Professional Jeweler Archive: Making a Yellow Gold & Platinum Ring Part 2: Putting it all Together

March 2004

Professional Bench/Manufacturing Up Close


Making a Yellow Gold & Platinum Ring Part 2: Putting it all Together

Knowing the tips and techniques of this manufacturing sequence and the features of Foredom and ABI products contributes to higher levels of service


We began this two-part article on making an 18k yellow gold, platinum, tourmaline and diamond ring in the February issue (p. 96). This month, we highlight tips, techniques, tools, accessories and procedures for making, setting and finishing the ring.

The modified cushion-shape tourmaline is 9.50mm by 6.75mm. The lower gallery wire (K) of the platinum partial bezel assembly should be about 0.50mm less in both dimensions so it won’t be seen from the top after the tourmaline is set.
I pierce and file the lower gallery wire from platinum stock 1.75mm thick. I cut and form the two parts of the partial bezel (L) from 1mm sheet stock.
This photo shows the lower gallery in progress. I start with sheet stock measuring 9mm by 6.25mm. Next, I scribe guide lines on the surface of the platinum and file away the excess. After piercing the central part, I file an angle from the base to the top to complete the form.
After prefinishing and prepolishing the pieces, I tack-weld them using double-pole tweezers (M). The joint (N) is clean and free of debris. The ABI Tack II is set on 35 volts on the high energy setting. A single pulse of energy tacks the pieces.
Using the same settings on the equipment, I tack-weld the other side. It’s now ready for soldering.
Platinum soldering requires these basic tools. A rated welding lens to view work when soldering (O), an aluminum oxide soldering block that will withstand the heat required to complete the soldering joint using platinum solder (P), 1500 platinum solder (Q) and fine tweezers (R). Also shown is the tacked partial bezel unit on the soldering block.
Because the unit is tacked together, no additional holding devices are required. Here I use 1500 platinum solder to join the assembly. After soldering, I prefinish and polish the assembly.
On each side of the partial bezel assembly (S), I file angles to fit the top of the ring. Using head and shank tweezers (T), I solder the bezel to the ring using 14k easy yellow solder.
I use a super-glue gel product to adhere the design (laser-printed on bond paper) to platinum sheet stock measuring 1.4mm thick. When piercing the pattern, I saw just outside the line.
After piercing the two side pieces, I file, prefinish and prepolish them. In this photo I use PSA-backed 1200 grit 3M Imperial microfinishing film (U). The film is attached to a 1/8-in. mandrel with a sturdy rubber platform (V). These products are available from Rio Grande, Albuquerque, NM.
After I prepolish the ring and platinum side pieces, the pieces are ready for final assembly. Using the ABI Tack II, I tack the side pieces using the probe (W) and ring clamp leads. The ring clamp lead has a wire to the Tack II and a copper plate (X) to conduct the energy.
With the welder set at 40 volts on the high energy setting, I use a single pulse of energy to tack each side piece.
Because the side pieces are tacked in place, no additional holding devices are required for soldering. I firecoat the ring using a mixture of denatured alcohol and powdered boric acid. (I used 14k easy yellow gold solder.)
With the ring assembly complete, I use Foredom’s Platinum Blue polishing compound and a medium natural bristle brush to prepolish the ring. To eliminate contamination of polishing compounds, I dedicate a Foredom bur carousel (shown) for the polishing accessories I use with the platinum blue compound.
I use a 1.55mm high-speed setting bur to create the bearing for each of the 1.6mm diamonds. After seating the diamond with a brass pusher, I check to ensure its top (the table) is even with the top of the platinum.
In this photo, I use a #52 round bottom graver (Y) to raise three small prongs (Z) to set the diamond. Then I use a small beading tool to shape the prongs.
After both side diamonds are set, I create the bearing for the tourmaline. I scribe guidelines on the partial bezels at the height I want the girdle of the tourmaline to be set. I use a 2.5mm high-speed 90&Mac251; bearing bur to create the bearing.
I remove about 30% of the wall thickness and fit the tourmaline, checking it for level and then finishing cutting the bearing to a depth of 45% of the wall thickness. After the tourmaline is fit to the partial bezel, I use the Foredom Micro Motor with the hammer handpiece to bend the bezel wall. In this photo, I screw in the tip for bezel-setting. The arrow indicates an impact control adjustment.
As the first step, I secure the tourmaline by bending opposite corners of the partial bezel. Then using the Foredom Hammer Handpiece at a 45&Mac251; angle, I go from the center outward a few times. I repeat the procedure on the other side until the tourmaline is partially set.
Impact from the hammer handpiece is generated by contact, so I place the setting anvil at the precise location for optimum control.
After securing the tourmaline, I finish the setting by using the hammer handpiece at a 90&Mac251; angle and impacting the top of the bezel. For the hammering, I use the manual switch function, not the foot pedal, to control the handpiece.
For prefinishing and polishing, I use the Foredom No. 18 quick-change handpiece. The tool and brush changes can be made efficiently by depressing the lever to remove and replace accessories.
For the final polishing of the bezel, I use Foredom Platinum White polishing compound and a medium natural bristle brush followed by a loose muslin buff. The waste is collected with a bench dust collector mounted on my bench pin.
All that’s left is final preparation for the customer.

This installment is sponsored by Foredom, Bethel, CT, and ABI, Cranston RI. For information on Foredom tools, equipment and accessories or for a list of distributors, contact Michael Zagielski at (203) 792-8622 or sales@foredom.com. For information on ABI equipment and procedures or a list of distributors, call Janet Kirk at (888) 494-2663.

For information on this manufacturing process, contact Mark B. Mann at (406) 961-4426 or Mark@visualcominc.com.

To see additional shop, service-department and bench-related content, visit www.visualcominc.com.

Sketch by Lainie Mann
Photographs by Mark B. Mann

NOTE: A reader of Part 1 suggested using hard solder, not easy solder, to join the two shanks. Using hard solder for shank work is a good practice to follow. Thank you for the suggestion.

© 2004 Visual Communications, Inc.

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications