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Soldering with gem stones in place


#1

I have soldered prongs w/diamonds in place and quenched them in
sparex while very hot never ahad a failure done this for 20 years.
Has anyone ever experienced a diamod shattering from such treatment?
I have also soldered rubies and sapphires in place succesfully but
am not sure that you dont get some color change in some cseses so I
remove colored stones these days.


#2

Ralph,

Yes I have been a jeweler for 35 plus years and with all the
treatments out there I dare say I wouldn’t retip any stone in place
anymore unless it definitely has not been treated. I have seen
diamonds change if they have been fracture filled, but they are
guaranteed so you can get them refilled at no charge. I think once
on a rare occasion an I-3 stone got shattered by quenching. It can
happen.

Russ
The Jewelry CAD Institute.com


#3
I have soldered prongs w/diamonds in place and quenched them in
sparex while very hot never ahad a failure done this for 20 years.
Has anyone ever experienced a diamod shattering from such
treatment? 

Yes. Don’t quench diamonds or any other stone. If it’s hot enough to
sizzle when going into the pickle, it’s too hot. You’ve been
unusually lucky, or perhaps have just not noticed the damage. Many
times, diamonds will withstand sudden heat shock (after all, hitting
them with the torch flame doesn’t break them), but all you need is
one with stresses or flaws in just the wrong places, and they’ll
shatter. No need to take the chance. Let it cool before pickling.

I have also soldered rubies and sapphires in place succesfully but
am not sure that you dont get some color change in some cseses so
I remove colored stones these days. 

Good plan. While high quality rubies and sapphires will take heat,
more than a few these days are either treated, oiled, or otherwise
prone to heat induced color change. Oiled ones just turn black. Not
good. As well, soldering heat with corundum, if there is any flux
present on the stones, risks etching and damaging the polish on the
stones (soldering fluxes dissolve metal oxides, and corundum is
aluminum oxide…) Even without flux, a too reducing flame can damage
the surfaces.

Peter


#4
I have soldered prongs w/diamonds in place and quenched them in
sparex while very hot never ahad a failure done this for 20 years.
Has anyone ever experienced a diamod shattering from such
treatment? I have also soldered rubies and sapphires in place
succesfully but am not sure that you dont get some color change in
some cseses so I remove colored stones these days. 

I don’t know how you’d get a stone to stick to anything, but Sappire
and Zircon can take well over 1,000C and Tourmaline (clean that is)
can take 700-750C, goes white and clouds at 800. Your Quartzes can go
500C then at higher temp opalize. Beryls same temperature, over 500C
go white and cloud. Garnets are uneffected by the highest
temperatures. Topaz will white out at 200C. But will stay clear as
high as you go. This regards temperatures up to 1,000C. Seems to me,
if you could tack the stones into the setting, it would be a lot
quicker and easier, but would’nt the solder reflect inside the stone?
And also, you’d probably scorch and smear a film over the facets, so
they would have to be repolished. Polishing a stone in a mounting is
difficult, but do-able on the crown, but the pavillion?? Impossible.
Not to mention what you’d do to coloration of stones with all that
heat. You’d induce color changes,even if the stone stayed intact. Or
destroy color, all irradiation induced color change reverts at max
500F. I think some lady is going to punch you in the nose when she
gives you a nice dark Amethyst and you hand her back a Citrine. You
gonna make my Green Beryl-Blue. I’m going to bring you the finest Gem
Indicolite and you return to me Green. Did not even discuss all the
stones you are going to crackle. Even at what I called safe
temperatures you are at great risk heating a stone. Stones have like
pores, like in your skin. and these pores can be filled with
microscopic liquid. You’ve seen the moving water bubbles in Quartz,
etc. That’s the same thing on a grand scale. Crystals can grow, stop,
then grow again, leaving space. This space expands and contracts on
heating. Bang! you’ve crackled Mrs Big Bucks’s stone. Now your for it


