How to Make a Band and Solder a Diamond Head Onto It

How to Make a Band and Solder a Diamond Head Onto It

I was just sitting down at my bench getting ready to create a tutorial, when I got a question from a follower of the JewelryMonk blog. I hadn’t started on the current project yet, so I changed directions and decided to start a 2 day tutorial on how to make a quick band and solder a diamond head onto it and set a stone in a four prong setting. If I can create a lesson that is helping someone with a current project they are having, there is nothing more pleasing or gratifying than knowing I can help someone in a pinch.

Band with Head Header

Here are the pieces I am going to start with: I have a sterling silver shank approx 3mm wide and 1.25mm think. I also have a 2mm stone and a 2mm white gold die struck head.

Band with Head (1)

I take the shank and after annealing it (see Annealing Tutorial) I round it on a Stepped Mandrel and bend the ends with a pair of Flat/Half Round Pliers to help match up the ends. I measure the shank on the mandrel, mark it with a scribe, and cut off the excess with a Saw Frame.

Band with Head (2) Band with Head (3)

Band with Head (4) Band with Head (5)

Band with Head (6)

After I have the shank cut to the size I want, size 7 in this case, I bend the other end with the same pliers and match up the 2 ends. An Equaling Needle File is used to file the ends flush, and I bend the 2 ends past one another to put some tension in the ring so the soldering joint is closed.

Band with Head (7) Band with Head (8)

Band with Head (9) Band with Head (10)

Band with Head (11)

Now I solder the band together. I use Handy Flux the solder joint good, use a small piece of solder, and apply the heat from my Smith Little Torch from the underside of the ring to draw the solder from the top to the bottom. Remember, solder follows heat, so if you apply the heat from the bottom of the ring, the solder will flow through the solder joint.

Band with Head (12) Band with Head (13)

Band with Head (14)

I clean up the solder on the inside with a #4 Crossing Needle File, and on the outside with a #4 Barrette Needle File. I use a #4 Flat Hand File on the sides of the shank, and finish it off with my #4 and #6 Sanding Stick (see Day 24)

Band with Head (15) Band with Head (16)

Band with Head (17) Band with Head (18)

Band with Head (19)

Lastly, to make this shank a domed shank, I file the edges down a bit with a hand file and finish it off with Sandpaper and a Polishing Cloth.

Band with Head (20) Band with Head (21)

Band with Head (22)

Next, I will add the diamond head to the shank. There are a few ways to do this, one is to just solder the head right to the top of the shank, just center it and solder it. I like to set the head into the shank, so I will cut a “seat” into the shank to do this. The setting I am using is a “low base” setting, meaning it is not as tall as some settings. If it was a taller setting, I would drill a hole all the way through the shank and solder it in place but since this is a lower setting, I will only cut part way into the band. I measure the bottom of the setting, which in this case is 1.6mm. I use a 1.5mm Ball Bur to drill a pilot hole about 1/2 the way through the band. I drill this hole opposite the solder joint that was made when I soldered the shank together so the solder seam is on the very bottom of the ring. I now take a flat ended 1.6mm Cylinder Bur to flatten the bottom of the hole and widen it a bit. Do this slowly, fitting it as you go until it fits down to the bottom of the seat.

Band with Head (23) Band with Head (24)

Band with Head (25) Band with Head (26)

Once The diamond head fits down into the seat that is cut, I take a very small piece of solder and melt it into the seat. Next I set up the diamond head to the seat, line it up straight, and add heat from the torch. I add very little pressure with my Soldering Pick, making sure it lined up with the shank. If the head is off a little, the shank can be heated up again and the head can be adjusted with the soldering pick.

Band with Head (27) Band with Head (28)

Band with Head (29)

I hope this all makes sense, like I said before, I really enjoy putting a lesson together when I know someone can put it to use right away it the project they are currently working on. If you have projects you are working on and seem to be struggling a little more than you think you should, send me an email or message and I will see if I can help. Also, Feel free to share.

Stop in next time and I will set the stone in a 4 prong setting and finish polishing this project.

Thanks again for stopping by and if you like the content, make sure to sign up to get this sent to you Via email.

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

Doug

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23 Responses to How to Make a Band and Solder a Diamond Head Onto It

  1. Paulette Bennett October 14, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    Thank you! Really clear narrative, pictures were perfect!

    • JewelryMonk October 14, 2014 at 6:56 am #

      Great to hear Paulette. You are welcome.

  2. Paula Leab October 14, 2014 at 7:52 am #

    Excellent! Easy to follow & understand–great pics!

  3. gailmccauley October 15, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    Great info cant wait to try it thanx for sharing your talent

    • JewelryMonk October 15, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

      You are welcome Gail.

  4. Jane October 16, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    Hi Doug, you’re awesome!
    Is there a reason the diamond head you use is white gold as opposed to sterling like the band?
    Thanks
    Jane

    • JewelryMonk October 16, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

      Silver is too soft for prongs this small. They bend easily and wear very fast, especially on a ring. Gold is harder.

      • Jane October 23, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

        Thanks

  5. Dana October 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    Doug, I love all of your lessons, and as I said in aspiring metalsmiths, I really want to make this ring. You posted links showing us exactly what type of burs we need for this project, that helped me out so much, and at a great price! Please keep doing that. I’m going to order my burs and make this ring.

    • JewelryMonk October 22, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

      Great to hear. Can’t wait to see what you do.

  6. Shannon March 29, 2015 at 8:59 pm #

    I am loving your tutorials, although I am noticing that you haven’t written to this blog in quite a long time so I hope my question reaches you. In the picture where you are cutting the second side and before you file the two ends with the equaling file you are holding the ring with something as you make your cut. What is it that you are using to hold the ring with? I just can’t figure it out!

