February 1998


by Jurgen J. Maerz, Platinum Guild International-USA

Platinum is an extremely durable metal so prongs made of the metal will last a long time. However, it's sometimes necessary to retip prongs even on a platinum ring.

By definition, retipping implies the stone remains in the setting during the repair. There are a few things you need to consider before undertaking such a task.

The most important: never try to retip prongs with platinum solder. No stone would be able to withstand the temperature it takes to melt the solder. The heat would ruin the stone. So what should you do instead?

Use gold techniques when retipping platinum. The prongs are filed down so portions of them still cover the stone. Then melt a small amount of 14k easy white gold solder onto the tips.

With a small file, file a flat facet on top of the solder so that very little solder remains. Prepare a platinum wire to match the shape and thickness of the prong and solder it to the top of the prongs with the previously placed solder.

You can now bend the wire over the stone, cut and shape the prongs to match.

With a polished tungsten burnisher, remove the seam by burnishing the area and polishing the prong. The very fine seam will disappear in the luster of the polish.

Here are some important things to remember:

  • Be sure the gemstone will be able to take the heat. When in doubt, remove the stone before beginning to repair the prongs.
  • Always check the gemstones for fracture filling, and note any defects or flaws before performing a repair.
  • Use 14k easy white solder because 22k white gold solder is too close to the burning point of the diamond.
  • It's not good practice to rhodium-plate platinum. Its natural white color does not need to be enhanced.

1. Placing solder on the prong tip.

2. Tipping a platinum prong using platinum wire and gold solder.

3. Melting the preplaced white gold solder to attach the platinum wire.

4. Platinum wire soldered across two prongs. This allows retipping two prongs at the same time.

Next month: Sizing a Platinum Ring

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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