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Stupid Jeweler Tricks [was Cutting letters]

   Next time, coat the back side of your plate with solder
before you glue the paper down. This way, no matter how
delicate the pierced piece, it will be evenly coated with
solder when you are ready for that step. 

(note: title references me :wink:

DOH!! I never thought of that! Really keen idea, Tom! Gonna put
that right into use.

I used to do the glue and paper thing, but over the years have
found that when making block letters, it’s about as easy to just
determine the height and width of the letters and cut a metal
strip of that size. Saw/score a little dividing line between each
letter, then take your dividers and trace out the letters by
dividing each block into thirds up and down (making a 9 block
grid). You may need to fudge a little here and there, but this
works well for capitals. For instance, the letter “O” is the
center of the 9 block grid pierced out with a little triangle cut
from each corner. Want to make a “D”, only cut the corners on the
right. To make an “N”, layout three vertical divisions and then
strike a line from the upper right corner of the first bar to the
bottom right corner of the last, and a line from the upper left
corner of the first to the lower left of the last… get the
idea? Try it out on graph paper. If you get this technique down,
it’s an easy move to mixing caps and lowers and adjusting for
letter widths and font styles.

One of my favorite stupid jeweler tricks I stole from another
list member I worked with (Kathy Kelly). I get a lot of calls for
hefty gold bezels for large fancy cut diamonds and they are
really tough to find in the right sizes and thickness. I once
used this on a 21ct pear (oy, was that an UGLY stone!) First,
anneal sizing stock that’s deep enough to cover culet to table
and a bit. Grab a hart bur and dig out a channel that matches
the angle of your stone all down the length of the bar. To fit a
pear-shape, start in the middle of the length and make a C curve
that fits the back of your stone, then work the sides down to
meet in the middle with a nice neat angle on each end for the
point. For marquis, take 2 separate lengths and curve them to
match the curve of your stone. Then just cut and angle the ends
till you get a snug fit. When you’ve got a cozy fit, flux the
diamond heavily and s l o w l y bring the piece up to temp and
solder the points. Let it air cool on its own.

Be sure to check the stone has an even girdle and is free of
nasty inclusions before trying this method. If the bezel is to be
platinum, use 20K white solder on the seams. Don’t want any
oh-oh’s. BTW, these make really nice slides if you make the
bezels deeper and poke a coupla two millimeter holes at 10 and 2
o’clock in the back.

Anyone else have some “stupid jeweler tricks” to share? I’d be
tickled to hear your favorites :slight_smile:


TA DAAAH! Thank you, thank you, for my next trick…Have you
ever had a customer with either a real knuckle problem (like an
arthritic joint) or an unreal persnickitiness over the fit of
their ring? Sizing, speed-bumps, squaring the ring to conform
more to the finger, every trick (except the very expensive Super
Fit shank) is USELESS, the ring still spins on her finger. Well,
now there’s hope! Or at least one more inexpensive option:
Air-Line tubing, the stuff used in fishtanks. It’s a soft,
flexible clear silicon tubing of just the right I.D and O.D. for
the most commons shank sizes. Just cut a length a bit shy of 1/2
inch, slot the tube length-wise, and wrap it around the shank.
It’s clear, protects the shank from most any normal abuse, warms
to body temp. almost at once to conform comfortably to the
finger, and is far less unsightly than regular metal ring guards
(which I hate; they get caught on things, stab the customer, and
build up a real layer of crud on the inside). No, not every
customer is thrilled by it, and it’s not the universal panacea
for problem fittings, but it is one more option in the good
fight to make the customer happy and keep your sanity and good
cheer. AND it costs about .03/inch…I give out bags of a dozen
or two to customers who like them, and that list is growing all
the time.

Stay tuned! More tricks! More Mayhem! More Things to Do with a
Sharpie Marker!