|For Your Staff:Selling Quality
Knowing how to give a gem new life with a new setting demonstrates
another aspect of quality in your shop
by Mark B. Mann
Director of Professional Certification
Jewelers of America
Talk about a fun challenge! Nothing beats creating a new design with
a gem from a customer's old jewelry. Going through your inventory, reviewing
catalogs and sketching ideas open up an entire realm of design possibilities.
The result? A new ring that matches the customer's old gemstone with his
or her design preferences, taste and lifestyle. A remount is born!
Many manufacturers offer quality remounting products and services to
help with this challenge. These options include everything from remount
materials (mountings, heads and other findings) to marketing and promotional
Some manufacturers provide assembly and manufacturing services to meet
your customer's specifications; others even set up a trunk show and perform
these services in your store.
One new concept for exploring remount possibilities is a computer system
by Gemvision Corp. of Bettendorf, IA. The system allows you to show customers
their gems set along with new ones in various jewelry designs. It even gives
you the Stuller catalog numbers for ordering the selected parts.
If you do your own bench work or want to understand how someone else
does it, this installment of the Jewelers of America Quality Assurance Guide
is just for you. It focuses on signs that show the proper assembly and finishing
of ring remounts and offers points for inspection when taking them in to
perform standard cleaning and service work.
Features of Quality Remounts
Whatever the source of the finished remount, certain common inspection
points characterize quality:
- Proper fit and correct degree of contact between all assembled materials.
- Proper soldering and assembly.
- Consistency in the design and alignment of components.
- Secure stone setting (for quality features of stone setting, see Professional
Jeweler; February 1999, pp. 183-184; June 1998, pp. 165-168; and August
1998, pp. 129-132).
- Maintenance of the article's detail and pattern.
Here's a closer look at each of these five elements.
Proper Fit and Contact of All Materials
For remounts, heads are often soldered onto a ring pattern. The two must
be fitted together carefully; surface-to-surface contact without excess
solder is essential to the overall appearance, security and integrity
of the finished piece.
Proper Soldering and Assembly
Inspect the piece carefully to ensure the head has not been soldered
too high up on the wire portion, reducing the amount of contact and making
it less secure.
Consistent Design and Alignment
The prongs should have a consistent orientation. In this example, it's
8:00 and 2:00. Each of the heads regardless of its position on the
ring has the same orientation.
Maintenance of Detail and Pattern
Heads soldered across a ring can all face up in a similar fashion or
conform to the radius of the ring.
Secure Stone Setting
When the design is free-flowing, with a variety of heights, the heads
and ultimately the set stones should face up in a similar fashion.
Cold Solder Joints
Solder has flown around the perimeter where the head and ring meet. But
a cohesive bond doesn't form because of insufficient heat during soldering.
The result? The head and stone will soon break off. You can't detect this
problem with a visual test because it appears properly soldered. So apply
moderately firm finger pressure directly over the stone and head. It won't
break off if it's soldered correctly.
JA Quality Assurance Guide
Assembly of Ring Remounts
Potential or Actual Problems
- The radius of the base of the head fits properly in the notch constructed
for it, with at least 20%-30% contact around the radius of the base of
the head and the ring, with no "cold" solder joints.
- The head has been soldered in the correct position on the wire to ensure
adequate contact between the height of the head and the ring.
- The joint of the head and ring shows no visible excess solder and is
free of pits.
- When viewed from top and side, the head and prong orientation is consistent
in design and execution.
- Heads and stones have a consistent face-up orientation.
- All stones are secure. (See previous issues of Professional Jeweler
dealing with specific stone-setting methods, such as prongs [February 1999,
pp. 183-184], channels [June 1998, pp.165-168] and bezels [August 1998,
pp. 129-132]). The detail and pattern of the remount and heads are maintained,
free of tool marks, properly finished and polished.
There is insufficient contact between the head and the ring. In this
example, the contact is less than 5% instead of the required 20%-30%.
Inconsistent Orientation of Heads
From the top view, it's clear that random positioning of the heads has
caused the prongs to be oriented differently.
Face-up Angles Inconsistent
The finished stones are not "facing-up" consistently.
Excess Solder and/or Pitted Solder Joints
Excess solder not only indicates unfinished work, but is often a sign
the head is not aligned in the ring. Pits in the solder joints weaken the
bond between head and ring, threatening the security of the gemstones.
Base of Head Improperly Positioned and Soldered
The head/ring contact is further minimized when the base of the head
is positioned and soldered too high.
illustrations by Lainie Mann
© 1999 Jewelers of America
This information is required for the second level of the JA® Certified
Bench Jeweler program
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.