine. If it’s a big fat ring with
the pearl really close to the gold, then removing it is an option.
For pickle just put a bit in a small container (film container lid
works) and suspend the ring in it with tweezers so only the seam is
submerged…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#5
Only thing is, I need to reduce it down a size and a half. Sizing
it down isn't a problem; however, it does have a large freshwater
pearl as the focal point. I don't want to risk damaging the pearl,
so will simply using something like Kool Jool insulate the pearl
enough that it won't get damaged? 

Remove the pearl by gently heating the metal at the furthest point
away from the pearl. Make sure your flame won’t accidently "kiss"
the pearl. Glue back afterwards.


#6

Check tip #19 in 101 Bench Tips for Jewelers: Place the ring upside
down (gems downward) into a tin can with water and enough sand to
stabilize the ring. Leave half of the shank or more, sticking out.
Solder quickly from underneath, with a hot oxidizing flame, and the
water keeps the gems cool.

Alan Revere


#7

Is it possible to remove the pearl? If not, you can submerge the
pearl in tin water cup, and just expose the ring shank for
soldering…this could take a lot of heat to accomplish. Just
don’t point the torch down towards the pearl!


#8

Remove the pearl before sizing and them re-mount the pearl. It is
probably set with a two part expoxy. Put the ring in boiling hot
water for a few minutes and the expoxy should give - remove pearl.
You can remount the pearl with a two part jewelers epoxy.


#9
Only thing is, I need to reduce it down a size and a half. Sizing
it down isn't a problem; however, it does have a large freshwater
pearl as the focal point. I don't want to risk damaging the pearl,
so will simply using something like Kool Jool insulate the pearl
enough that it won't get damaged? 

I heatsink just about every stone these days when I size a ring. If I
can’t, as in the case of large silver rings, I remove and reset the
stone and charge accordingly. With all of the treatments- filling,
oiling, heat treatment, dyes, it is much safer to be on the cautious
side.

Pearls are generally glued, less than 200 degrees F will probably
weaken the glue. I use a grey paste called Heat Shield- it has seldom
failed me.

Rick Hamilton


#10

Also, would you want to use a third hand to act as a heat sink by
grabbing the ring in the middle before the heat gets to the top where
the pearl is and sink the pearl in wet sand? I dunno know if that
would help or hinder. What does everyone think?

V.


#11

Hi Tamara,

Resizing a ring with a pearl - here are two methods that I use: 1.
Removing a pearl glued onto a post. Have a pair of heavy tweezers or
tongs handy. Hold the ring in your fingers at the pearl with two or
three layers of tissue paper to insulate your fingers; then heat the
ring shank with a torch letting the heat travel by conduction along
the shank to the setting. As soon as you feel the heat through the
tissue, use the tweezers or tongs to hold the ring and try to work
the pearl off the post with your fingers. There are risks with this
method, if too much heat reaches the pearl it will discolour or
flake, fingers can get hot. It is a balancing act. Get an idea of how
much heat you are putting into the shank and how long it takes that
heat to reach the pearl post. Once the pearl is off the base a
little, more heat can be used. I have done this successfully many
times. 2. Do the soldering using a Mudbath - a bowl filled with sand,
and water to the level of the sand. Sit the ring in the mudbath so
that the pearl is completely under the sand/water and the shank is
exposed. Solder the join in this position. This method requires more
heat in proportion to the wieght of the shank, and the type of metal.
Lots of heat is lost in boiling the water where the shank meets the
’mud’. The worst case is a heavy silver shank - for these I need the
oxy/acetylene torch on full blast, and melting the solder before
melting the exposed shank happens in a very narrow time frame. Thin
9ct shanks can be done with a regular torch, heavy 18ct shanks will
need an oxy flame.

Practise either method before working on an expensive item!

I am sure there are exotic welders or melting devices that will do
the job, but I don’t have them. So far the above methods have served
me well, after lots of practise they are no longer scary but always
require care and respect.

Cheers, Alastair


#12

Thanks for the tips and advice. I actually did it this morning–the
sand/water/tin can method (Tip #19) worked after a few attempts (the
shank is a little wider and thus a little more difficult to heat
properly). Taking the pearl out wasn’t much of an option to begin
with as there is a complicated network of these (hardened) little
finger-like prongs around it.

Thanks again!
Tamra Gentry