AZGem Gems
September, 2002
The World's Most Useful
Gem & Jewelry Monthly Newsletter

Written by Carolyn Doyle for customers of
The Dorado Company
and other visitors to the azgem.com website who subscribe.

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Usable Gems... and a little opinion.

 

Sizing a Ring

Ring sizing is another of the common tasks performed by that jewelry artisan/mechanic, the bench jeweler.

When you take a ring to your jeweler for resizing, it ends up on the work bench of a goldsmith (bench jeweler).

In some cases that bench jeweler works in the back room of your jeweler's store.

In other cases the jewelry store sends your ring out to a shop that performs jewelry repair services for the jewelry trade. These shops are called trade shops (for obvious reasons).

Wherever it's located the jeweler's bench holds a variety of specialized tools and supplies.

More importantly, it needs to be manned by a qualified (trained and experienced) bench jeweler.

The tools needed to perform a ring sizing include

  • Jeweler's torch
  • Jeweler's saw
  • Jeweler's files
  • Ultrasonic cleaning machine
  • Polishing/buffing machine
  • Ring mandrel
  • Rawhide mallet

In addition, supplies needed include

  • Flat or half-round sizing stock 

  • Hard solder in the karat and color to match the ring

You'll need different supplies for 10, 14, and 18 karat gold... in both yellow and white gold colors for different rings.

The mechanics of the operation are straight forward... but demanding in the degree of accuracy required.

I'll describe the process as though you are going to perform the steps yourself.

To begin you need to determine what kind of gems are set in the ring (If any).

Drawing on your gemological knowledge, decide if any of the gems are heat sensitive, and if so, do you need to remove them from the ring before starting.

Also check the prongs and tips to be sure there's enough metal holding the gems in place.

Next determine whether the ring has been sized previously. 

  • Place the ring on a heat resistant pad on your bench
  • Turn the bottom of the ring shank up towards you
  • With your torch, apply an oxidizing flame to the bottom of the shank
  • In a few seconds look for lines running across the shank
  • If present, saw through the solder joint(s) to remove the old sizing

Now you're ready to start.

To make a ring smaller...

  • Cut out a piece of the shank using the jeweler's saw to bring the ring down to the correct size
  • Be sure the cuts are straight across and straight down so the two sides will meet without gaps
  • Place the ring on your ring mandrel at the desired size marking
  • Bend the two ends of the shank together using your rawhide mallet

  • Remove the ring from the mandrel and solder the shank together, making sure there are no indentations

  • Using files and sanding sticks, remove burs and smooth and blend the soldered area

  • Using the mandrel and mallet reshape the ring to be sure it's round

  • Reset all gems that you had to remove at the beginning

  • Finish on the buffing machine, ultrasonic cleaner and steam cleaner 

To size a ring up (bigger) you must do all of the above, plus...

  • Spread the ring to the correct size using the mandrel 
  • Cut a piece from the proper karat, color and shape sizing stock to bridge the gap in the shank, sawing the cuts straight and square
  • Make two solders to put the new piece of shank in place, being careful to not undo the first solder joint when doing the second one just millimeters away
  • Use files to final shape the new piece to the width, thickness, and profile of the adjoining shank

When you're all done you should do your quality check... including double checking the stones for tightness, even if you didn't remove and replace them. 

And there you have a simplified tour through resizing a ring.

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Birthstone Rings

You can now buy birthstone rings at The Dorado Company.

As usual, these rings are a great deal!

Each birthstone ring proudly displays an oval shaped 6 x 4 mm birthstone in a beautiful 14 kt yellow gold mounting.

These beautiful rings are executed in a lovely bypass design, with two diamond accent stones.

See them now at azgem.com.

Carolyn Doyle

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The Dorado Company
P.O. Box 8232
Scottsdale, AZ 85252-8232