Mar 12

How Laser Ring Welding Fixes Fragile and Unfixable Rings

By Calla Gold

laser machine and a jeweler

This Jeweler Looks Through an Eye Piece to Focus the Laser on the Ring She is Sizing

A Unfixable Ring Comes my Way

“Can you size my emerald ring? I’ve been told it can’t be sized by two jewelers, but my friend said ‘Calla Gold is a miracle worker with jewelry.’ So could you help me?” Rhonda was a new client.

“Probably…though, what exactly did you want done?” I responded.

“It’s too tight, I can squeeze it on in the winter with soap and water, but I can’t wear it at all in the summer. I need you to make it bigger.”

“Great. Let’s get together and let me take a look it.”

torch with flame for solder

Open Flame Soldering uses a stream of controlled gas flame to heat the gold or metal to be worked on

Why Normal Open Flame Soldering Ruins Some Gems During Ring Sizing

Emeralds—as well as, many other gemstones, are heat sensitive. Normal open flame soldering heats up a large portion of the ring as its heat conducts quickly along the gold during this method of ring sizing. This heat can cause cracking, discoloration and shattering of sensitive gemstones.

Why Laser Ring Soldering, Actually Welding, is Like a Miracle for Jewelers

Laser is a acronym for “Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” Lasers produce focused beams of light to rapidly melt metal. Because the beam of light is so small, less overall heat is generated and small intricate work can be achieved by an experienced jeweler. For more technical data read this article.

cracked stone ring

The Setting is Keep This Stone Together

The old school sizing method would have required the removal of Rhonda’s emerald from the bezel setting prior to traditional flame soldering. The bezel—the thin rim of gold surrounding the gem and holding it in place—would have had to be cut open to remove the emerald, causing the setting to have to be rebuilt. This would have added considerable expense to the sizing.

The other thing to be aware of is that when certain fragile gemstones are removed from their settings, there is the possibility of them chipping or cracking.

This is especially true of softer gems, such as opals and emeralds. I’ve seen too many gems that were held together by their setting fall apart when that support was removed. Happily, having to remove the gem and risk it cracking can be avoided with laser soldering.

Laser Welding Machines

Many jewelers don’t own, or have access to, laser welding machines. The main reason is because these precise instruments cost as much as a small car.

Laser Knowledge is Power

Bezel Set Emerald and Diamond Ring

Rhonda’s Bezel Set Fragile Emerald Ring, Much Loved and Much Worn

I wanted you to know about the availability of this technology. If no one laser welds and sizes in your area, you can still find someone who can safely work on your jewelry.

Look online to find a jeweler who offers laser welding services. It is worth mailing your piece to a distant jeweler if they have the expertise you need.

Rhonda is now wearing her emerald ring year round and is a very happy jewelry lover!

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Have you been told your jewelry couldn’t be worked on because of the risk of damaging the gemstones? Times have changed. Call me and let’s explore if laser ring welding could solve your unfixable jewelry problem.

Calla Gold

16 thoughts on “How Laser Ring Welding Fixes Fragile and Unfixable Rings

  1. Who ya gonna call? Calla Gold Jewelry of course. My mom, God rest her soul, had an inherited emerald eternity band ring that she could never wear because it was unsizable.
    I’m going to see where it is and call you.

    • Eddie,
      It’s like I wrote that blog post just for you. I hope you find the emerald eternity ring, because now it can be sized!
      Call me when you find it. 805-963-4157.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla Gold

  2. Calla Gold Jewelry,
    That laser soldering of jewelry is so cool! I didn’t know about that. It sure saved the gems and the added expense. Who needs that?
    Who knew jewelry repair could have technical breakthroughs and laser machines? Thank you for making it interesting.

    • Alison,
      I read a lot of Sci-fi and have watched my fair share of Star Trek. I love technical breakthroughs, lasers, time travel… Oops we haven’t figured out time travel yet in the jewelry industry. But I can take a really old Grandmother time period ring that’s just “done,” and restore it. Sort of like time travel, right?
      Calla Gold

  3. I do think restoring heirloom jewelry is like time travel! I think about my Nonnie every time I look at my grandmother’s ring that you so lovingly restored for me!
    Dr. Lynn K. Jones, Certified Personal and Executive Coach

    • Dr. Lynn,
      It was a pleasure to do restoration work on your Nonnie’s ring to make it yours.
      Let me know when we can trip back in the time machine and do it again!
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla Gold

  4. Hi,
    Do you know if sapphires can be damaged by a laser welder? Let’s say the jeweler meant to work on prongs and setting only, yet makes a mistake and hits the stones with the laser–could this cause inclusions to expand and break inside the stone?
    Thanks very much for your insight,
    Kathleen Childress, G.G.