#5

I think we were writing about soldering near the stones and which
stones need to be removed to allow for repairs etc… Good advice is
that if there is a flaw visible under 4X magnification or less then
don’t heat it regardless of what it is… Solder will stick to
diamonds if the stone is heated to the flow point of the solder… I
do usually remove diamonds larger than 10-15 points usually retip
prongs holding any diamond smaller with the stone in place… If you
heat a stone make sure you don’t cool it too quickly as it will
shatter in some cases. These repairs on rings with diamonds are best
learned from an experienced jeweler in person…


#6

In todays world of treated, oiled & fracture filled stones the safest
way to handle any solder job near a stone/s is to protect the stone
with one of the commercial heat protectors (Kool Jewel etc) or one of
your own making that YOU KNOW works & don’t solder near any stone you
can’t replace immedeatly with one from your own stock (at your
expense). That good reputation you’ve worked so hard to develope can
go down the tube in a second!


#7

In todays world of treated, oiled & fracture filled stones the safest
way to handle any solder job near a stone/s is to protect the stone
with one of the commercial heat protectors (Kool Jewel etc) or one of
your own making that YOU KNOW works & don’t solder near any stone you
can’t replace immedeatly with one from your own stock (at your
expense). That good reputation you’ve worked so hard to develope can
go down the tube in a second!


#8

I have soldered prongs w/diamonds in place and quenched them in
sparex while very hot never ahad a failure done this for 20 years.
Has anyone ever experienced a diamod shattering from such treatment?
I have also soldered rubies and sapphires in place succesfully but
am not sure that you dont get some color change in some cseses so I
remove colored stones these days.


#9

I have a special name for jewellers that do this regularly.

I call them Customers!

Tony.
Anthony Lloyd-Rees.
www.TheGemDoctor.com
Vancouver, Beautiful British Columbia.


#10

I have soldered prongs w/diamonds in place and quenched them in
sparex while very hot never ahad a failure done this for 20 years.
Has anyone ever experienced a diamod shattering from such treatment?
I have also soldered rubies and sapphires in place succesfully but am
not sure that you dont get some color change in some cseses so I
remove colored stones these days.


#11

beleive the rule… of… thumb… red, white, green, leave in…
again… meaning ruby, diamond, emerald… that was before 'we’
learned to fill feathers… errr did i say feathers? … i ment
cracks…

Jim


#12

solder will stick to the diamond if you heat it to a point past the
flowpoint of the solder where the stone will glaze. When I say stick
I mean you could no doubt peel the solder off the stone with a sharp
knife or other tool but it does coat part of the stone and stay
put.I have not only seen it but have done it on a small stone just to
see if perhaps the one I had seen was somehow unique and it wasn’t.If
I had an excess of diamonds I would send each one of you one coated
with solder but sorry I don’t have a bunch of diamonds I want to ruin
today.If you try it on a small stone before you call me a liar you
might find what I say to be the truth…I had the same type of
reaction once when I said diamonds will float on water.In fact
floatation is one way the mines recover them. Yeah so who cares if
you believe it or not?


#13

you can BURN/scorch diamonds as well… If you 'Ain’t got the
bread, and/or you aren’t sure that the Big 'D" is or isn’t loaded
with ‘feather-filler’… best take it out… ‘Prongs are much cheaper
that Diamonds’… so I’ve been advised … especially if the customer
isn’t aware that the stone use to be a member of the 'bird’
species… lots of clear feathers!.


#14

I thought I should add here that cleaning the ring well before trying
to solder with the stone in place is very important. Best to clean
the item in the ultrasonic then solder. (barring stones such as opal
which do not like ultrasonic treatment of course) As for leaving
diamonds in place when soldering or retipping,I do it more often than
not and never had a problem but have seen others who have screwed up
in big way such as one who ruined a 3.5 carat stone.I think he’s
still paying for that mistake. I remove it if it is a stone that I
feel I could not replace.Usually I leave it if it happens to have a
thin girdle or perhaps a flaw hidden by a prong or etc. Risks of
breaking a stone or chipping it along the girdle when removing and
then resetting it are greater in some cases than the risk of damaging
it by soldering with it in place so it becomes a judgement call.


