Repairs to 9K yellow/white gold, opal and “white stone” ring
Dear Orchidland, I have taken in a friend’s ring for repairs. The
ring has a9K yellow gold shank, white gold stone setting, consisting
of 8 crown settings (sat on a yellow gold “ring”), which support a
top plate, into which arebead set 8 “white stones”. In the centre, is
a prong setting (8 prongs) forone 5 mm round white opal. My friend
originally sought the services of a jeweller because the central
(opal) stone has a large chip in it, which has happened recently. She
thought it was just a case of sourcing a new stone to replace the
chipped one, and setting the new stone. She was quoted more than she
could afford at the moment, and posted to a social media site out of
frustration. I responded, saying I would look at it for her, and see
if it was something I could confidently do.
She gave me the ring, and I took lots of photos of it before I did
anything else. I inspected it under magnification and documented its
condition. I thengave the ring a thorough clean and further
inspection. The back was full ofmud! The prongs “holding” the
central stone in place, are all different heights, the majority of
them not tall enough to hold the stone. The stone cameout very
easily! All the tips are extremely worn thin (and chisel shaped),
and some of the prongs are “waisted”, which to me suggested that
they may have had tiny cracks and been repaired. When looking in the
back of the setting, there are 8 rectangular pieces, which
correspond to the positions of the 8prongs. These are also at
different heights, protruding from the back of the white gold top
plate. They are also all surrounded by quite a lot of solder, which
is a slightly different colour to the white gold plate. I presumed
that these were the backs of the prongs, and that they were either
fitted previously as a repair, or were part of the original
fabrication of the ring. The ring looks fabricated to me, rather
than just cast bits soldered together, but I could be wrong. The
ring is her mother’s engagement ring.
It is obvious to me that re-tipping would not be a good enough
repair, so myintentions are to cut the prongs off, drill the bottoms
of the prongs out, and solder in new ones. I will then be able to
prepare the prongs and set thenew central stone, before finally
making sure that the surrounding white stones are still tight within
their settings. I got my friend to ask her mother whether or not the
ring had had previous work done, other than the obvioussizing seam
in the shank, also to identify the 8 white stones so that I knew
whether or not they were sapphires, so I wouldn’t encounter surface
etching problems (they are not sapphires), and to confirm the
fineness of the gold, as the hallmark is completely worn, to the
point of being unreadable. Her mom recalls that the prongs have
indeed had previous work done.
My instinct says that using solder paste to solder in new prongs,
would be abetter option than trying to fiddle about with pieces of
solid solder sheet, so I have ordered 9K easy white gold solder
paste. I want to position the new prongs using the paste solder, and
get in and out with the heat as quickly as possible, so as not to
melt any other solder in the piece.
I have a few questions:
Have I made the right decision to use paste solder?
What sort of prong shaping would be suitable for setting a
I have no immediately obvious method to remove the strange
rectangular pieces from the back of the setting, but can’t see
leaving them alone being a problem. Any input on this?
Will the new prongs need hardening somehow, and if so, how would
I do this once they’re in place?
My friend admitted to having worn the ring for everything. She is
extremely active, enjoying running and cycling and taking part in
marathons and triathlons, and recently took part in a "Tough Mudder"
contest, which involves literally crawling through mud! This is
where the mud cam from!!! She has promised that she will treat it
with special care once repaired, and only wear it for special
I hope I’ve provided enough for the goldsmiths on here
to be able to answer my questions. Any additional that
would be helpful, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.