    • Hi Kathleen,
      I went and looked at your jewelry creations. Just beautiful!
      Sapphires can indeed be damaged by an accidental laser touch. This happened in our workshop with tsavorite. We had a pair of earrings and the laser strayed and created an interior inclusion like a star burst. It wasn’t surface reaching.
      I showed it to my client and told her what happened. The star burst really caught the light and was kinda pretty. I offered to discount the work or buy a new gemstone. Lovely woman that she is she said she liked it like that and appreciated my checking with her first and insisted that if she was keeping it she’d pay her bill in full.
      My laser welder was mortified, but later happy that my client was so kind about it.
      He is a lot more careful now. No more rock and roll while welding, just classical music!
      I hope to see you here again Kathleen.
      Your Jeweler Friend,
      Calla Gold

  5. Dear Calla Gold, thanks so much for your fast response…a jeweler friend had this experience with a laser welder whom he trusted with a sapphire & diamond ring (he’d louped the sapphires before giving the ring to the laser guy)…when he got the ring back, he immediately noticed inclusions and issues that weren’t there before! Then he started second-guessing himself…so I started doing research and found a credible resource, you! Much appreciated and thanks for your kind comments about my designs…made my day!(I follow you on Twitter and Instagram; I’m @innergems).

    • Hi Kathleen,
      I love being your credible source!
      I just followed you back on Twitter. For any of you reading this, I’m @sbjeweler, and I loved seeing that sick ruby from Sotheby’s auction blowing the records away.

  6. I have to say that Calla is by far one the most professional, talented and very accomodating people I have had the pleasure to speak to. I just love all your work and the care and love you put it each piece that makes it even more precious.
    The help and advice you have given me about the botched ring re-size was just what i needed to get it fixed properly. All the way from Northern Ireland and with time differences and the lot and you still made time to help me.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to look at it, you are an amazing jeweller and I only wish I was visiting soon to see your work in person and have you fix my ring personally. But alas its not not to be “JUST YET” NEVER SAY NEVER. I will keep you informed of the outcome and hopefully send pics if it is back to glory. Forever Indebted Debbie

    • Hello Debbie,
      I was happy to help. It was with surprise that I hear you’re in Northern Ireland. One day I’ll visit your emerald shores and climb your craggy mountains and warm my hands on a peat fire.
      I’m so happy that my advice was helpful to you. May your ring re-round and re-bound from its current state.
      Seriously you have made my day!
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  7. Hi Calla
    My wife’s platinum engagement ring was cut off with a bolt cutter in an ER after an injury. We just took it to a jeweler to repair, but they are concerned that the cuts were not straight and they were through the thin part of the shank. They think if they solder it it may be too weak. We’re hesitant to replace the whole shank since we’re sentimental about the whole ring, yet we wouldn’t want to risk it breaking and losing the whole thing. Would laser welding be stronger? If we replaced the shank, could we have the old one maybe melted and made into something else?

    • Dear Dan,
      Many times when bolt cutters are used to remove a ring a re-shanking is needed. At the time they are used the patient’s needs are way more important than a careful cut. I’ve seen badly warped rings due to bolt cutters. In each case I have been able to put the ring back together again. In many instances I have had to re-shank the ring.
      Your jeweler is right to suggest that if your ring is thin in the area of the cut. Open flame soldering is quite strong and in my mind stronger than laser which is done in tiny bursts multiple times. I do not recommend laser welding a thin band back together.
      Get your jeweler to save the removed old shank for sentimental re-use in some way. It will take creativity, but something ought to be able to be re-used about your shank.
      You might want to read about my answer to re-using old gold which addresses people’s urge to re-use sentimental metal:
      It speaks to how single casting must be used if you wish to re-use old metal.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  8. Nice Blog. It’s a useful information for us. Thanks for sharing. Signavec Technology also provides machinery products like Laser Welding Machine, laser cutter, Laser cutting machines etc.

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