Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/Turqoise

Advertisement


Question
QUESTION: Hi,

I've worn a sterling and turquoise ring for the past 4 decades.  The stone fell out.  Can I reset (cabachon with bezel) the stone with glue?  The stone itself pops into the setting pretty snugly, but clearly, not snug enough.

ANSWER: Dear Jean,  
The quick answer is “yes”.  However, you need to be aware of certain conditions and possible problems glue might present in the future.  I wear a nice turquoise ring which was my dad’s and have worn it almost every day since the early 1980’s. The stone will wiggle just s tiny bit up and down if pushed so I might be doing the same thing as you one of these days.

CEMENT TO USE.  A colorless 2 part epoxy is best.  Many “local store bought” varieties cure with an amber color.  Over time, the color may become more apparent around the turquoise/ bezel rim area and that particular color simply looks dirty.  Using a water white epoxy such as Hughes 330 eliminates the amber line problem.  A good hobby/craft shop might carry this cement or have another brand with colorless curing.   A google for the name Hughes 330 provides several known net suppliers who carry this product.

Possible Problem.   If for some unforeseen reason the stone must be removed from the bezel ( perhaps to  polish out a scratch, etc.),  you have to deal with a quite secure and well cured epoxy.  Gentle heat will loosen the cement but if hot though to burn fingertips the heat could damage the stone.  Acetone(as in a few brands of fingernail polish remover) will with a soak loosen the cement but if the stone has an all teoo common plastic like impregnation to improve color and stability, acetone can eat into the plastic doing damage to the stone surface.

Here is the how to do it.
My choice still water clear curing epoxy.Clean all surfaces where glue will touch with alcohol and dry. Skin oils, etc., should be removed for a bond that lasts over the years.  Mix the 2 parts equally( allow thicker part to flatten out some to more easily judge equal parts). Use a toothpick or other disposable “spatula on a disposable surface, apply lightly around the inside rim of a bezel with no backing, If the bezel has a closed back, put a small amount of glue there also.  Put stone in place, push down gently and at the same time wipe with a lint free cloth to remove cement squeezed out at bezel.  After about 10 minutes, go back and wipe with a cloth just barely damp with alcohol.

How to know when the cement is cured.  There will be cement left over where you mixed it on a piece of plastic, whatever.  Put the toothpick mixer right into the unused cement. This will turn hard and solid when cured.

I will not even discuss Super Glue™ because it is known to fail and is overall a poor choice.
Jean, if any questions, do not hesitate to get back with me. However, using this information and taking care along the way makes me believe you will have a good result  with little difficulty.

God Bless and Peace for this new year od 2016.  Thomas.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Follow up question.  I recall hearing stones were backed with lead or some other material to buffer the stone from trauma when the ring was hit too hard.  Is there any truth to that?  Just curious.

ANSWER: Dear Jean,

Many items of turquoise jewelry have a backing, generally of cardboard or sawdust.  This backing RAISED the stone in the bezel and allowed a thinner piece of gemstone to be used. The thinner stone could be set in the bezel more easily with some cushioning and less skill was needed.  Thinner turquoise resulted in the buyer getting less than the bezel would make it appear. This was part of an overall cheapening of turquoise jewelry, although better items were still on the market in competition with lower grade products.

Some older jewelry may have backing in the bezel but superior design and craftsmanship was the rule in early jewelry prior to the huge "turquoise craze" which spurred fast production in Mexico and eventually China.

I hope this answers the curiosity. It is an excellent question.
Also, thank you for the rating. That is encouraging.

Blessings and Peace. Thomas

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

ring
ring  
QUESTION: Here is the stone and the ring that you asked to see.

Answer
Jean,
Your stone is pretty and looks thicker than the thin sliver stones set high atop various backings.  I do see what looks like sawdust in the stone seat and you may or may not puts filler inside the bezel, depending on how large is the gap between stone and bezel.  You do not want a large or visibly obvious gap and if a thin cut of cardboard or plastic will make the stone look better in the setting, feel free to do that. Just be sure to put some of the epoxy on the back of the filler piece and on top where it contacts the gem.
You can always contact a reputable jeweler and ask if setting the bezel against the stone might be an option.

However you set the stone, I wish you many more years of wearing enjoyment of this ring.

Blessings and Peace.  Thomas

Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Thomas

Expertise

Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.

Experience

I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education/Credentials
Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to jewelry...wow, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.