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Resizing peral ring


Dear All,

I need help in resizing an 18ct gold pearl ring. The pearl is
set in a cupped dish and is awkward to remove… glued in. I
need to add approx 4mm of shank to increase the size. I have read
of suspending the ring in a capful of water and soldering very
quickly… Is this the best way? All help/ advice would be
most welcome. Many thanks

Felicity Peters in West Oz where spring is around the corner.


That would work, or heat the bottom of the shank and the glue
that holds the pearl will loosen so that you can remove the



Hi Felicity, you can easily remove the pearl with an industry
solvent called “Attack”, which works well, or you can "heat sink"
the pearl in any number of things, including water. In a repair
of this nature I generally sink the pearl into a tin of water,
suspending it with my 3rd hand, and then solder the piece into
place. Remember that you should never pickle a pearl. Good
luck, Mike.


Hi Felicity, If you cant remove the pearl with a little acetone
then the best way would be the water tick. I knew a jeweler who
would hold the pearl in his fingers, and solder with the heat
away from his fingers, if it got too hot to hold he would dunk
it in water and try again. I use the water trick at the edge of
my bench and direct the flame away\underside of the shank and
use a hot-tight flame, getting in and out as fast as possible.
god luck Bob Martin Hoff Jewelers St.Paul,MN.



I have an electronic soldering machine that works well for
sizing rings with heat sensitive stones. They are available
from most suppliers for around 200-250, I think. It takes some
practice to learn how to use them properly, and with a pearl
ring like yours, I’ll use a wet cloth or wet toothbrush on the
stone and top of the setting as a precaution. The process is
fast, so you can better isolate the heat to the area that needs
to be soldered. If you have questions, or need more info–let
me know Jim


Felicity, You might check the Orchid archives for more than you
probably want to know on this subject.If you have the piece of
metal cut to exact fit, placing in a “capful” ( I use a very
small metal dish with sand, which I add water) of water will work
if the water does’nt get too hot. Or hold in fingers and weld
that ‘perfect fit’ metal, this will need a shorter amount of
time,obviously!Under water will require more heat as the water
drains off th heat.OR, there is a solvent called Attack that is
OK to use with pearls(Rio Grande)Best to take out the pearl and
your job should be a breeze! Thomas Blair



I keep a soldering pencil around for just such jobs. As I also
use it for lead soldering, so first I’ll file away any lead
solder off the tip to do a nice clean job.

Place the heated tip against the inside of the shank just under
the pearl seat for a few seconds. That’s usually enough to
soften the epoxy glue to let the pearl slide or twist off. My
first few times I think I really put more heat than necessary,
it’s surprising how little it takes. Sometimes it takes two or
three attempts to fully remove the pearl but I’d rather do that
to keep the heat on the pearl to a minimum.

For grabbing hold of the pearl, I use pearl tweezers (flat ends
with little cups) for anything around 4.5 mm or smaller. For
anything larger, my fingers work great.

Hope this helps,

– John.


In most cases it is not necessary to remove pearls or, other
gems when working on the back of a ring shank. The key factors

  1. The metal - silver is most difficult to do this with and
    platinum is easiest.

  2. The shank thickness - thin is easier.

  3. The distance between the seam and the gem - farther is
    better. Place the ring upside down (heat rises) with the pearl
    in water or in wet sand. No more than 1/3 of the ring should be
    submerged or it will be too difficult to heat the seam area.
    Make sure everything fits perfectly before soldering. Use a
    hotter flame than usual, since you want to apply heat more
    locally than most soldering jobs require. The key is to go in
    quick, heat the shank intensely, flow the solder and get out,
    then immediately drop some water on the back of the shank.
    (That’s why you have a water gun around.) Never heat solder
    directly, but always heat the metal you want it to flow onto. As
    any skilled bench jeweler will tell you, it is a rare case when
    you have to pull a gem while soldering a shank.

Good luck and no guarantees implied.


Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts
760 Market Street . Suite 900
San Francisco . California . 94960 . USA
tel: 415 . 391 . 4179
fax: 415 . 391 . 7570
web site: http://www.



Simply soak the ring in acetone for a while and remove the
pearl, size and finish the ring & recement it with crazy glue.
Don’t fret about removing the pearl as it would likely loosen in
the ultrasonic anyway.



Hello Felicity: I
have made a web site showing how to do this. I have never tried
putting the heat sensitive stones in “water soaked sand”, but
some say it is the best method. Hope it helps.


Felicity, I have been soldering pearl rings with the pearls in place for
years.Here is my method it takes good soldering skills I use a little
torch.I take the ring and position the pearl so that it is being held
between either a third hand or heavy spring tweezers this acts as a heat
sink for the pearl.Then I put a tweezer on each side of the pearl on the
shank of the ring as close to the pearl as possible.Then I crank up my
little torch to a sharp hot tip the flame depends on the size of the ring.I
use easy solder and solder each joint quickly.After the solder has flowed I
imediately remove the two side tweezers and slip the ring onto my ring
mandrel this acts as a heat sink to draw the heat from the pearl.Removing
the tweezers and slipping the ring on the mandrel has to be done quickly
and if you don’t feel comfortable doing it don’t.I am a bench jeweler and
have done thousands of pearl and colored stone rings in this manner with
excellant results. If you don’t feel good about using this method drop the
ring in some acetone and dissolve the glue solder and reglue.Also if you
have a pearl and silver ring I would remove the pearl.Silver sucks up the
heat. Good Luck

J Morley

Coyote Ridge Studio


Sizing a ring without taking the pearl out is asking for trouble down the
line. I used to try it but ended up somewhere down the line replacing that
same pearl one way or the other if it’s an expensive ring especially. If
you can get it off using something like attack or something similer then
steam it off, but unless you have a pearl maker in the back of your shop
ALWAYS remove that pearl.

Matt the Catt