I’ve had a few busy days of paper work and admin so it was lovely to get back into the workshop today. I’ve got a few making projects on the go at the moment as well as some repairs. One of which is to replace a pearl in a white gold ring.
I decided to photograph my technique and go through how I set pearls. Pearls are unlike any other stones as it is one of the only times I will condone the use of glue! Glue is a jewellers nightmare, often I’ll be asked to carry out repairs on pieces that people have already repaired with glue. Before I can even begin to repair the piece I’ll have to remove all the glue. If I solder the piece first the glue will create a dirty soldering joint causing the solder not to run.
I begin by cleaning and polishing the ring as once the pearl is set I can’t put the ring in the ultrasonic cleaner.
Then I make sure the pearl is a snug fit in the setting. I’ve bought this pearl specifically for this job so it makes for a better setting. I also make sure the post of the setting has little grooves cut into it, this allows the glue to sit into these grooves making it harder for the pearl to slide off. Once I’m happy with the pearl and the way it sits into the post I can begin preparing the glue.
I use a epoxy resin as it sets better and doesn’t shatter like super glue. I mix it with a tooth pick and then using a broken saw blade put glue inside the drilled hole of the pearl. I then put the glue on the post of the setting. Be careful not to add too much as it will gather at the bottom of the pearl.
Once the glue is on both the setting and the pearl I gently fit the pearl to the post. I give the pearl a twist to make sure it is sitting correctly and also to spread the glue around the inside of the pearl.
Then I get my most valuable pearl setting tool… a clothes peg. I can’t remember where I came across this tip but it really is ingenious. You use the clothes peg to hold the pearl to the setting while the glue is hardening. It’s soft enough that it doesn’t damage the pearl and the spring means it can fit most pearl sizes and settings. I’ve drilled a hole on the top of this peg so I can also using it when setting pearl earrings. The post of the earring goes through the hole so the pearl sits snugly in the peg.
Well there you have it, my guide to setting pearls. If you have any handy jewellery tips I’d love to hear them.
Have a good weekend