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Working with platinum


#1

Hello everybody, I need some help from the group as soon as I can
get it. I have a wholesale repair shop inside a chain store and
have found myself in a dilemma over platinum. I used to solder
white gold heads onto platinum semi-mounts with 14k white easy
solder because I had trouble polishing platinum heads after
setting. Then I read about the jeweler that was asked to replace a
diamond because the head fell off due to a faulty bond of white
gold and platinum. I’ve told the sales people at the store that
I’m afraid to do this anymore until I get some answers. I would
like to hear what is considered the correct way to handle platinum
semi-mounts. What will polish platinum heads and shanks? Can I
solder 18k yellow gold bands to a platinum band and use 18k easy or
hard? I won’t be exposed to casting with platinum but all other
phases may come my way. Any discussion about platinum will be
appreciated. Thanks for all of the knowledge everyone so
graciously shares through orchid. I constantly learn from it and
am reminded that the more you know, the more you realize you have
to learn… Patty in Missouri


#2
    I have a wholesale repair shop inside a chain store and have
found myself in a dilemma over platinum.  

Hello PatFrom owner-orchid Sat May 23 00:52:06 1998
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Well I stand corrected and guess I need to take the class, I
apologize for being a know it all, I should have done my home work.
Thanks for the info and I’ll be intouch, I’ve had your book for
awhile and need to read it also.
Again thanks Matt Whitehead
Up in Sants Rosa


#3

Dear Patty in Missouri,

I’m not quite sure what you mean by “semi-mounts”, but I do use a
lot of platinum in conjunction with other gold alloys. In
Australia, we use mostly pure platinum or a 5% copper-platinum
alloy which is a little harder than the pure. As you probably
already know, we don’t normally make in 14ct - in Oz it’s usually
9ct and 18ct. However there is an increasing amount of 14ct
mass-produced stuff coming in from Asia.

When I’m soldering platinum to 18ct yellow gold, I have found that
18ct medium yellow gold solder seems to make for a trouble free
and secure join. I prefer to presolder by melting the medium solder
onto the platinum first, then place it in position on the 18ct
yellow gold component and literally pull it down onto the gold by
favouring the gold with the most heat as I’m soldering.

I use a flux called Auflux. I don’t know if you have this in the
’States; it’s a greenish coloured liquid.

I don’t like using platinum on any lesser quality than 18ct,
because the extra alloy in lower carat golds seems to create more
oxidisation which may cause problems in the solder join.

As for polishing, I carefully buff off file marks with a 1200 grit
emery paper stick, then brush with brown tripoli, then brush and
buff with green rouge, then finally brush and buff with red rouge.
It almost goes without saying that I have separate brushes and
buffs for each compound, cleaning the piece between each subsequent
polishing stage, then finishing with a very soft lambswool buff for
my red rouge.

I hope this helps. It’s helped me for the past forty years.
Regards, Rex from Oz.


#4
 I used to solder white gold heads onto platinum semi-mounts with
14k white easy solder because I had trouble polishing platinum
heads after setting.  I would like to hear what is considered the
correct way to handle platinum semi-mounts.  What will polish
platinum heads and shanks?  Can I solder 18k yellow gold bands to
a platinum band and use 18k easy or hard?

Hi Patty,

Its a standard practice to solder on platinum heads with white
gold solder, even on platinum mountings. That’s so you or the next
jeweler can change or remove the head easily at a later date.
Whether you use hard or easy is up to you but hard is preferred.
Having the head break off is a problem with the soldered seam, not
the choice of solder. As far as polishing the heads, you need to
have them perfectly polished BEFORE you solder them on. You still
will have to use a stiff wheel to polish the solder after soldering
but the head itself should be done first. If you are having trouble
polishing platinum you may want to buy the platinum polishing
sample kit from Gesswein. It has four compounds that when used
consecutively will ease your troubles. I use emery cake, gray star,
white 8000 and carrot in that order, you need to have buffs
designated and marked for each compound. You need to hold the head
by one prong in smooth pliers with the base of the head away from
you and remove the lines on the back of the prongs with an emery
stick of rubber wheel. Then still holding it with the base away
from you begin to polish using each step, until shiny. Then when
you solder it in its perfect, no need to worry about polishing
anything but the solder. I have always gone over the contact points
with a file before soldering, just for good measure.

Its the same for platinum mountings or fabricating in platinum.
Its much easier to polish the separate pieces as you go than to
assemble the whole thing and then try to polish it. With platinum
shanks or mountings you need to be sure to use progressively
smoother grits of emery before beginning to polish, it makes it
much easier. If you use the polishing compounds designed for
platinum you won’t believe how great your results are. And yes, you
should use 18k yellow solder to join platinum and 18k yellow.
Whether you use hard or easy is your choice. It is very important
to polish the platinum perfectly first or you will remove too much
of the 18k when trying to polish the platinum after assembly.

Hope that helps a little bit.

Mark P.
WI… and no that wasn’t me who won the 170 million.


#5
 I use emery cake, gray star, white 8000 and carrot in that
order, you need to have buffs designated and marked for each
compound

Correction, thats white 1500. Sorry about that.

Mark P.
Wi


#6

Boni,

You might want to try the Platinum Guilds Technical Hotline at
714-760-8882. The man who will answer your quesitons is Jurgen
Maerz, who posts to this forum occasionally. The guild has
publications which they will send you for free about working with
platinum.

Hope this helps.

Sharon Ziemek


#7

Hello Patty:

Like you, I run the repair and fabrication shop inside a retail store and
I have learned to use l4k white CADNIUM FREE solder. This is important as
I understand that the cadnium will migrate into the platinum & make it
become brittle. Otherwise, polish the head before soldering as (you
probably know this) they are somewhat difficult to polish. There is a
special, highly abrasive polishing compound used for platinum which, when
used on a flannel buff, will remove all emery marks before using
Fabulustre or Zam to finish. Hope this helps; Steve K.


#8

Like you, I run the repair and fabrication shop inside a retail store
and I have learned to use l4k white CADNIUM FREE solder. This is
important as I understand that the cadnium will migrate into the
platinum & make it become brittle. Otherwise, polish the head before
soldering as (you probably know this) they are somewhat difficult to polish.
here is a special, highly abrasive polishing compound used for platinum which,
when used on a flannel buff, will remove all emery marks before using
Fabulustre or Zam to finish.

I dont recommend the use of 14k white solder for soldering heads to a
platinum ring. The color is off and the solder may not be strong enough to
do the job. If you need to use gold solder at all, a better choice would
be the 19k white weld solder that is available in the industry. It has the
closest color match and is very strong. I understand that on many
semi-monts the welding or platinum solder technique will damage the
stones, so there is justification for the use of the solder. In the rare
case when a platinum head needs to be re-tipped, I use 14k white easy
solder to slder a PLATINUM bead to the top of the platinum prong. This
then, when filed will make the re-tipping possible. The only reason for
the 14k easy white is the fact that I don’t want to expose the diamond in
the setting to any more heat then I absolutely have to. As far as the
polishing is concerned, while Zam or Fabulstre give a decent shine,
polishing compounds such as the ones especially made for Platinum, are by
far superior. There is a sampler kit that one can obtain from jewelry
suppliers that contains four different compounds. A 800, 1500, 4000 and
8000 finish. These compounds really do the job. Just use a buff only for
platinum and not for all metals, and keep the grits seperate as you would
tripoly and rouge.For more technical help, feel free to call me at 949
760-8279, or leave a mssg on our 24hr platinum hotline at 949 760 8882

PLATINUM GUILD INTERNATIONAL USA
Jurgen J. Maerz
Manager of Technical Education, JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler


#9

Dear Jurgen:

Thanks very much for your I am fairly new to the art of
working with platinum and so, appreciate any I can get. I do,
however have one question…If you would not use l4k white solder to
install a platinum head because you feel it would not be secure, why then
would you use l4k white solder to retip a prong on a platinum head? I
have always used l4k welding solder for all retipps and never had any
trouble. Many thanks in advance; Steve K.


#10

have always used l4k welding solder for all retipps and never had any
trouble. Many thanks in advance; Steve K.

When I re-tip a pt prong, I file the top flat, place a small piece of 14kw
solder on top and melt it. I then file it flat again, removing most of the
bulk of the solder so that I can match the platinum wire or bead to that
surface. The tips will be made of Platinum and not welding solder.When
placed on top, it takes very little effort to attach the Pt bead or the
wire. Once soldered in place, I file it to match the rest of the prong.
You see, the tip does not by any stretch of the imagination require the
strenght a complete head would need. Also, the stone has not been heated
significantly as to cause damage. A welding solder will heat the stone
close to the burning point, and I don’t like to take a chance with that.
Also, ALWAYS check for fracture filling , nomatter how you re-tip.I hope
that helps and explains it. In the “Platinum Expert” video, the re-tipping
technique is shown in detail. Here is a little trick for you: If you need
to re-tip four or six prongs and do not want to exchange the head, make a
wire jump ring that covers all the tips, tin the tips with solder as
discribed above, place the jump ring on top, and with a soft soldering
flame melt the solder all around. Now all you need to do , is to remove
the space in between each prong with a saw or a seperating disc , file the
prongs and you have re-tipped all of them. This technique works in any
metal. Have a platinum day PLATINUM GUILD INTERNATIONAL Jurgen J. Maerz
Manager of Technical Education JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler