Professional Jeweler Archive: A New Technology to Manufacture Jewelry with Granulation, Bead by Bead, Part 2

September 2002

Professional Bench/Manufacturing Up Close

A New Technology to Manufacture Jewelry with Granulation, Bead by Bead, Part 2

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 2 in the series; the first part begins on page 94 of the August 2002 issue.

Hermanson uses rated welding glasses to protect his eyes while torch-soldering the components.
He also uses a special soldering block because of the high temperature required to solder platinum.
The design calls for the wire spacers to be open for a light and decorative appearance. He uses an automatic center punch to create a small depression that serves as a starter position to drill a hole through the spacers.
Next he drills the hole, lubricating the drill bit with Rio Grande’s Bur-Life.®
Then he tapers the hole with a small ball bur.
The piece is assembled and ready for more prefinishing. He uses 3M’s sponge sanding pads, which come in five grades identified by the markings on their backside (shown).
Hermanson will cut the pads in half for ease in use with smaller parts.
He starts with medium grit and progresses to the finest grit.
For prepolishing, he prefers Gesswein’s platinum polishing compounds. They are available in five grades from 800 (coarse) to 8000.
Here Hermanson uses 3M’s Tri-M-Ite polishing paper, which comes in six color-coded grades. For ease in keeping them in the proper grit order, he stacks and staples them together.
The piece is nearly finished by simply using the various grades of paper.
This design calls for a 22k yellow gold bezel. Here he measures the tourmaline that will be featured in the pendant to determine the necessary length of wire.
He multiplies the diameter of the tourmaline by 3.14 (pi) and then adds the overall thickness of the wire. This formula gives him the approximate bezel length.
After cutting the wire and forming the bezel, he arc-welds the wire together. Tack-welding wouldn’t hold together through final forming.
Supporting the small bezel mandrel on his bench, he taps the bezel round.
After checking the fit between the bezel and the tourmaline, he determines it requires further rounding and slight enlarging. So he uses a block with holes and a bezel mandrel to lightly hammer it. The arc weld doesn’t break open like a tack weld would have during this stage.
He checks the final fit and finds it’s ready to solder. He prefers soldering the joint for the smoothest and cleanest appearance.
Using the Tack II and its vacuum attachment, he tack-welds 18k hard yellow solder into position.
After fire coating the bezel and fluxing the joint, he torch-solders the piece.
Next he prefinishes the bezel.
All components of the pendant have been fabricated, pre-finished and polished and are ready for final assembly.

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

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