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October 1999

For Your Staff: Selling Quality

Retipping Platinum Prongs

Knowing the techniques to retip platinum prongs professionally demonstrates another aspect of quality in your shop

Retipping prongs is one of the most challenging repairs a jeweler is asked to do. By definition, retipping implies the stone is left in place while the repair is performed. The ability to do this well enhances the service you offer.

Retipping platinum prongs requires special skills. And, because more platinum jewelry is being sold today, the need to be able to retip platinum prongs properly becomes more important.

This issue of The JA Professionals' Guide to Fine Jewelry Craftsmanship shows the proper way to retip platinum prongs using the soldering method.

Features of Quality Retipping
These are the essential features of professional retipping of platinum prongs:

  • No visible seam at the prong tip.
  • Even prong thickness.
  • Matching prongs.
  • Matching metal color.
  • No damage to the stone.

by Jurgen J. Maerz, JA® Certified Master Bench Jeweler™ Director of Technical Education, PGI

Retipping Platinum Prongs

Thoroughly clean the ring and inspect the gemstone. Look for fracture filling and other features of the stone that may be susceptible to heat. This retipping procedure would destroy such gems.

File the top of the prong flat.
Using 14k easy white solder, melt a small amount on top of the flat spot.
File down the solder, leaving a very small layer of it on top of the prong. Then use platinum wire or a platinum bead and set it on top of the prong. Solder this to the top of the prong by heating the prong until the solder layer grabs the platinum and fixes it in place.
After the ring has cooled (do not quench), file the tip of the repaired prong so it matches the others.
At the interface of the white gold solder and the platinum tip, there will be a fine solder line. Use a tungsten burnisher to gently burnish this seam. In the polishing sequence, this line will disappear.

Retipping Multiple Prongs

  1. File the prongs flat.
  2. Melt a small amount of 14k easy white solder on top of each prong.
  3. Place a wire across all the prongs and melt the solder so all prongs are retipped at the same time.
  4. Cut the space between the prongs.
  5. File each prong so they all match.
  6. Finish by burnishing the interface.
  7. Polish the prongs again. They should match each other. When finished, all the prongs should look alike.

Special Note
Jewelers of America and the Platinum Guild International have produced a new 30– minute video featuring platinum fabrication skills. In it, JA® Certified Master Bench Jewelers™ demonstrate platinum welding and soldering techniques in a variety of applications. They also reveal a series of bench tricks used during platinum fabrication. To buy a copy, call Jewelers of America at (800) 223– 0673 or Platinum Guild International at (949) 760– 8279. Illustrations by Lainie Mann – Visual Communications © 1999 Jewelers of America Inc.

The JA® Professional's Guide to Fine Jewelry Craftsmanship:

Retipping Platinum Prongs

by Mark B. Mann, Director of Professional Certification Jewelers of America®

Professional Platinum Prong Retipping

  1. There is no visible solder seam or line where the new prong tip and the prong join.
  2. All prongs are finished with a high luster.
  3. All prongs match in size, shape and dimension.
  4. All prongs are in alignment.
  5. There are no visible tool marks or unfinished areas.

Potential Problems in Platinum Prong Retipping

Prong with a visible solder seam

There should be no visible seam or line where the prong tip and prong are soldered.

Incomplete solder joint

During normal wear, incomplete solder joints will result in a "broken" prong tip, the potential loss of the gemstone and the customer's loss of confidence in your work.

All prongs match

The prongs should match in size, shape and dimension when seen from various angles.

The prongs should be an equal distance from one another

The prongs should be an equal distance
from one another. The prongs should not be out of alignment. They should be an equal distance from one another.

© 1999 Jewelers of America Inc.®
This information is required for the second level of the
JA® Bench Jeweler Certification™ program.

The installments published in Professional Jeweler from February 1998 through July 1999 have been reformatted and published as a countertop book titled The JA Professional's Guide to Fine Jewelry Craftsmanship. To order a copy, call JA at (800) 223– 0673.

Illustrations by Lainie Mann – Visual Communications

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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