#15

I would not suggest quenching any gemstone. Even diamond is not
immune to severe thermal shock.

I have done many prong repairs while leaving ruby and sapphire in
place, but removing them is a safe precaution. My only disaster was
over 20 years ago, when a large, fine color sapphire split during
the repair. NOT a good feeling!

It turned out when we had the gemologist examine the stone, that the
sapphire actually contained a second, much smaller sapphire crystal
within it, and that small crystal may have expanded at a slightly
different rate, much like driving a splitting wedge into a piece of
wood. This sort of Xstal within a Xstal can exist in diamond too, so
I am very very careful to examine any stone I intend to apply heat
nearby.


#16

Ralph

At the risk of saying something you may already know, I would like to
advise you that boric acid will etch the surface of saphhires when
soldering. It can also etch other corundums, but not as severely.

I’ve also been tipping set diamonds (for over 25 years) and have
never seen any problems, although I had been warned about various
things (boric acid, solder, etc…) sticking to the diamonds.

One of my fellow jewelers once blew up a 1 ct. diamond while trying
to tip it with platinum (dummy!) It exploded like a fire cracker
(loud!). It had a large black carbon inclusion in it that expanded.


#17

I pretty much got off the bench in 98 but I wouldn’t do what we used
to…red white and blue…you are right cracks and fracture filled
stones have changed the rules…unless you have a laser welder.
Personally I wouldn’t guarantee any job without disclosure and a
signature to cover it.


#18

This is one of those areas where people stand at each side of the
fence and say

You should do it that way!
No, you SHOULDN’T do it that way!

Everyone is taught differently, I know folks who quench hot
diamonds. It can hurt a stone. 1 in a hundred? But why take the
chance? The only REASON to quench is time and if you work on 2-3
things at once, let it cool.

if it has a feather in the diamond, it can spread if quenched. And
with the all the enhancements done to diamonds (fillings and such)
why tempt fate?

I’d never do that to color and never ever thing about it with
cabochon stones.

You can heat on stones the color of the American flag Red, White,
Blue Rubies, Sapphires, Diamonds

and they have to be faceted, not cabochon.

David Geller
www.JewelerProfit.com


#19
I had the same type of reaction once when I said diamonds will
float on water. In fact floatation is one way the mines recover
them. Yeah so who cares if you believe it or not? 

Things float in water only if they displace a mass of water equal to
their own mass. Since the density of diamond is about 3.52 and water
is 1, it simply isn’t true. It’s possible that a small, dry, diamond
could ride on the surface rather like small insects that skate on
ponds, but that isn’t floating.

Diamond has very great affinity for grease. The method of recovering
them in mines is to pour the slurry that contains them into a water
chute lined with thick grease. When the water is turned off you can
just pick the diamonds out of the grease.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#20
Has anyone ever experienced a diamod shattering from such
treatment? 

Yes, Ralph, many of us have. While exceptionally clean, well cut
polished and stress free diamonds can withstand quenching from red
hot, most of the stones have flaws and internal stresses, and if
you’ve been in the habit of quenching them for years, I’d suggest
that either they’re not as hot as you think, or you’ve been
exceptionally lucky. This is simply not good practice, and I suspect
I’m not the only one who’ll tell you that. While not every diamond
will be damaged this way, and indeed, perhaps a lot of them will
survive, the ones that are indeed damaged will (thanks to murphy’s
law) be the one you cannot afford to have to replace. Just don’t
quench them, please. You’re not guaranteeing that a stone will
fracture by quenching (as you’ve found) but you ARE taking a
substantial risk, and it does indeed happen, all too often. If
you’re in a hurry, chill the piece with a shot of compressed air
first. It’s cooling at about the same rate a torch flame was heating
the stone, and this, diamonds will withstand. If it’s hot enough to
sizzle when it hits the water, though, it’s too hot.

Peter Rowe