Professional Jeweler Archive: Turquoise, Platinum & 22k Granulation Earrings, Part 2

August 2003

Professional Bench/Welding Technologies


Turquoise, Platinum & 22k Granulation Earrings, Part 2

Learn the basics of platinum fabrication and modern methods for 22k gold granulation


This two-part series offers an overview of basic platinum fabrication, prefinishing, tack- and fusion welding, setting cabochons, finishing and polishing. Part 1 ran in Professional Jeweler, July 2003, pp. 80-81.

We followed special platinum procedures, including wearing platinum soldering glasses, working in a contamination-free environment and using a platinum soldering block and holding devices designed for use with platinum.

For more detailed information related to working with platinum jewelry, contact Jurgen Maerz, director of technical education for the Platinum Guild International USA at (949) 760-8279.

1. The bezels and support wires were shaped and fitted with no gaps or open seams before soldering. Prefinishing and polishing were completed before assembly. Now solder the pieces using 1300 platinum solder.
2. Check the fit of the stones in the bezels and make adjustments. In this photo, a modified setting bur is used to enlarge the opening and seat for the turquoise by removing metal from inside the bezel.
3. File the base of the posts flat. Locate and mark the center of the earrings. Using the ABI Tack II tack welder, tack-weld the posts. The tack-welding unit is set at 35 volts on the high-energy setting. Use platinum-lined tack-welding accessories to avoid metal transfer and contamination from the base metal tweezers or pliers to the platinum.
4. Solder the posts using 1300 platinum solder.

Note: No holding devices are required because the posts are tack-welded into location, which creates a temporary joint.) Soldering secures them to the earrings and requires no holding devices because the posts are already tacked into position.

5. Anchor the earrings in Jett Sett™ thermoplastic. To do this, heat water in a small crock-pot to about 150&Mac251;F. Pour Jett Sett pellets into the water and allow them to sit about 30 seconds. This photo demonstrates forming the Jett Sett into the cup of a holding device while it’s warm and pliable. Next secure the earrings in the cup. Dip into cold water and the earrings will be “locked” into location and ready to set.
6. The earrings were polished after the gems were fit. Now use Foredom’s micromotor and hammer handpiece to set the gems by lightly hammering the bezel. When finished, submerge into the warm water, which softens the Jett Sett and allows for easy removal of the earrings. Steam to remove residual Jett Sett.
7. Use EURO TOOL’s EuroSonic, a non-toxic, biodegradable, enzyme-rich ultrasonic cleaning solution, for the final finishing, polishing and cleaning.
8. Using the ABI Tack II Welder, fusion-weld 22k gold beads on the platinum rim around the bezel. The center stones are safe because there’s little or no heat transfer in the fusion-weld process. The tack-welder is set at 40 volts on the high-energy setting. We use the vacuum pump lead and contact pad lead with modifications (next photo). We use perfectly round 22k beads (out-of-round beads may cause defects to the fusion-welding process). No dirt or debris is present during the welding procedure.
9. We drill one hole in the contact pad lead and a smaller one in the graphite insulator. The insulator is placed centrally over the larger hole on the contact pad and locked into position by taping. This hole accommodates the post of the earrings during the fusion-welding process. The top of the graphite insulator pad is sanded flat and smooth to keep from marring the backs of the earrings.
10. It’s advisable to perform the 22k gold granulation under magnification. The beads should have a very small space between them so the contact for fusion welding takes place between the bead and the platinum wire rim.
11. Inspect, finish and clean.
12. The fusion-welding joint between the 22k bead and the platinum rim is strong, and the beads cannot be removed. The beads retain their perfectly rounded shapes.

This installment is sponsored by ABI, Cranston, RI. For information on ABI equipment and procedures or for a list of distributors, call Janet Kirk at (888) 494-2663. Cosponsoring this installment is EURO TOOL Inc., Lenexa, KS. For information on EURO TOOL Inc. tools and equipment or for a list of distributors, call Tina Berry at (800) 552-3131.

– by Mark B. Mann

Photographs by Mark B. Mann
©2003 Visual Communications

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications