Saturday, September 14, 2013

With Platinum, “ Weld” is the Magic Word

You may recall my March 7 post about platinum patina..

When it comes to platinum jewelry, quality construction is crucial, but it isn’t always visible to the naked eye.
This post was inspired by the hair-raising experience of one of our clients. Let’s call her Beth.

Beth was watching a friend run the Columbus Marathon. She was wearing one of her favorite rings: a substantial platinum and diamond halo setting with a two–carat center stone and stones on either side.

At home after the race, Beth glanced down to see a gaping hole in the center of her ring. In a panic, she retraced her steps and actually found her diamonds. The tiny cluster (measuring just 3/8 of an inch) was lying in the gutter on the corner where she’d been standing. 

So, what the heck happened?? The key lies in how her ring was constructed.

Beth’s ring consisted of two separate parts: the mounting and the basket that held the three large diamonds. 

Beth's ring, without center stones. The white gold solder joints are circled in red.

The back of the basket that cradled the diamonds, with solder joints circled.
Both parts of this ring were made of platinum. But — to save money, time, or labor — the designer joined them with white gold solder instead of using laser welds. 

Because of their different molecular structures, gold solder is a poor adhesive for platinum. Beth’s ring was doomed from the start. Over the years, the stress of everyday wear loosened the solder joints bit by bit. All it took was a little applause to send Beth’s diamonds flying.

Laser welding would have prevented all this drama. But not all jewelers are qualified or equipped to perform the technique. So if you’re buying a piece of platinum jewelry, or having one repaired, always ask the jeweler:

  •  “How was this piece of jewelry constructed? Was gold solder used?”
  •  “How do you plan to repair my jewelry?”
  •  “Do you know how to do laser welding?”
  •  “Do you have your own equipment?”

With a little knowledge, you can keep history from repeating itself. 

Beth’s story has a happy ending. We’re in the process of crafting a new custom platinum mounting to showcase her diamonds. And this one is built to last a lifetime!   

No comments:

Post a Comment