Professional Jeweler Archive: Ring Shank Repair: Where Old Meets New

March 2000

For Your Staff: Selling Quality

Ring Shank Repair: Where Old Meets New

Knowing how to repair worn ring shanks professionally demonstrates another aspect of quality in your shop

Most people have a favorite ring – one they love nearly to death – and often wear it daily no matter what they’re doing. For them, the ring has the same sentimental value whether they wear it to the opera, to the grocery store or to work bare-handed in the garden.

But daily activities can damage a ring’s shank – the bottom and lower sides of the ring. Because it comes in contact with anything and everything, the shank wears at a much faster rate than the top of the ring.

The solution for a severely worn shank is to install a new full, half or quarter shank. When professionally done, a shank replacement restores the ring to like-new condition and readies it for more heavy-duty wear.

This month’s installment of The JA Professional’s Guide to Fine Jewelry Craftsmanship describes quality aspects of reshanking and the steps in this standard repair process.

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

Quarter Shank
Half Shank
Full Shank

1. Clean and inspect the entire ring. Check the stone for looseness and look for potential problems such as cracks or thin areas in the shank.
Worn Shank
2. Make sure the ring is round by placing it on a mandrel and making adjustments. First cut the shank and remove the worn portion. If you’re decreasing the size, push the ring down the mandrel to the intended size. If you’re increasing the size, push it up the mandrel. This ensures the remaining portion of the shank has the proper radius for the new size.
3. When removing the worn portion of the shank, leave the top part intact and maintain equal lengths on each side.
Lower Shank Removed
4. File the cut ends of the shank flat; this is where you’ll solder on the new shank.
5. Cut wire of the same alloy as the shank. The wire must be as wide as the widest part of the remaining shank. Anneal if necessary and form it around the mandrel.
6. Place the top part of the ring on the mandrel at the intended size; position the new portion to ensure it’s the proper length and fit.
Old and New Sections of Shank on a Mandrel
7. After you’ve aligned the pieces properly, solder one side with hard solder. Let it cool, then align the other side and hard-solder it.
Solder Together the Pieces of Shank
8. When the second side has cooled, pickle, rinse and inspect your work.
9. Continue the detail of the original shank on the new portion, filing a taper, rounding and reengraving any missing detail.
Reengraving the Detail
Filing the Taper
10. Mark with the appropriate karat quality mark in the shank.
11. Polish, finish and clean.

The JA® Professional’s Guide to Fine Jewelry Craftsmanship Ring Shank Repair

Professionally Executed Shank Repair

A. There are no visible solder joints and no pits or seams where the quarter, half or full shank was installed.

B. The transition between the original part of the shank and the new shank is smooth, symmetrical and even, with no dimensional reduction in any area.

C. Detail of the original ring has been re-created at the connection location.

D. The detail is sharp, crisp and even in appearance, not over-filed or over-polished.

E. The inside of the shank is smooth, has no sharp edges and has been finished to a new and lustrous condition.

F. The new shank is not too thick or too thin and is the correct finger size.

Potential Problems to Watch For:

New Shank is Too Thick

Original Detail Isn't

The pattern of the orginal shank ends abruptly where the new shank begins
This shank is too thick, was poorly soldered, and has visible traces of the installation
New Shank Doesn't Match Ring
Stone Damaged by Heat
The bench jeweler, too focused on the solder joint, neglected to watch where the overflow of the torch flame was directed and damaged the stone.
The newly installed shank is too thin and too narrow at the point of attachment

© 2000 Jewelers of America Inc.
This information is required for the second level of the JA® Certified Bench Jeweler™ program.

Illustrations by Lainie Mann – Visual Communications

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications