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Torch on raw diamond setting


#1

Hello all,

I enjoy lurking every day through the comments and adding input when
I can. Now I need help with a unique situation I’m not sure how to
handle because of the natural diamond…

A woman wants to take her husband’s gold wedding band and create
three pieces of jewelry out of it. He was tragically killed by a
drunk driver early this year and left behind her and their two
children, so this is an especially poignant piece with a lot of
sentimental value. The center part of his ring is an oval that
contains a tiny raw diamond that the husband and wife got in Africa
while serving in the Peace Corps before getting engaged (it was found
on the ground and kept exactly as they got it in its natural state).
She wants the oval to be cut as a whole from his ring with the
diamond intact, and then set on top of hers. 20

My question is this: how safe is it to keep a raw diamond in its
setting and solder right on top? Is there more of a risk of it
cracking under heat b/c it’s raw? It has two large bead-type prongs
to hold the irregular-shaped stone in place and I don’t want to pull
it out and reset it if I don’t have to. But I also don’t want
anything to happen to a stone I can’t replace.

Thanks for all your expertise,

Jeni


#2

Jen -

I have made a ring that incorporates a raw diamond in it. My design
required that I melt the gold prongs down to its irregular surface.
(properly fluxed to protect the surface) While it survived without
cracking, it did change color. There was a lot of internal
’schmutz’, probably minute organic crud I couldn’t remove (there’s a
reason it was left raw and never faceted), that darkened the
overall presentation of the diamond.

This may or may not happen to the one you will deal with. A diamond
can withstand direct heat, but the first time you won’t know what
the outcome will be until after the fact. If your client finds that
acceptable, then I say ‘go for it’.

best regards,
Kelley


#3

Jeni,

If you do not want to re set the stone. Then you can apply the torch
carefully, but remember not to quench it right after as there would
be a possibility of moist development inside the diamond. Let the
metal and diamond cool first before quenching. Our Jewelry store
repairs hundreds of old cut/raw diamonds per year and we use this
method every time. So far we haven’t had any damages done to any
diamonds at all.


#4

Jeni- Why not treat the oval section with the diamond like a stone
and make a bezel on the top of the ring and set the whole section
with out heat. You could also set it from below. Cut an oval out of
the top of the ring and then set your old section with the diamond
from inside the ring. Even though it’s a small crystal I shudder at
the thought of harming it. I’m more scared of a family heirloom than
a new very expensive piece. I can replace a stone, but not the
memories or love that went into it. It’s a very real responsibility
that we don’t usually talk about. We are often the stewards of
memories and family history as much as stones and metals.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#5

Make sure you Clean It before working on it! Does the current setting
have a jure or cleanout holes in the mounting? Hope fully it does.
You need to carefully make sure it is clean before any torch work and
since it is an uncut stone I’d get a damage waiver as well. You
cannot verify that the gem has no fissures into which twenty years of
human skin oil have seeped! If this were my job I’d carefully explain
the risk to the customer and let it be their decision. Then I’d boil
the ring in a solution of lye water for about four hours to remove
any organic material and then into the ultrasonic for a couple of
hours after that I’d steam it off. If the mounting has no cleanout
holes there still may be stuff underneath it that could combust
leaving a smoky coating on the gem. If that happens you’ll need to
pull the gem and clean it carefully by hand and or with nitric or
hydrochloric acid. Remember to firecoat the gem with boric acid just
as you would any cut diamond before heating. Obviously the safest
course would be to pull and reset the stone. I must admit I’ve not
worked on any totally uncut stones. You could also email Todd Reed
(famous for his work featuring uncut dia.) and ask if further
precautions are needed for uncut goods. You might also contact Mark
Haughton ( Rock Deco) he sells uncut goods and nice chalcedony ( I’m
a satisfied chalcedony customer). Feel free to email me back off list
if you can’t find these two folks.

Eat well tomorrow!
Michael Edwards