Professional Jeweler Archive: A New Technology to Manufacture Jewelry with Granulation, Bead by Bead, Part 3

October 2002

Professional Bench/Manufacturing Up Close

A New Technology to Manufacture Jewelry with Granulation, Bead by Bead, Part 3

Steece Hermanson produces a platinum and 22k gold granulated pendant

This process is being shown from start to finish in consecutive issues. Among the skills covered in the complete series are:
  • New granulation manufacturing methods using fusion welding equipment.
  • Bezel-setting round faceted gems.
  • Tack, pulse arc and fusion welding.
  • Platinum fabrication and assembly tricks.
  • Finishing and polishing techniques for platinum and karat gold.

This is Part 3 in the series; the first part begins on page 94 of the August 2002 issue and the second on page 78 of the September 2002 issue.

All components of the pendant have been fabricated, prefinished and polished and are ready for final assembly.
Hermanson marks the center of the pendant where he will drill a hole to install the 22k bezel.
Next he center punches and drills the location.
He uses a reamer bur to remove the metal for the bezel.
Then he uses a bud bur for the final metal removal and fitting of the bezel.
He test fits and inspects the bezel before prefinishing the pendant.
For the greatest contrast between the polished 22k beads, he performs bead blasting with a fine-grade blasting material from Rio Grande over the top surface of the pendant.
He fits the bezel until satisfied, then does the final finishing. This avoids having to finish the platinum later, when the bezel or granulation would be in the way. It’s also advantageous because the platinum and 22k gold have such different hardness.
The bezel drops into the slightly tapered hole and is a snug fit, holding itself into position. Hermanson solders the bezel using 18k easy yellow gold solder.
He tack-welds a jump ring on the bail before soldering it. The Tack II is set at 30 volts and on high energy. He selects the plier’s lead and uses firm pressure for a good connection between the two surfaces.
He then tack-welds a piece of platinum solder into position and torch-solders it for the final step.
Again, Hermanson performs prefinishing and polishing and prepares to set the tourmaline by measuring its diameter. He’ll use a high-speed setting bur that’s equal to or slightly smaller than the tourmaline to bur its bearing.
Hermanson continually checks to ensure the bur enters the bezel evenly so the gem will be level when set.
He checks the fit and ensures the height of the table is even with the wall of the bezel. He also makes sure he hasn’t removed more than 50% of the bezel thickness.
Using rubberized diamond abrasive wheels, Hermanson prefinishes and polishes the bezel before setting the tourmaline.
He uses a tungsten carbide burnisher to bend the bezel over the tourmaline.
The bezel material was difficult to bend with the burnisher, so he selects the Foredom #15D hammer handpiece. It has an adjustable impact setting and is set to low.

See the final steps in the manufacturing procedure of this pendant in next month’s issue of Professional Jeweler.

– by Mark B. Mann

Technical contributions and the overall process demonstrated by Steece Hermanson, JA® Certified Master Bench Jeweler,™ Galloway & Moseley, Sumter, SC

For more information on this manufacturing process, e-mail Steece Hermanson at SHermanson@FTC-I.NET.

For more information about 22k gold beads for granulation, call SPM at (914) 273-5500.

Direct questions about ABI equipment to Janet Kirk at (888) 494-2663.

This article was sponsored by ABI and Jewelers of America.

Copyright © 2002 by Bond Communications