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How to repair gold prong tips on a diamond ring.

Gold prong tip repair

This video is about how to repair prong tips on a diamond and gold ring!

In this video I walk you through how to fix prong tips. This is a step by step jewelry repair tutorial along with some great tips on what to do as a goldsmith and bench jeweler.

Below is a link to a free pdf jeweler bench tool lists. There are many different techniques with jewelry repair and if you are new to this information seek out a professional for advice.

There are risks to trying these techniques. So only try this at your own risk. If you have any questions or comments leave them below.

Here is the link to the tools: https://gotcharocks.com/product/bezel-setting-tool-list/

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How to cut and polish jade. Plus Lapidary tips!

How to cut and polish Jade

The first time I ever tried to cut and polish jade I really messed it up!

It has been many years since but I remember looking down at a piece of jade I had almost finished polishing and discovered something heart breaking. I had been working on this particular piece of jade for many hours and at the last step of the process I ruined it.

Or, so I thought at the time. Everything was going great. Sure, the grinding process took some time but I had made it through all my grinding wheels, starting with an 80 grit and working my way to a 1200 grit.

Then it happened. I over heated the jade and in a flash I had ruined the outer surface. The entire surface was covered with an orange peel type pattern. Two seconds before happened it was looking great.

I wish I knew then what I know now, (queue that Rod Stuart song). Turns out if you over heat jade during the polishing stage an orange peel type pattern will appear. Bummer!

So, I ground down the outside and tried polishing again. Guess what? I did it again. I was also using cerium oxide which I found out later is better for almost every other stone but jade. Sure, you can use it and maybe you’ll get it to come out but I found a better way.

I was watching some knife makers work on their knife handles and one guy was making a jade handle. I thought that was pretty cool and said something about the polishing of jade and how I never could get it to work out.

What he showed me made me laugh out loud. The fix to my problem was something that I used every day in the shop.

What was it? “Zam”. The same polishing compound I used to polish silver and gold.

I went home and tried it, being sure to keep it cool by dipping it in a glass of water every so often and just like that, the polish appeared and the orange peel pattern was gone!

Since then I haven’t had a problem and jade is one of my favorite stones to cut. Here is a video that walks you through how to cut jade into a basic cabochon.

Share this and all that jazz. Thanks a bunch!

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How to Fuse Gold – Knowing this technique will change everything! No solder needed!

How to Fuse Gold – No solder needed!

If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between soldering and fusing, the short answer is one technique uses solder and one doesn’t.

Fusing gold or silver can be done by heating two pieces of metal to the melting point.

At the point where they both start to melt the flame from the torch is then removed. If both gold or silver pieces of metal reach the melting point at the same time they will fuse together.

The trick to fusing is to use a very hot flame and quickly heat a small portion of the metal at the same time keeping the rest of the metal slightly cooler than the melting point.

This video walks you through the process of fusing gold but it could be done with other metals such as silver or platinum.
Fusing is similar to soldering in that they both will connect metal with the heat of a torch.

I am using a Smith mini torch with oxygen and propane. I’ve put a tool list up for everything that you will need for a torch set up.
As always use all precautions when working with a torch and other tools. Wear eye protection and always have a clean work area free of flammable items, AKA towels, paper, dust, etc.

If you have any questions please leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.

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Agates – 12 Great Agate hunting, Agate identification and Agate geode books

agate book

12 Great books for Agate hunting, Agate identification and Agate geodes

If you are interested in hunting for agates or as we call it rock hounding there are a few books that will propel you to success. These books are great for any agate hunter who is looking to identify agates or to help you know where to look for them.

So, what is an agate?

Continue reading Agates – 12 Great Agate hunting, Agate identification and Agate geode books

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How To Bezel Set A Cabochon Gemstone

How do you bezel set a cabochon stone in a ring?

Stone setting seems to be an elusive skill to many jewelers, new and old. There are many ways to set a stone. They include prong setting, bezel setting, bead setting, flush setting and combinations of both.

If I had to pick just one important factor in setting stones (and there are many) I’d go with how well the stone sits in the mounting. Making a good seat for the stone will mean the difference between success and failure. This goes for a cabochon cut stone and a faceted stone. If your stone is rocking back and forth in the mounting it will make it difficult to set.

Here’s a good rule. Look at the back of your stone. If it’s flat, in the case of a cabochon, how flat is it? If you really look at it closely it may actually be curved. Match that curve in your mounting. Sometimes that is achieved using setting burs and sometimes it is done using ball burs. Basically use whatever you have to get that seat cut to match the back of the stone.