    Thank you!

    • JewelryMonk March 30, 2015 at 6:05 am #

      Shannon, thanks for the message, I have been taking a medical break from the blog but I promise I will be back an soon as my treatments are over and I regain my energy. The tool you are referring to is called a ring cutting jig or a jump ring cutting jig. they come in metal or even in wood. Here is a link to see what it looks like. Jiffy Jump Ring Tool” title=”Jig” target=”_blank”>
      Thanks again and stay tuned for more from JewelryMonk.com
      Doug

  7. Paul April 7, 2015 at 6:57 pm #

    Hi Doug,
    I’m working on a similar ring,mine is a white gold setting and a yellow gold band both 18k. I have 18k hard yellow gold solder.
    I’ve cast the setting and the ring. I’ve been cleaning up the setting it’s looking ok though not fully finished yet 600grit sand paper stage.
    Is it worth getting the setting fully finished before soldering or will it need more clean up after soldering which will mean redoing it anyway? I know some areas will be hard to access due to the cathedral setting.

    I have a furnace and a map gas torch. Is the map gas too big of a flame to control the heat? Would soldering in the furnace be an option? It’s electric and has precise temperature control. I also have a small butane torch which can just melt the 18k gold so maybe that could be an option too it’s flame is still pretty large.

    This is my second ever jewelery project, the first was a silver trial, but I cast it as 1 piece then so no soldering required.

    Any advice is appreciated.
    Thanks
    Paul

    • JewelryMonk April 7, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

      Paul First I would clean up the setting as much as possible before soldering. Even to the point of polishing it. It is harder to polish it after it is soldered in place and you will possibly over polish the ring trying to polish the solder joint. Polishing in between the prongs can be done after it is soldered in place but be careful not to over polish it and the ring. Rubber wheels and fine sandpaper are the way to get the scratches out and ready for polishing.
      Next, I would use the torch to solder the head into place. You will need the extra heat for the hard solder. Make sure you use plenty of flux. The furnace would not be a good choice because you will not have control of the head and chances are it will be soldered crooked. Torch and a soldering pick would be the best way to solder and control the head to make sure it is straight.
      I would like to see it when you get it finished. Post a picture on the JewelryMonk Facebook page. Click on this link. https://www.facebook.com/jewelrymonk
      Take Care
      Doug

  8. Paul April 7, 2015 at 8:13 pm #

    Thanks for the quick reply.
    A few more questions, the setting has a 1.5mm spur on the bottom I was debating cutting it off and filling it flat vs drilling a hole in the band to accept it.
    I can get it a little lower by cutting the bottom off which would be good.
    I will be harder to hold it straight with the spur cut off though.
    It’s a 6mm round stone in a 6 prong setting with a band around the middle of the prongs (not sure the name of this band) with the cathedral sides (part of the ring so yellow gold) coming up and meeting the band part of the setting(soldered to it)
    A picture would make that a little less confusing …
    Any tips to avoiding getting yellow solder all over the white gold? I know there’s products to mask but I don’t have time to order them.

    Thanks again
    Paul

  9. JewelryMonk April 7, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    Paul, if you drill a little hole for the setting to fit into, you can flow the solder into the hole first (use as little solder as possible), then place the head into the hole with the solder and this will reduce the solder flow onto the setting. Make sure you place the flame towards the bottom of the shank instead of the setting, remember solder follows heat, so if you place the flame at the setting, you will get the solder to “run” onto the head.
    Hope this helps.
    Doug

  10. Cheryl Seung August 8, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

    Hi Doug,

    I have a question about rose gold. What is the best solder to use for making a 14k rose gold ring from scratch with a basket prong setting?

    I have been practicing with silver and used hard solder to fabricate the basket prong setting, however whenever I try to solder it to a silver band, whether I use medium or easy solder, I end up melting the basket. I am using a propane torch.

    I am also debating whether I should invest in a better soldering system in order to work with more smaller and intricate projects, such as my rose gold ( trying to set a 6mm stone).

    Thanks so much,

    Cheryl

    • JewelryMonk August 9, 2015 at 10:49 pm #

      Cheryl, I would use medium 14k rose (red) gold solder. If you use yellow gold or silver, the solder joint will be visible because of the color difference. I use a Mini Torch with either propane or natural gas and oxygen to do most of my soldering. the mini torch allows me to work with smaller pieces and direct my flame better, not having to heat the whole piece too hot and possibly melt it. Here is a link to my torch.
      Smith Mini Torch” target=”_blank”>Smith Mini Torch
      Hope this helps.
      Doug

      • Cheryl Seung August 13, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

        Hi Doug,

        The only rose gold solder I can find contains cadmium. Will this be dangerous if I solder (inhale) with this solder or is the level too low to worry about it? Should I be concerned for the wearer of this ring if it contains cadmium in the solder?

        Cheryl

        • JewelryMonk August 13, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

          I would use it, just use it in a well ventilated work area, either use a vent or a fan to get the fumes away from your face.

  11. Samantha September 19, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    I have bent the prongs on my ring many times is it possible to fill the head around the diamond with solder and hold it in place?

    • Doug Napier September 19, 2016 at 8:26 pm #

      Samantha, that would be tough to do, depending on the size of the stone and the prongs. It would be hard to get the solder to stay on the prongs to strengthen them, the solder would more than likely flow onto the ring. If this is a head or prongs that can be replaced, I would replace them with a harder metal like white gold or platinum. I am guessing that the prongs that are in there now are silver?

      Doug