Professional Jeweler Archive: Protective Procedures

February 2002

Professional Bench/The Path to Proficiency

Protective Procedures

Here are two methods for protecting set gemstones during laser welding

Using a laser welder to perform repair or assembly near set gemstones requires care and precision. A gemstone can be damaged when a laser pulse of energy is directed into it or reflected into it from a polished surface. Here are two ways to protect set gemstones during laser welding, the first from Tim Felts and the second from Todd Vinson.

First Method

Before building up a worn prong on this 14k yellow gold ring, Felts covers the pear-shaped emerald with masking tape. The tape, which blocks the pulse of light from entering, allows Felts to perform this routine repair with the gemstone set in place. Not having to remove the stone minimizes the risk of breakage and significantly reduces the time required to perform the procedure compared with common torch soldering.

Second Method

Vinson covers the tanzanite and side diamonds set into this platinum ring with Burgeon Radico One-Touch putty – a watchmaker’s material available from watchmaker suppliers – to make a repair on one side. This putty isn’t sticky and can be removed easily. It provides a quick and easy way to cover all surfaces of gemstones, protecting them from direct or reflected pulses of energy from the laser.

By Mark B. Mann, Director of Trade Programs, Jewelers of Americ

Featured procedures by JA® Certified Master Bench Jewelers™ Tim Felts, Felts Fine Jewelers, Tulsa, OK, and Todd Vinson, Troy Vinson Jewelers, Fort Worth, TX

Photographs are courtesy of Jewelers of America

©2002 Jewelers of America

Copyright © 2002 by Bond Communications