Professional Jeweler Archive: Turquoise, Platinum and 22k Granulation Earrings

July 2003

Professional Bench/Manufacturing Up Close

Turquoise, Platinum and 22k Granulation Earrings

Knowing the basics of platinum fabrication and modern methods of 22k gold granulation contributes to higher levels of service from your shop and service department

This two-part series will demonstrate the fabrication of turquoise, platinum and 22k yellow gold granulation earrings. This segment covers basic platinum forming, tack-welding and fabrication techniques; next month we’ll discuss cabochon setting, prefinishing, polishing and granulation techniques.
1. The turquoise is 10.25 mm round and will be bezel-set in the earrings. The platinum is Pt-900-Ir, a platinum and iridium alloy. Once the platinum fabrication has been completed and the center stones set, the last step is performing the 22k yellow gold granulation using modern fusion-welding techniques.
2. Place the wire on a soldering block rated for use with platinum. Anneal by heating with a torch until orange/red. Hold it at that color from 30 seconds to one minute. Make sure to wear platinum soldering glasses. Air cool.
3. Use wrap and tap pliers to form the bezel and support wires. The barrel of the wrap and tap pliers is 14mm round, and the opposing jaw is a smaller neoprene-covered half-round/flat shape.
4. These pliers are ideal for forming a variety of wire sizes and shapes into ring shanks, decorative embellishments and round configurations.
5. Fit the bezel to the gemstone. The featured items are the tip of the vacuum attachment (A)and a chip of 1700 platinum solder (B). Tack-weld a small piece of 1700 solder directly over the joint. The Tack II welder was set to 30 volts on the low energy setting. Your tweezers lead should be lined with platinum so no transfer of base metal from the tweezers can contaminate the platinum bezel.
6. Solder the joint. Repeat this procedure for all bezel and support wires.
7. All bezel and support wires have been formed. Assemble and solder using 1500 platinum solder.

Next Month: The conclusion of this manufacturing process.

This installment of Manufacturing Up Close educational content is cosponsored by Euro Tool Inc. of Lenexa, KS, and ABI of Cranston, RI. For information on Euro Tool, its tools and equipment or a list of distributors, call Tina Berry at (800) 552-3131. For information on ABI equipment and procedures or a list of distributors, call Janet Kirk at (888) 494-2663.

– by Mark B. Mann

Photographs by Mark B. Mann
©2003 Visual Communications

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications