he advised me to put the ring in a small crucible with water
covering the part of the ring so the turquoise is protected.
Yup. That’s right. though you don’t need a crucible. I use the type
of shallow/wide tin can cat food or tuna fish comes in. The water
keeps the can cool too. While the water may well reach boiling
temperature, that’s safe for the turquoise, and the water cannot get
hotter than that. Physics and all that jazz y’know…
I did this and attempted to make the repair, but for the life of
me cannot get the solder to flow properly.
That’s the other side of the coin. Silver is an extremely good
conductor of heat, and that can of water is not only cooling the
turqoise, but it’s pulling the heat right out of the silver shank.
You need to be sure that not more of the ring is under water than is
needed. the bezel needs to be covered, and the stone, but not further
up the shank than that if possible.
And then you need a really hot flame. This will seem insanely hot
compared to what should be needed for that solder joint. The flame I
use, from my meco midget torch with oxygen and propane, would easily
melt a fairly good sized chunk of platinum, were it not for the water
cooling the silver. You may also need to have something over the
surface of the water, under that seam, to protect the seam area from
spatters of water boiling off where the shank enters the water.
That spitting stuff can blow out your torch flame if it hits right.
And for the same reason, eye protection. You may need some sort of
dark glasses with that hot flame to be able to clearly see when the
solder flows. You CAN get it to flow if your flame is hot enough, but
what you’re needing to do is pump heat into the silver faster than
the water can pull it out. That ends up being a fine and dramatic
demo of just how good a thermal conductor silver really is.
I should mention that if you have a smaller or cooler torch, such as
an air acetylene torch or a butane torch, etc, you may not be able to
get the metal hot enough. You need an oxygen/fuel type torch of some
sort. And a “Little Torch” also may not be able to do it with
anything other than a fairly narrow or thin shank, even with a large
You may also wish to use an easy, or at most medium, grade of solder
rather than hard, which you might have used to initially make the
And of course, you have another option. That would be to find
someone with a laser welder of a pulse arc type welder like an Orion
or PUK welder. These can weld up the seam in your ring without danger
to the turqoise. If you cannot get the solder to flow with the torch
you have, despite cranking it up all the way, then finding someone
with a laser or pulse arc welder would be the easy fix.
They’re a lot more common now than they used to be.