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Turquoise ring repair


#1

I should start stating that I’m a meddling self-taught beginner. I’m
reasonably adepting at putting stuff together, but have yet had to
repair stuff. My wife has tasked me with repairing this silver
turquoise ring that she bought years ago:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2384825/ringRepair.jpg

I had a look at potentially taking out the stone, but it would be
tricky without severely scratching it.

My understanding is that that the best solution is to put the ring
in a shallow bowl of water that will cover the stone and then solder
the ring. I do also have a tub of kool jool, but last time I played
around with it (trying to be clever with a piece of enamel) it didn’t
work out too well.

Any advice/tips most appreciated,

Jakob


#2

If the stone is in a bezel you can take it out very carefully. Then
do the solder. This ring I fear is too heavy for you to just try and
keep the heat off of the stone. One other choice is to laser it…

Russ
Russ Hyder
www.thejewelrycadinstitute.com


#3

I don’t know about other folks, but I do not solder on
turquoise/silver jewelry unless the turquoise stone is removed. I
know there is stuff to do it, but the chance of permanent serious
damage is too great for a good stone. If I can’t get the stone out, I
don’t mess with it. The exception is if the stone is expendable. That
is why I don’t glue turquoise stones into the bezel or base.

Good luck
Jim J -Soon to be a Texan again after only 30 years away.


#4

The first thing unmount the stone or stones then proceed as you
would with a normal soldering job.


#5

you didn’t show the stone! i recently did a similar repair, removed
the stone and sawdust, soldered the joint and re set the bezel
around the piece of turq. i used a thin pocket knife blade and very
gingerly eased the bezel back off the stone. i have found silver can
take a lot of abuse and be repaired, just short of
stretching/tearing.


#6

To support the ring and act as a heat sink, try sand with water to
stick the stone and ring in. then using soft solder, well fluxed,
you should be able to solder the split. however, making it round
again should be done before soldering. make sure that the ends are
clean and square.

john


#7

You are right, Kool Jool won’t work. Although it protects against
direct heat from the flame it won’t stop the heat travelling though
the silver and damaging the stone.

allow bowl of water will do the trick but, because silver is such a
good heat conductor, you will need a good large hot flame to do the
job before the heat leaks away. If the flame isn’t large and hot
enough you will never melt the solder. An alternative is laser or
PUK welding.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#8

Hi Jacob;

We need to see the stone and setting to give you useful advice on
this. My judgement is that this is going to be too much of a heat
sink for you to pour enough heat into it to get the solder to flow
while it’s partly submerged in water. Your best bet is to remove the
stone. Get a picture of the setting looking down directly on the
stone and I can probably advise you on a method of removing it.

David L. Huffman


#9
I had a look at potentially taking out the stone, but it would be
tricky without severely scratching it. 

If you try to repair with turquoise in, the chances of turquoise
surviving is almost zero. If you are careful you can take stone out
without much damage if any. Even if you scratch it, it can be
re-polished.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#10

When sizing sterling silver rings that I can not remove the stones
from (have had to size a lot of DY pieces for retailers):

I pack Kool Jewel all around the stone, then wrap the entire stone
area in a strip of paper towel, and dip the ring into water, to wet
the towel. I then clamp the ring upside down, but at an angle, so the
evaporating water is not below my seam.

I use a hot flame, and work as quickly as I can, to heat the exposed
shank, and flow the solder.

It must be hot and pretty quick. If it takes very long to flow the
solder, I am better off, to stop, dip the shank to cool it, and start
again. If the towel drys and starts to brown I am taking to long, and
the stone is in danger (STOP, start over!), but if I work quickly
this technique has proven quite effective.


#11

When sizing sterling silver rings that I can not remove the stones
from (have had to size a lot of DY pieces for retailers):

I pack Kool Jewel all around the stone, then wrap the entire stone
area in a strip of paper towel, and dip the ring into water, to wet
the towel. I then clamp the ring upside down, but at an angle, so the
evaporating water is not below my seam.

I use a hot flame, and work as quickly as I can, to heat the exposed
shank, and flow the solder.

It must be hot and pretty quick. If it takes very long to flow the
solder, I am better off, to stop, dip the shank to cool it, and start
again. If the towel drys and starts to brown I am taking to long, and
the stone is in danger (STOP, start over!), but if I work quickly
this technique has proven quite effective.


#12

Jakob. Do not, repeat, do not try to solder that ring with the stone
in!!!

Turquoise can be very finicky and in any event, you do not know what
might have been done to the stone in the past. Has it been dyed or
stabilized? Any heat will destroy turquoise but if it has been
modified somehow, it is even worse. You must take the stone out. In
many cases, what I do is cut through the narrow side of the ring and
through the bezel carefully. Bend the ring slightly just enough to
loosen and remove the stone. Use a thin sheet of silver and insert it
into the saw kerf. Solder it in and sculpt to the original shape.
Open the bezel. Now do what else you must do with the ring, clean it
up, reset the stone and your done. Again. do not torch a ring with
turquoise in it.

Cheers, Don in SOFL.


#13

Jakob,

Take the Turquoise out of the ring, do the repair and then reset the
stone.

Turquoise does not take heat without damaging it so do it the safe
way. Your photo did not show the top of the ring but I will assume
that the stone is bezel set. Take a flat graver and slowly lift the
edge of the bezel by working the graver between the stone and bezel.

Once you have started lifting the bezel you can use any number of
small tools to finish lifting the bezel and remove the stone. I use
gravers for the whole process but I have also use copper or brass
wire formed into different shapes on stones that scratch easily.
Hardwood can be used as well as a pushing tool.

Just work slowly and keep in mind that if you do scratch the
Turquoise, it is easy to re-polish the scratch.

