Professional Jeweler Archive: Ring Shank Repair

April 2004

Professional Bench/Defining Quality

Ring Shank Repair

Knowing how to professionally repair or replace worn shanks demonstrates another aspect of quality in your shop

As rings are worn, the shank comes in contact with other objects and wears away more quickly than other parts. The solution for a severely worn shank is to install a full, half or quarter shank. When done professionally, this restores the ring to like-new condition and readies it for more heavy-duty wear.

Ring Shank Repair and Reconstruction Procedures

1. This ring shank has worn thin and needs to be replaced. Note that some of the pattern has worn. Check the gemstone for looseness and look for other potential problems. Clean and inspect the entire ring.

2. Make sure the stone’s culet is not exposed, then place the ring on the mandrel and check its size. Reround if necessary. Cut the shank if you need to increase or decrease the size. By doing this, you’ll ensure the remaining part of the shank will have the proper radius for the new shank.

3. Remove the worn shank by sawing. Leave the top part intact with equal lengths remaining on each side.

4. File the cut ends of the remaining shank flat. These ends are where you’ll solder the new shank.

5. Calculate and cut wire for a new shank the same alloy as the ring. The wire must be slightly larger (width and depth) than the largest area of the cut space. Mark with the appropriate karat stamp.

6. Anneal the new shank wire if necessary and form it around the mandrel.

7. Place the top of the ring on the mandrel at the intended size and position the new shank. Check to ensure it’s the proper length and fit.
8. After you’ve aligned the pieces, firecoat and solder one side using hard solder. Let it cool, then realign the other side if necessary and hard-solder it. Be sure to protect the gemstone if it’s heat-sensitive.

9. When the ring has cooled, pickle, rinse and inspect your work.

10. Continue the detail of the original ring on the new shank, filing a taper so there is a smooth transition from all views. Re-engrave and shape any missing detail to match the original ring.
11. Polish, finish and clean.

– by Mark B. Mann

Illustrations by Lainie Mann, Visual Communications Inc.
©2004 Visual Comminications Inc.

Professional Ring Shank Repair

A. There are no visible solder joints and no pits or seams where the quarter-, half- or full-shank was installed.

B. The transition between the original part of the shank and the new one is smooth, symmetrical and even, with no dimensional reduction in any area.

C. Detail of the original ring has been re-created where connected.

D. The detail is sharp, crisp and even, not overfiled or overpolished.

E. The inside of the shank is smooth, has no sharp edges and has been finished to a new and lustrous condition.

F. The new shank is not too thick or too thin and is the correct finger size.

Potential Problems

This shank is too thick, was poorly soldered and has visible evidence of the installation.
Care was not taken and the newly installed shank is too thin and too narrow at the point of attachment. Also the shank is uneven in shape and thickness.
The original detail of the ring was not re-created. The pattern abruptly ends where the new shank installation begins.
This stone was damaged by heat. The bench jeweler, too focused on the solder joint, neglected to watch where the overflow of the torch flame was directed, damaging the stone in the process.

– by Mark B. Mann

Illustrations by Lainie Mann, Visual Communications Inc.
©2004 Visual Comminications Inc.

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Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications