Friday, May 10, 2013

Repairing a Different Kind of Jewllery

Okay, perhaps I shouldn't refer to glasses frames as a kind of jewellery. But they are very important accessories to many people. Either for the simple reason of clear sight, or perhaps as a fashion statement. Whatever the reason, they do tend to get damaged and broken. Often.

In today's consumerist society, most people tend to discard and replace broken items. Drive around on any given weekend and you will find older TVs and equipment that works very well, but have been replaced by a newer model.

Glass are sometimes very expensive to replace. My son is turning 11 and has been wearing glasses since he was 3 and a bit. If I was to calculate how many pairs of glasses he has lost or broken or outgrown, I would be shocked. This is probably an exercise I will avoid :)

So having hands on experience in the realm of spectacle repair born out of frugality as well as my desire to fix things, I am now one of the go-to people in this city where you can have your glasses repaired to a very decent standard of esthetic cleanliness and durability. I use a laser welder which has had it's own learning curve to master. Each and every set of broken frames is a new breed of repair. Many glassed are made from different alloys of metal, and even different sub-categories or alloys and blends of titanium and steel being the most common. It therefore a new challenge each time to find the right temperature range and choice or blend of metals to use for building up the fracture. I use silver, gold, platinum and titanium and sometimes a blend of various of these.

Here is a set of pictures showing the steps to a simpler repair. This is the reduced pictorial.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Diary of a Ring Repair: 1

I used this client's ring to show you the process of refurbishing all of the claws holding the stones into this very old and sentimental ring. In some cases it would be better to remake the ring. In this case, the client had a lot of sentimental attachment to the ring, and therefore preferred that I keep the original ring and rebuild the top section. The shank is worn thing, and needs to be replaced. the claws are also very worn on the sides from rubbing up against a band for many years. 

This is how the ring looks after I have removed the stones which were still in the setting. One had fallen out already.

Step 1: cut the existing prongs (what's left of them) down to prepare them for the new ones which I am about to make. 

Now the claws (or prongs) are cut down to where they are a little thicker, giving me some metal to adhere the new claws to.

Step 2: After pulling down platinum wire to the desired gauge  I cut new claws for the ring. The original claws were made of white gold, but in this case I am going the extra mile and making new ones out of platinum. Platinum is more expensive material, but it is very durable.

Step 3: Solder the new claws and rectangular plates onto the existing "stubs".

Starting to look a little chaotic.

Step 4: I have now set the center stone, in this case a blue sapphire. 

Step 5:  Set the side diamonds.

Step 6: Clean up the claws and prepare the ring for polishing.

 the ring is still worn and thin, the stones are now safe re-set. next will be the process of rebuilding the shank to give the ring some more substance while maintaining it's dainty feel.