Professional Jeweler Archive: How to Manufacture a White Gold and Turquoise Cameo Granulated Pendant

February 2005

Bench / Welding Technologies


How to Manufacture a White Gold & Turquoise Cameo Granulated Pendant

Knowing how to tack-, fusion- and pulse-arc-weld at the bench saves time, increases quality and drives up profits for your shop and service department

By Mark B. Mann


This article covers techniques to make this custom-designed 14k white gold and 22k yellow gold granulated pendant for a turquoise cameo that a customer bought while traveling overseas. The cameo will be set in a wire loop bezel; the 22k yellow gold granulation will be added after the pendant is finished. Along with traditional techniques, I used tack- and fusion-welding technology to expedite the work.
1. I formed the bottom gallery using 2mm-by-2mm 14k white gold square wire, placing the cameo over the pendant to ensure the shape and proper sizing.
2. Next I made 14k white gold jump rings for the wire loops, cut each jump ring and filed the bottom sides flat. I removed the flashing of leftover metal at the bottom where filed (if not removed, this could cause a destructive flash of energy during tack-welding). As shown in this photo, I placed the modified jump rings around the base of the pendant to ensure the proper spacing.
3. In preparation for tacking the wire loops to the gallery, I rounded my tweezer tips so no sharp points would come in contact with the gallery during the procedure. I also cut a groove in one side allowing me to firmly hold the loops while I tacked them.
4. I tacked the wire loops one at a time to the gallery. The ABI Tack II was set on 40 volts on the high energy setting, with the gallery firmly held on the contact pad connected to the negative terminal.

The rough texture of the contact pad was sanded smooth for better contact and to reduce the “footprints” created by the electrical energy from the rough surface. I touched each end of the loop firmly and used a single pulse of energy to tack them on. The brass tweezers were attached to the positive terminal.

5. After I was satisfied with the alignment and placement of each tacked loop, I soldered them using 14k easy white gold solder. No holding devices were required because the loops were tacked and held their position during the soldering procedure.
6. After the loops were soldered, I made and attached the pendant bail. Next I polished the assembly and set the turquoise cameo. In preparation for the granulation, I used the Foredom Micro Motor with a 0.80mm round ball bur to create a small indentation at each wire loop junction. This provided an even surface in which to fusion-weld the 22k yellow beads.
7. I completed the granulation on the bail first, carefully placing and fusing the small beads one at a time. Next I completed the granulation at each wire junction. For the granulation, I used the ABI Tack II, the contact pad and the vacuum attachment. The vacuum attachment has a sterling silver housing into which I inserted a smaller sterling tube.

I made the tip of the tube concave with a small high-speed setting bur. I picked up each bead with the vacuum-assisted lead, firmly held it in place and released a pulse of electrical energy by tapping the foot pedal once. The Tack II was set on the high-energy setting at 30 volts.
I polished the pendant and set the cameo before completing the granulation. Once the granulation was completed, I retouched the back of the pendant where it came in contact with the contact pad.

Important: Tack-, fusion- and pulse-arc equipment settings will differ and are based on the volume, amount of contact and alloy of the material you are working with. Practicing using like materials will give you a parameter for the settings required for your application. Keep a record of settings and tasks for future reference.

For questions related to this process, contact Mark B. Mann at mark@
visualcominc.com or (406) 961-4426. To view related welding procedures, visit www.visualcominc.com.

This installment on welding technologies is sponsored by ABI, Cranston, RI. For general information on ABI equipment and procedures or for a list of distributors, call Janet Kirk at (888) 494-2663.

Photographs by Mark B. Mann
Visual Communications Inc. © 2005

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications