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Estate Jewelry

On the Bench with Master Jeweler Eric Sanchez: Transforming an Antique into a Modern 3 Stone Ring

Apr 23, 2020

We recently had a client who brought in their Grandmother’s 14 karat white gold diamond ring to request ideas on how to retrofit pear shaped diamonds without resorting to a full custom project. They wanted to keep as much of the ring as possible, but sadly the four prongs holding the center stone in were worn flat, and while they could be re-tipped, the entire head wouldn’t match the style of setting that would hold the new pear-shaped stones.

Here we can see a profile view of the original gallery

A modern wire basket gallery was agreed on and off work I went. Carefully removing their center stone, I stored it safely and carefully cut out the original gallery being mindful of the shank’s natural separation in design and the scroll effect. After widening the shank a bit to make room for the new gallery, I knew already that a sizing would have to take place after the new gallery was installed to match the finger size of the client.

To maintain the shank’s design, I decided to file away the edges of the outer prongs for a spooned fit for a better weld.

Once the ring was all welded together, polished inside and out, and resized. I was able to inspect the ring and ensure there weren’t any weak spots or obvious cracks that would need to be addressed. Many older rings may be prone to cracking when having to be annealed and flexed. In this case, the shank was in great condition.

This ¾ view shows how well the shank works with the new gallery.

Now it’s time to set the diamonds to create a beautiful 3 stone ring. First the pear shapes go in to ensure there will be room for the center stone to go in easily. Last thing you want is for the center diamond to get in the way of harder to set stones.

One of the challenges to setting this arrangement is ensuring the points of the pear shapes maintain a straight line from point to point.

With the side stones set and checked for durability and alignment, it’s time for the center diamond to join the party. Preparing the prongs for round stones are more straightforward as all side of a circle are usually the same. The only difference in this and many cases are that many diamonds have slight differences in girdle thickness, so minor adjustments may have to be made when setting the stone into the grooves cut for the stone until it sits evenly into the setting.

The stones sits nicely!

With all the stones set, and the prongs carefully pushed over and stones tight, all that’s left is to file down the prongs and polish the ring. Checking every angle and detail, the ring looks ready to do a final polish and rhodium bath. The ring looks great!

Final polish and rhodium, this ring is ready to present!

Get to know Master Jeweler Eric Sanchez 

A second generation jeweler with over a decade of bench jewelry experience, we are lucky to have Eric managing the Repair Center at Samuelson’s! Specializing in stone setting, restoration, torch & laser repair and fine watch case and bracelet refinishing, no task is too big or too small for him to take on. Here’s a look behind the scenes of Eric transforming an antique into a modern 3 stone ring.

 

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