Professional Jeweler Archive: Fabricating a Three-Stone Ring, Part 3

February 2001

For Your Staff: Defining Quality

Fabricating a Three-Stone Ring, Part 3

The final part of this three-part series discusses the karat gold shank and assembly

This installment is the final in our three-part series dealing with the fabrication of a platinum and karat gold three-stone ring. It focuses on the shank formation and the ring assembly. (See Professional Jeweler, December 2000, pp. 28-82, for a discussion of the platinum prong assembly for the center stone and January 2001, pp. 102-106, for an explanation of the platinum gallery wires and wire prongs for baguette side stones.)

For this project, you will use a piece of 14k yellow gold about 64mm long and measuring 3mm by 2.5mm. This is enough metal to create a size 7 ring blank with a 15mm opening for the platinum stone assemblies.

The top illustration shows the entire three-part project; the middle illustration details this final part of the project.

This ring is one of three fabrication projects jewelers are asked to complete to become a JA®Certified Master Bench Jeweler.™
Steps to Fabricate the Shank

Here are the steps to complete the shank:

1. Use shank-bending pliers (bottom illustration) to form the stock into a size 7 ring shank with an opening of about 15mm. Check the shank frequently to be sure you’re copying the design accurately.

Forming the karat gold shank.
2. Use a 6/0 saw blade to split the shank until you reach the 10 and 2 o’clock positions, as shown in the design.
Sawing for the split in the shank.
3. Now split the shank by raising the upper arm. Many jewelers use a bench knife for this. Most methods cause both arms to be adjusted, but it’s important to adjust only the upper one.
Bench Trick

A tool modification designed by JA® Certified Master Bench Jeweler™ Jeffrey Mathews is ideal for this purpose. Simply slip the tool between the upper and lower arms of the shank, then use it to lift the upper arm without marring the metal or distorting the lower arm of the shank.

4. Once you’ve raised the upper arm of the shank to form the split shank, check it against the design specifications. The angles of the arms should match those in the design and be equal from side to side.

5. Carefully position your top assembly over the opening in the shank. It should be symmetrical, and the inside radius of the ring should match the inside radius of the top assembly. Use a sharp tool to scribe a line onto the upper and lower arms of the shank indicating where to trim the arms.

Fit the top assembly to the shank, ensuring symmetry, side-to-side alignment and proper fit.
6. Carefully trim the arms of the shank. It’s a good idea to leave a little extra metal and then file up to the line.

7. After trimming and filing, the top assembly should fit snugly between the upper and lower arms of the shank. If you need to make adjustments, now is the time. The design calls for the shank to be tapered in depth. The illustration and the two steps noted on the top of the next page demonstrate ways to evenly file the depth of the shank with a broad, flat file.

Use dividers to scribe short lines on the shank. The first line at the bottom should have the least depth. The next two should be slightly deeper and so on, until you get to the top of the shank and it reaches its full depth.

Another trick is to use an inexpensive circle template to help scribe a pattern on the shank. Offset the template slightly so the circle is wider at the top and has less depth at the bottom.

Prepare to taper the shank.
Many JA Certified Master Bench Jewelers develop their own shank variations for making three-stone rings. Besides the classic rounded or knife-edge tops, try developing your own fluted, convex or engraved patterns. These distinguish your work from your competitors’.
9. Hold the top assembly and shank together for soldering. Here and at the top of the next column are two ways to hold them.
Wrap with binding wire.
Use head and shank tweezers.
10. Solder the shank to the top assembly using 18k hard white solder. (Don’t use yellow solder when joining a white metal to a yellow metal.)

11. Finish and polish. Now you’re ready to set the stones.


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

Illustrations by Lainie Mann – Visual Communications


The JA® Professional's Guide to Fine Jewelry Craftsmanship

Fabricating a Three-Stone Ring, Part 3 of 3

By Mark B. Mann
Director of Professional Certification
Jewelers of America

Professionally Fabricated Shank and Three-Stone Ring Assembly
A. The shank and top assembly are aligned smoothly from all views.

B. The overall assembly conforms to the radius of the inside ring shank.

C. There is no excess solder at any solder joint or any cold or incomplete solder joints.

D. There are no visible solder joints.

E. The ring is the correct finger size.

F. The shank is tapered evenly.

G. The assembly has no tool marks.

Potential Problems to Watch for
These solder joints, flooded with excess solder, are not crisp. This is related to errors in workmanship.
The upper arm doesn’t align with the upper gallery wires from side to side.
The shank doesn’t taper evenly in depth from side to side.
The top assembly and shank have excessive tool marks in areas not visible from the consumer’s normal viewpoint.
© 2001 Jewelers of America Inc.

This information is required for the fourth level of the JA® Certified Bench Jeweler™ program.

For information about the JA® Certified Bench Jeweler™ program, call JA at (800) 223-0673 or visit

Illustrations by Lainie Mann – Visual Communications

For tips on fabricating three-stone rings in platinum, see the video “The Platinum Expert, Volume II – Fabricating in Platinum.” The video features three JA® Certified Master Bench Jewelers™ performing basic, intermediate and advanced platinum fabrication techniques. Contact Jewelers of America at (800) 223-0673 or the Platinum Guild International at (949) 760-8279.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications