Two Become One

March 1999

For Your Staff:Selling Quality

Two Become One

Soldering together a wedding set demonstrates another aspect of quality in your shop

by Wayne Leinkeit
JA® Certified Master Bench Jeweler
Wayne Leinkeit MFG. Paradise, CA

One of the most common modifications to wedding sets is to solder the rings together. Soldering together protects them from undue wear – rings worn on the same finger eventually wear each other away – and it ensures the two rings sit on the finger as they were designed to appear or as the customer prefers.

This issue of the Jewelers of America Quality Assurance Guide tells you how to measure and prepare the rings for soldering and what features signify quality in a soldered wedding set. The preparation and the soldering processes are both important in ensuring a quality result.

Features of Quality
These features are essential to ensuring quality when a wedding set is soldered together:

  1. Proper fit, with equal inside diameters.
  2. Proper alignment from artistic and customer perspectives.
  3. Soldered in two places.
  4. Good quality solder and proper soldering technique.




How Much To Solder?
Usually, it's not necessary – or even desirable – to join the entire back of the shanks with solder. That would make it almost impossible to separate the rings.

One major exception: an older wedding set with worn shanks may escape reshanking and further wear by being soldered so the entire backs of both shanks are fused.

Here's a closer look at each of these four points mentioned above.

Proper Fit; Equal Inside Diameters
It's essential the rings are sized properly before soldering and the customer fully understands how the final product will fit. If the rings are wide (or will be when joined together), use a wide band sizer to measure the customer's finger.




Proper Fit; Equal Inside Diameters

It's important the rings are the same size (inside diameters match). If they differ, the final product will fit like the smaller of the two. The inside diameters must be aligned properly also. Otherwise, the combined rings will be tighter than before being soldered. (Even when perfectly aligned, the set may fit tighter because of the added width of the combined rings.)


Soldered in Two Places

The rings should be soldered in two opposing areas – at the top and bottom or on both sides just below the center. If soldered only at the bottom, the rings can come apart at the top, leaving an unsightly gap.




Proper Alignment from Artistic and Customer Perspectives

Align the rings to maximize the artistic flow of the design. Sometimes it's easy to determine and maintain the intended alignment; other times you may have to bow to the customer's preference. If you can't draw or describe the proper alignment, physically align the rings in the desired position, then secure them with twist ties before sending them to the bench jeweler.






Good Quality Solder and Proper Soldering Technique

The solder should be high quality so it doesn't discolor the finger or the rings. There should be no excess solder and none used to fill gaps. The joint should appear as two separate rings. The final finish on all areas where work was performed should be like new, with no tool marks, pits or distortions.


Illustrations by Lainie Mann



JA Quality Assurance Guide
Soldering a Wedding Set

Properly Soldered Wedding Set

  1. The inside and outside profiles of the rings match and align properly.
  2. The design elements of the two rings align properly.
  3. The rings are soldered at two opposing areas: at top and bottom or just below the center of both sides.
  4. The finish of the joint is clean and gives the appearance of two separate rings.

Potential or Actual Problems

1. The profiles of the two rings don't align and may cause the resulting ring to fit too tightly.




2. The design elements of the two rings don't line up.






3. Excess solder wasn't removed. Take care to remove this material and finish it to look like two distinct rings. Also, solder was used incorrectly to fill gaps between the rings.



4. Discoloration from low-grade solder. Sometimes this discoloration isn't evident until the rings have been worn for some time.


5. Heat disturbed previous solder seams. This is a good reason to solder the rings at the sides as opposed to top and bottom.







6. Rings were soldered in only one spot and could come apart, leaving a gap.

© 1999 Jewelers of America
This information is required for the second level of the JA® Bench Jeweler Certification Program. Call JA at (800) 223-0673.

Illustrations by Lainie Mann




Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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