Seeking advice about enamel on a wedding ring

Hi Folks,

I have a wedding ring to be doctored; male, 14 K gold, ornamented
with three plates of black enamel, one of which has fallen out. It’s
a recently made ring, so the enamel plate didn’t last real long.

Looking down at it the configuration is like this:

[||] : [||||] : [||]

Side plate - 3 small diamonds - central plate - 3 small diamonds -
side plate

It is the right enamel plate which has fallen out. Moreover it has
detached cleanly from its gold substrate, there is no residue of
enamel left attached to the gold in the recess which it once filled.
Hence I’m guessing it did not adhere well or at all from the
beginning and was (likely) not “shattered out” by some sudden severe
shock. Moreover it seems that the left enamel plate is loose as well.
Also the now empty recess appears to my non-expert eye to be quite
shallow, only about 1 mm deep.

One possibility would be to replace the enamel with black onyx
inlay. But that would be costly. The other option is to re-enamel.
However, I’m not an enamelist - and that leads me to ask the
following questions:

  • Can new black enamel be fused into the existing recess (remember
    it’s 14 K gold) without heat-damaging the diamonds? Or do they have
    to come out?

  • It’s a fairly large area to be re-enamelled - about 6x8mm. Given
    that it’s a wedding ring & will be worn constantly & hence receive a
    lot of stress and battering, & also that the recess is only about 1
    mm deep, can enamel even be expected to hold up under these service
    conditions at all?

Cheers all,
Hans Durstling
in Moncton, Canada

I’ve known an expert with glass enamels to do repairs with
Ceramit(low fire resins) rather than go to the expense and all the
work involved in replacing the glass enamel.

Who or where was the ring designed originally? Maybe they should
repair it?

Good luck!

Hans- Is this glass enamel or two part plastic enamel? I do both.
However… as much as I love enamel It’s not such a good choice for
a ring that will get every day wear. Think about it. Wearing glass or
plastic every day on a ring?

I’d rebuild the ring and use anothe technique to get the black areas
if that is what the customer wants. Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

Here is my 2 cents worth: Remember I am not an enamellist, but I do
live with one!

It sounds like the design of the ring is at fault as well as the 14K
alloy. Enamel has a preference for a specific alloy probably 18K
green. With the second section loosening, the third is probably not
far behind. Most practical solution (aside from returning the ring)
is to use a black epoxy type resin and create undercuts in the gold
to help keep the resin in place. For enamel to survive on an 18K ring
one would have to have dainty hands and hand movements!

Charles Friedman DDS
Ventura by the Sea

Rio Grande sells a epoxi enamel which works very well on this type
of repair. No heat required and holds up well…

Vernon Wilson