Are you interested in making jewelry with moissanite, but want to know more about working with it? Today, we are kicking off our eight-part series of guidelines for working with moissanite with a few tips on repairs, sizing and re-tipping.
As one of the hottest eco-friendly, lab-created stones on the market, moissanite is forging its own path in the jewelry industry. If you’re looking to bring more value to your business by offering this socially responsible stone, these guidelines will ensure your moissanite will be the best product possible for your customers.
Moissanite is extremely stable material. You can complete general repairs and sizing with colorless, near-colorless or natural green moissanite in place. When using heat, there are a couple of best practices you should adhere to:
- Be sure to thoroughly clean the stone from any dirt of other contaminants. An ultrasonic cleaning and steaming will remove the normal type of dirt and oils found on jewelry worn by your customer. What you may see on the stone once this dirt is removed is blue or brown spots or an oil slick type sheen on the stone. This film is very difficult to remove with the standard cleaning method listed above. To remove this film, we recommend a heated beaker equipped with a magnetic stirrer that can maintain a temperature of approximately 190 to 200 degrees. The cleaning product we use is from a company called Myxis, and the product is Shine Brite. It can be found at most jewelry equipment suppliers. The jewelry will need to be suspended in the solution for about 45 minutes to an hour in most cases. Remove the piece from the solution, rinse with water and steam. This process will restore the brilliance the stone is known for.
- When soldering a crack or sizing the piece it must be allowed to cool down slowly. If you quench jewelry set with moissanite, you run the risk of cracking or shattering the stone or stones.
If you are working with a piece using a color-treated stone (green, purple, pink, red, orange, blue, yellow) you must remove it from the mounting or keep it well protected from heat. If the color-treated stone is exposed to high enough temperatures, the color treatment can be removed from the pavilion of the stone.
When working with high temperatures, do not keep the stone at a red color for more than a few seconds, as this may permanently alter the color of the stone. If there are a number of prongs being re-tipped in a small area, only work on three or less at a time. Be sure to let the piece cool and then pickle it. Continue to follow this process if more re-tripping is necessary. When re-tipping on silver the aforementioned procedure is a must.
You may see the stones in silver jewelry take on a tan or brownish color, this means the piece will need to be pickled for a longer period of time, sometimes for up to eight hours. If the stone takes on a milky look and has lost its fire, it has been damaged by too much heat and will need to be replaced. Avoid making repairs with a high temperature solder (for example, a 19K weld or a platinum solder) because this can cause fracturing or burnt spots on the stone.
Color treated moissanite cannot be re-tipped with the stone in place unless you use a laser welder, as the heat from a torch will remove all color treatment.
Now that you know more about repairing, sizing and re-tipping moissanite, stay tuned for the next installment in our working with moissanite series where we will discuss polishing moissanite.