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Jewelry Making/re-setting diamond

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Question
Hi Chris,

I have a very old family ring with a nice 1.78 carat, old european cut diamond in the center. I was told the diamond is in very good shape. It has already been appraised and insured, and we have found a place to reset it into a simple platinum 6-prong solitaire setting.  

I am getting really nervous though, and although neither the appraisal place nor the jewelry place that is going to reset it has said this, I am suddenly worrying that the diamond could get ruined or damaged when removing it from the current setting.  

The guy at the jewelry place referred to it as a bezel setting when we was just checking the size of the diamond to see that it would fit in the new setting we selected.  I know what a bezel setting is, but with this one, the diamond is not surrounded by metal all around.  It only has metal that comes very slightly over the diamond in four spots - four spots I would think would be there a 4-prong setting would go.  The diamond is still set very much above the metal and exposed, and is not low down into the setting...if that makes sense.  At least that's how I compare it to other bezel settings I have seen.

From what I described, and just from re-setting diamonds in general, should I be worried when the setter removes the diamond from the current setting it has been in for well over 60 years?

I should note, it is okay if the current setting gets ruined and a stone can never be set back into it.  Although there are some very small diamonds and saphires around the sides (it's a big ring) that we don't want to lose obviously for possible future use.

Hoping you can calm my nerves, but if something sounds weird about all this, I also want to know before we go ahead and do this! We plan to watch the whole process.

Answer
Kate this reminds me of a very interesting story, When I was for starting in the jewelry business I set a diamond for a customer similar to yourself he also wanted to watch me set his large pear shape diamond he bent over the bench and asked if I had ever broken a diamond I turned and said only when I get nervous to which he immediately moved back about 3 feet from the bench and never said another word, so try not to get too close and make your jeweler nervous. Most diamonds are much tougher than the steel saws that are used to remove them from the old head and usually tougher than the pliers that set them in the new head especially the round diamonds. I believe I understand you that your diamond is in a bezel setting which means when they cut it out of the bezel you should inspect the edges prior to having it reset to make sure there are no chips that were hidden underneath the metal.I also encourage you to use a microscope so that you know exactly the condition of your stone and can also identify it easily . Just doing this should make you rest much easier. You might even want to video the entire procedure for posterity. I hope this helps you a little you're very lucky to find a jeweler that will allow you to watch and maybe even video the procedure, again I know that you're stone is precious to you and you should also realize the jeweler knows that and he doesn't want to break it anymore than you want it broken so give them lots of room and try and relax that will help. Good luck.
Chris

Jewelry Making

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Chris Eilertsen

Expertise

I have been in the Jewelry Industry 20 years and Apprenticed as a silver smith took classes in Casting sculpting repair and trained under master gold and silver smiths as well as some experience in Faceting and diamond cutting and polishing for repair. Plating, Wax work, Diamond Setting, Engraving, Carving, Mold Making, design, some watch repair, tool making, enamel work, refining, mining, sales, sand blasting, casting. Have worked in Platinum, Gold, Silver, Pewter, Brass, Bronze, Aluminum,Steel,Titanium,Wood, Plastic, and Stone. 10 years Appraisal work in Jewelry.

Experience

20 years commercial experience in Repair Manufacturing and sales of Jewelry 3 years school 4 year apprentice. Worked on the duplication of the treasure found on the Spanish Galleon Maravalla by Dr. Cecil Humphreys. Traveled with and manufactured the souvenirs and miscellaneous replicas from the King Tut Exhibit when it visited the US.

Organizations
Former member AGTA and GIA and a ten year member of Memphis Jewelers association. 17 years experience in Tuscon Jewelry shows buying and selling.

Publications
JCK Tuscon Show Gude

Education/Credentials
Classes at MSU and The Memphis art academy in Jewelry sculpting, Specialized Repair school, and 2 apprenticeships in Silversmithing from Juelius Astor, and Goldsmithing from Katchic Yacubian both masters for over 35 years each.Studied with Dr. Richard Prilliman, and several others.

Awards and Honors
JCK Tuscon Show honorable mention in design.

Past/Present Clients
Dr. Cecil Humphreys Finder of the Spanish Galleon Maravalla, The Vanderbilts, Miscellaneous repair antique estate pieces. Elvis Presley Repair and Appraise 2 pieces of jewelry. Rifat Hassan and Nihall Mumtaz With the King Tut Exhibit. Trade work for over 36 Major Chains from Zales to Sams.

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