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Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/My Vintage Engagement Ring Broke


Hi Thomas! My engagement ring is from the 1930s and the band is made out of 90% platinum and a 10% Iridium. Today the band broke in half on the underside.  People keep telling me it'll be very easy to fix, but with it being platinum, I'm concerned about the expense, in addition to it being older and therefore maybe more delicate(?).  I am in love with my ring and do not want to change the setting. Is there any advice you can offer? Should it be repaired with a different metal? How do they go about fixing something like this? The only plus is that since we got married I've gained some weight and I could no longer take the ring off my finger. So maybe this is an opportunity for me to get it resized. Thank you for any help and advice you can offer! God bless.


Dear Helen,

The platinum w/iridium is one of the most popular jewelry alloys among jewelers who do hands on work with the metal. Two varieties are generally seen, firat the 10% irid plat as in your ring and a slightly softer alloy marked 5% or simply Irid Plat, or Plat.   When the alloy is 95% platinum, the requirement is not strict in disclosure of the alloy metal.  Your ring is made of one of the best jewelry metals and in my opinion the best of the platinum jewelry alloys.  Jewelers work this metal confident of no surprises and of dependable results for the experienced platinum smith.  The concern of the ring being too delicate because of age is not a real concern.  

What might be a concern is unknown repair or ring work done of which you are unaware.  The jeweler needs to examine your ring for signs of previous work which might in some off chance use lower grade brazing or “soldering” materials.  For instance, you will need a small section of the shank (band) replaced and the jeweler does not want a unknown solder joint opening up, adding to the repair and sizing job.
WHAT IS DONE:  Ends of the ring band where broken are cut back slightly and cleaned to provide clean, unworked metal.  A piece of 10% irid plat metal stock is formed to correct dimensions and length to be fitted into the band of your ring, opening it up close to the desired size.  The new piece is soldered with high grade solder for 90% platinum (Precious Metals West* developed and can supply 90% platinum solder which is a  perfect color match to the ring metal. )  Rather high torch heat or a jewelry laser is used to then join the ends of the new piece of metal into the ring band.  Formed and properly buffed, the work is done.
I do not know price structures in your area.  You need to visit a fewer higher quality jewelers for estimates.  Do expect to pay something above $100 to possibly twice that.  Your ring must be examined and the amount of platinum needed must be determined.  The metal is a big factor in pricing the work.

I want this to go well for you and with an experienced jeweler it should be fine.  
God Bless to you to…and a prayer for peace.  Thomas.

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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.


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 is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to, 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.

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