Greg DeMark
www.natureinspiredjewelry.com


#14

I have always taken out turquoises to repair pieces that needed
soldering. There is often sawdust or cardboard under the stone,
which can cause trouble if overheated or soaked in water. I have
carefully worked under any thin bezel-wire type bezel with the point
of a fine Exacto knife, working my way round & round until I can get
the tip of a fatter knife in there, and just gently worked the bezel
back to open it up. It may not be as difficult as you think, and,
besides, turquoise can be touched up with Tripoli polish a lot of the
time. The knives are only scraping the stone in the area that is
covered by the bezel, except for the very first entry of the fine
blade, so there is not much scratching going on that will ever show,
anyhow.

(If it is a very heavy hammered bezel, I don’t think this will
work.)

M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA
http://www.craftswomen.com/M’louBrubake


#15

Jakob-you didn’t show how the stone{s} were mounted. If in a bezel
take a SHARP Xacto knife and carefully pry back the bezel and work
around the stone until you can remove it. If it is inlay, you will
have more difficulty in removing the gems. I have tried to heat a
silver piece using the submerged trick. Doesn’t work-remove the
stone.If you do mark up the stone a little, polish it with some Zam
on a treated buff. There are 10yr old kids on a mesa in Arizona doing
this everyday- you can too.

WC/wcsdesigns.com


#16

Work hot, I use an oxy/acet torch with a welding flame to get enough
heat on the seam with the rest of the ring in water. One nice thing
is to have the solder pallion already in the seam held there by the
spring force of the ring band itself. Use more solder than you
usually would because you don’t want to have to heat it up again. I
use past flux that holds up better under such heat. after the solder
flows pour more water on the seam. Turquoise discolors easily when
heated so work quick.

Sam Patania
Tucson


#17
I have tried to heat a silver piece using the submerged trick.
Doesn't work 

Yes it does.

But you need a surprisingly hot flame to do it. If you’d normally be
soldering that shank in air with a medium tip on your little torch,
you might not realize that with the top under water, you’d need to
bring out a much larger tip, or even another, hotter torch. With a
little torch, you might be able to use the largest tips when burning
acetylene and oxygen, but I doubt you could do it with propane. In
my case, I usually use a medium tip on a meco midget torch, with
oxygen and propane. And cranked up to a respectable size, and
neutral, not too soft a flame. That’s a flame that, without the
water, could quickly melt the ring into a puddle, or with just a tad
more oxygen, would have an easy time melting platinum… You can find
that the flame needed to solder a substantial size shank like this
would be one you’d normally expect to be using to melt a couple
ounces of metal in a crucible for casting, rather than one you’d use
for careful soldering. Silver is a wonderful heat conductor, one of
the best, so the water will drain away the heat at a prodigious rate.
Thus the need for a really hot and not so small torch flame. I
usually use a container like an old used tuna fish can for this, and
with larger shanks, it’s not unusual for the water in that can to be
almost or actually boiling before the solder melts, and that’s even
with working reasonaly fast. if you’ve got the right size flame, it
works just fine, and the stone portion of the ring never gets beyond
the temperature of boiling water, which most stones are happy with,
especially in situations like this where they warm up gradually
rather than instantly. If you’ve got something more heat sensative,
you might need to use a larger container so the water cannot heat up
that much. The most common problem I encounter, once I’ve got the
right size flame, is that the water right where the shank sides are
entering the water is sizzling and sputtering, which can sometimes
try to blow out the flame, so sometimes I have to hold something,
like a pair of tweezers or a bit of scrap steel or something,
between that spot and the torch tip to block the spatter. One jeweler
I know made a little steel sheet shield, essentially a bit of sheet
with two slots along an edge, which she holds with another tweezer
just above the water, with the shank sides in those slots. That
shields the whole solder joint area and torch tip from water
spattering quite well.

I’d recommend that the first time you try this, you do it with a
practice plain band ring (no stone) that you make from some heavy
silver shank stock, just to get the feel of it, before trying the
actual ring. That way you’ll know what to expect.

But I promise you, it DOES work.

Hope that helps.
Peter Rowe


#18

I say: Take the stone out!!! I have lots of turquoise ring repairs
under my belt and you cannot get enough heat on the shank to solder
when it’s in water and kool gel doesnt cut it… It is not too hard to
take out the stones. Use an exacto knife (with the blade dulled a
little with a rubber wheel) an pry gently against the stone to puch
aside the bezel…go slow and take your time. Protect your fingers
from the knife. I had a ring just yesterday where the stone was glued
in and I had to gently heat the ring to be able to pry out the stone.

Good luck.
Mary
Namaste


#19
Any heat will destroy turquoise but if it has been modified
somehow, it is even worse. 

Too funny, what is worse than total destruction ? I still remember
the look of shock when a classmate made a turquoise into a puff of
smoke.

My first jewellery class long ago, but some things you learn
forever.

Pull the turquoise even if you have to make a new bezel. Destroy the
setting rather than mark the stone.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#20

Actually, this message is for all who have been responding about
repairing turquoise jewelry.

Remember folks, the person asking the question is a novice! As he
has said, he has no experience in handling this type of jewelry or
repair work. I was very emphatic in my response that he not try to
repair the ring with the stone in. I have been repairing such jewelry
for going on 40 years but still IF AT ALL POSSIBLE will not leave
turquoise in the piece. Some of the and advice provided
is good and will work for experienced jewelers but certainly not for
the novice. So I say again to the person asking the question…do
not attempt to repair that heavy ring with the turquoise stone in
it…no matter how large it is or how it is set. There are many
ways to remove it, but again, as a novice is not necessarily familiar
with them, keep it as simple as you can without destroying the ring
or the stone.

Cheers, Don in SoFL