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Sizing a Ring the Hard Way

I need some help with the following problem: A few years ago I made a
" Ring of Stones" for a friend which consists of ten 5mm lab-grown
star sapphires set in Fine Silver. It is a single row of stones which
go completely around the finger, so all that shows are the stones in
their bezels. The ring is slightly too large for her finger. The
only way these rings can be sized is to remove one whole setting of
stone and bezel. I have already determined that if I do this the
ring will end up being too small. After much hard thinking about a
solution, I finally decided to make an inner ring which is exactly
the right gauge so that it fits her finger and the inside of the
larger ring. However, I can’t figure out how to attach it (Once
attached it will not show from the outside.) I am afraid to solder
it because it backs on the stones and I don’t know if they can handle
the heat and/or the pickle. I am afraid that epoxy wont work, or will
wash out very quickly. Any ideas about how to handle this? I would
appreciate any and all suggestions. Thanks ! Sandra

Hi Sandra, How about making the inner band about 2mm wider than it
needs to be (sticking out 1 mm on each side) and burnishing or
"gently" hammering it up around the original ring? Kind of like a tube
rivet? A large dapping punch as a support beneath would help get the
bottom going in the right direction as you work on the top. Flip the
ring frequently to keep everything even and in balance.

Just an idea…

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Rex & Gabrielle Merten Dear Elegant Bee, perhaps you could try filing
a pronounced chamfer off each inner corner of the shank, then make up
your inner ring so that it projects about one mm from each side.
Burnish the projecting metal into the chamfer. Fine silver is so soft
that you shouldn’t have any trouble moving the metal. It would be
similar to pushing metal over a gem in bezel setting, except you’d be
doing it around the inside of the shank. A light file and emery
cleanup and polish would have your inner ring firmly in place.
Synthetic sapphires will happily go through fire if you wanted to
solder, just don’t let any flux get on the gems, otherwise it may etch
into their surface. Kind regards, Rex from Oz

Hi. Going on the assumptions that the inside of the old ring is not
exactly flat across the inside, you could make a band that is smaller
than required but fits as tight as possible inside the ring. Then
stretch the inter band up to the correct size. This should very
slightly stretch the original ring also. If you alternate sides when
stretching, you should end up with the inner band very securely
locked into place and it should be tight enough so as not to turn.
Your inner band will need to be cast though, The solder joints don’t
take to well to stretching.

The sapphires should take the solder without problems as long as they
are coated well with a fire scale preventive and are not overheated.
The only concern is whether the rutile fibers which cause the star
will stay crystallized. I believe that the temperature required to
melt the rutile is much higher than you will generate in any solder
operation. You can cast in place with these stones so they should
stand at least the temperature of soldering. The pickle isn’t a
problem. I wouldn’t leave them in the pickle overnight but a normal
10 to 20 minutes in a standard pickle will not hurt them. Thermal
shock is your main concern. Slow heating and cooling will save the stones.

Sandra, In the automotive industry, when the gear that the starter
engages to turn the flywheel is mounted on the flywheel, it is not
welded or bolted or fastened in any other way, but rather “shrunk to
fit”. They make the ring gear slightly too small to fit around the
flywheel, then the flywheel is cooled and the ring gear is heated to
the point where it has expanded enough to fit. This is also the way
the old wheelwrights put the iron bands around the wooden wheels for
carriages, heating the band til it was large enough, then cooling it
as soon as it is in place.

I don’t know for sure if the amount of expansion would be sufficient,
but if you were to make the inner ring just barely too big to fit,
then use a combination of heating (carefully! of course :wink: the
original ring and cooling the inner one, then force them together and
cross your fingers, it might work.

It might also work to just force them together without worrying about
the heat, as fine silver is pretty malleable. That might be better
anyway, since heating the stones might be a problem.

Here’s another thought: make the inner ring just a smidgen wider,
then flare the edges and work them to a larger diameter, just like a
rivet. You don’t have to have a lot of material projecting beyond the
original ring’s width, just the slightest bit of it worked over the
edge of the outer ring. In fact, you could bevel the original ring
just a bit and fill that space with the flare from the inner, and
burnish over the line between them to the point where it would just
about disappear.

Loren @Loren_S_Damewood1

Sandra, after you make the inner band and secure it so it stays in
place, have someone laser weld it permently in place. You don’t even
need to weld it all the way around, just weld it in about 4 places on
each side.

Lary Seiger

Hi from Sunny Seattle, If there is a space between the bezels I would
try to solder (with very low temp gold solder) a couple of beads
inside. Also, if again there is a space between the bezels, you could
fit your shim in and rivet it (very gently!) from the top and maybe
even incorporate them into your design. Just some thoughts…
Good luck Benee in Bellevue

Hi Sandra; Go ahead and solder it with silver solder. Those lab grown
stars (usually referred to as Linde Star Saphires) are quite able to
withstand the heat of soldering. Natural star saphires DO NOT take
heat well. Just allow the piece to cool down normally on your bench
soldering pad. . .don’t forget and quench it . . (.although I may try
that on a Linde some time just to see how tough they are). By the
way, don’t be surprised when you heat them up to see them change
colors dramatically. They’ll return to their previous shade as soon
as they cool back to room temperature.

David L. Huffman

I like your idea of using the sleeve sized to the right size. I
recently did the same thing for a platinum eternity ring. I in fact
used two sleeves so it would be possible to still clean the diamonds
from the inside. After all was soldered together, I filed, sanded and
otherwise finished the excess metal so that the work was hidden.

Were I you, depending on the ring, I would probably solder the sleeve
with an easy flowing silver solder. I would be careful to not flux
nor coat the sapphires and I would heat everything gently. Synthetic
star sapphires are extremely tough and can stand up to a lot of heat.


sandra - here’s a suggestion on adding an inner ring to decrease the
diameter: make your inner band, out of fine silver if you can (more
malleable than sterling), just a little wider than the finished ring.
slip or use rawhide mallet to tap it inside the ring & put it onto a
metal ring mandrel. find either a piece of pvc/platic pipe about the
same diameter or a tad larger as the inner band and slightly longer
than the part of the mandrel that sticks out of the ring. upend the
mandrel & start tapping on the pipe as though you’re enlarging a ring
shank. on a tapered mandrel remove & turn the other way; repeat as
needed. you won’t need much tapping if the inner band was close
enough when you made it, but it does need to be checked by turning
the outer ring as strongly as you can with your fingers (people, do i
need to explain why to not use pliers??) before removing it from the

take the whole mess & grind the inner ring edge down to that of the
original ring, polish it & ‘bob’s your uncle’. the tension should
hold it in there until her grand daughter inherits it. good luck -