This goes for faceted stones also. Does the stone’s pavilion come to a point like a diamond or is it round like many other gemstones?. The seat for the stone needs to match the back of the stone.

Here is a link to the tool list “THE LIST”

In this video I’ll show you how to bezel set a cabochon gemstone in a sterling silver ring.

This is a step by step process showing how to prep your bezel for setting the stone, the process for hammering the bezel over the gemstone and a tool list.

I made this video with close up shots so you can watch the entire stone setting process. It’s worth it to watch the entire video. There are a few little techniques that you may not know. I hope this helps a few people.

Every stone I set is slightly different so get to know your stone and take your time before you start hammering it into place.
Leave me a comment or question and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Don’t forget to sign up for the mailing list to your right to get the latest posts.

All the best,

Michael Seiler

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Jeweler’s Saw Frame and Blades – (How to make the perfect solder seam for your jewelry projects)

Jeweler’s Saw Frame and Blades – (How to make the perfect solder seam for your jewelry projects)

Jeweler’s saws are probably the number one item that most jewelers and crafters buy first. Here is a little trick for using the saw to get a perfect seam for soldering.

Why is this important?

Let’s say your are making a ring. You have bent your metal stock into a circle and now you have two ends that need to be soldered.

If the two ends don’t match exactly it can create a weak seam if soldered. Gaps in the seam should not be filled up with solder.

The seam will need to be filed and cleaned up so that the two ends meet perfectly.

But if you are having a difficult time getting the two ends to meet I have a trick using a jeweler’s saw that will help.

If you can get your seam just a little close to meeting you can run a saw blade through the seam and make both ends fit together perfectly.

You will need to know how to set up you saw frame and Continue reading Jeweler’s Saw Frame and Blades – (How to make the perfect solder seam for your jewelry projects)

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Lortone tumblers – How to use and mix the solution.

Lortone tumblers

Hello everyone,

I wanted to show you a tumbler that I use on a regular basis. This tumbler is great for polishing metal parts or for burnishing down newly cast pieces of jewelry.

If you are working on a piece of jewelry and it has parts that are difficult to reach with a polishing wheel this may be what you have been waiting for. These tumblers use a variety of polishing media. The tumbling media is used to burnish or polish the metal.

I recommend using stainless steel shot when tumbling silver or gold. If I am fabricating pieces I often will tumble all the parts and then solder them together after they look polished. After the soldering I will usually tumble again.

Tumbling helps to get into all the small places where a polishing wheel can’t reach.

If you are casting you can use the tumbler to clean up the cast piece. The steel shot will burnish the metal, helping to hide any porosity that may have occurred during the casting process.

Link to the stainless steel shot 

(Full disclosure- I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. This helps keep Gotcha Rocks up and running)

Here is a video on how to mix the solution and use the tumbler.

I have links below to the tumblers and the polishing solution. 

Here are a couple of tumblers I recommend. The Lortone brand is a high quality tumbler that can run for hours on end and lasts for years. The belts have to be replaced every once in a while but that is to be expected.

Here are some links to these tumblers. Happy hunting! 🙂

Lortone 45C Rock Tumbler (45C Tumbler)

This is a good size for tumbling stones and metal items such as rings, earrings and bracelets. The drum is large enough to accommodate most jewelry and craft items.

  • Lortone 45C Rock Tumbler features a molded-rubber 10-sided barrel. Steel body is strong and stable.
  • Dimensions: 6.5L x 10.25W inches.
  • Tumbler weighs about 9 pounds.
  • 4-pound capacity.
  • Made in the USA. Lortone quality is backed by a one-year warranty from the manufacturer.

Lortone 3A Single Barrel Tumbler

This is a smaller version of the 45c. The drum holds 3lbs. This is considered the economy version.

  • Weight: 5 lbs One year warranty
  • Tumbler dimensions: 9-1/4 x 5-3/4 x 2-1/2
  • Barrel dimensions: 4-3/4H x 4-1/2 Diameter
  • Model 3A tumbler with a simple 3 lb. capacity barrel offers the user economy and performance
  • Designed for years of trouble free service, the 3A is a real workhorse. The barrel is hard rubber that minimizes noise and the durable motor will last for years. Simple to operate and UL approved.
  • If you are using the tumbler for stones I recommend using the small to large ceramic pellets with your grit.

    If you are using the tumbler for metal I recommend using steel shot with Sunsheen burnishing solution mixed with water. Check Rio Grand Supply for the Sunshine.

    If you would like the tool list for the tumblers click here.

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Ring Making Video – How to fabricate a ring – Create a perfect circle

ring bending pliers

Have you ever struggled to bend your metal in a perfect circle while trying to make a ring?

There are many ways to bend sterling silver or gold stock. However, there is one tool that will save you time and frustration.

This is a follow up post to How to Use Ring Bending Pliers”  

What is it? Drumroll please………..It’s the Ring Bending Pliers.

This tool is in my opinion the best tool for fabricating rings. 

In this post I am including a video on how to use these pliers,

a link to the pliers and a link to a good Ring Sizing Chart. 

Enjoy!

 


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The tool you are missing. How to use ring bending pliers. You will thank me!

How to use ring bending pliers.

Have you ever had trouble bending wire or flat metal stock into a circle?

One of the first things I show people in my classes is how to use the ring bending pliers. It may seem simple but I have seen a few metalsmithing train wrecks.

Often during the metal bending process the middle part of the wire or stock will be bent fairly well but the ends are still straight. The ends are the hardest part to bend due to the lack of leverage.

Let’s first discuss three methods of bending wire.

One, you can just bend it with your fingers. This is fine for thinner pieces of wire but not so great for larger or thicker pieces.

Two, you could use your ring mandrel and bend the stock around it with your fingers or with a hammer. You will usually have to brace the mandrel in a vise to keep it steady as you form the metal around the curve. This can take a little set up which equals time and time is money.

Three, You could do what I do. I use the ring bending pliers. These pliers are oversized compared to the small half round pliers. (See the photos below) These pliers allow me to bend large and small wire and stock into almost perfect circles. It saves me time and gives me wonderful results without having to hammer on the metal and potentially marring the metal stock.

There is a trick to making this work. It is all in where you start bending.

So what is the trick?

Lets say you have a flat piece of stock and you want to make a ring. You have already figured out how long the piece should measure and now you have to bend it.

Start at one end, it doesn’t matter which you choose. Insert just the very end of the stock so that it can be gripped by the pliers. The less metal you have to use in the pliers the better. The idea is to just pinch the end enough to hold it. If it slips out the first time you are probably doing it right.

Now that you have it clamped into the pliers and you are holding it in your right hand hold the pliers in front of you.

Take your left hand and put it on the other end of the metal. (This is the end that is not in the pliers)

Push the metal away from your body. This will bend the very end into a curve. Do this to both sides of your metal. Bend it just a little bit and try to imagine what the curve of your circle will look like when it’s finished.

What do I mean?

You don’t want to over bend the ends and make the curve smaller than what you need. Try to picture the end of a candy cane. The candy cane shape may be too much of a bend.

You should be shooting for a shape that looks like the horns on a cow. Think about a long horned Texas steer.

So, to recap. You are going for a cow horn shape, not necessarily a candy cane.

Once you have your cow horns made it’s time to work the center. Start at one side of the curve and work towards the other side.

This should be done very slowly using small light squeezes of the pliers. You are shooting for consistency. Don’t be heavy handed with the pliers or you will have a very erratic looking circle.

Use the creepy handshake!

I always tell people to use the creepy handshake. What is that you may ask?

Have you ever had someone shake your hand in a very weak and limp way?

Well, if you have you know what I’m talking about.

 

That handshake isn’t good for anything other than forming metal with ring bending pliers.

Keep working the metal until the two ends come together.

Once they do it will be time to clean up the ends so the two ends meet flush. Flush means no gaps. You can then solder the seam.


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I hope this helps. It does take a little practice but it should save you a bunch of time and hassle.

All the best, don’t forget to sign up for the blog.

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P.S. Here is the video link.

Here is a link to my Youtube channel. Subscribe to get the latest videos.

Need a ring bending chart? 

CLICK HERE FOR YOUR FREE STUFF!

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How to inlay petrified dinosaur bone in a ring

How to inlay a stone

The first time I saw petrified dinosaur bone was nearly 19 years ago. It was a red agatized dinosaur bone also known as gembone. Gembone is made when agate fills in all the nooks and crannies of the bone leaving you with a very interesting pattern.

Here is a great picture of the patterning in gembone.

One of my favorite things to do with gembone is to inlay it into a ring. It makes a great ring for both men and women. It so happens that I was making one for a client and had the camera running.

I thought I would walk you through the some of the basics.

 

Step #1 I start with a sterling silver or a gold cast ring. The ring has a cavity in it for the gembone to be set into. This cavity could be any shape. For this example I am using a rectangle shape.

 

Step #2 The second thing I do is select my rough dinosaur gembone and cut a piece with a trim saw. This particular piece was a sweet find.

You will notice that its coloring is red with touches of green, yellows and blues Continue reading How to inlay petrified dinosaur bone in a ring