Bradney W. Simon


Articles and Videos by Bradney W. Simon:

Rebuilding Bezels with a Laser Welder

Steve Satow I have found this to be
 a most useful tool to use 
when rebuilding a bezel 
using a Laser Welder. It is
 made from a watchmaker’s
 screw driver and is used to
d eflect the excess energy 
reflected at…

Layout Form / Template

Click on the image to enlarge and download and you can use this layout form or template to help layout crowns. This form will help you lay out prongs when creating new crowns. Use the crossed lines on top when…

Design Considerations for Pendants

When making a pendant the bail should be something that is incorporated into the design of the pendant if at all possible. Often jewelers will take something and stick a bail on top and call it a pendant, resulting in…

Gemstone Guide

This page contains a gemstone guide to common abrasives used near gemstones; their usage, hardness rate and effects compiled by Tom Weishaa CMBJ. Abrasive Silicon Carbide Usage – A common abrasive found in most mizzy wheels, cut-off discs and some…

A Crowning Achievement Part 2

In the last issue we looked at making a basic basket crown. In this article we will fabricate a more advanced crown. One of the most versatile crowns to make is a half-basket crown. This crown can be used for diamonds…

Forged Ring Shank

This article describes step by step instructions how forged ring shank is done as described by Bradney W. Simon. For this solid shank we’re going to forge the shape out of a solid piece of platinum. The bottom of the…

Squaring the Diamond

When setting a round brilliant diamond in a four prong setting there is some debate among stone setters on how to orient the stone. This is also known as ‘squaring the diamond’. Some feel it should be set ‘square on’…

Customized Hanging Tool Shelf

I made a hanging tool shelf between my setting and soldering bench. With it off the floor it allows easy access to dropped stones or other small parts. It gives me plenty of room for the Elector GX, and the…

A Crowning Achievement Part 1

Often jewelers are called upon to hand fabricate a crown to fit a stone. This is necessary when either the stone is a non-standard shape, or the crown needs to fit a particular design. Although one will seldom hand fabricate…

Waste Not, Want Not

When it comes to recovering precious metal, nothing is worthless. However, if you walk into many repair shops you will find people behaving as if it were. Many people do not realize what a valuable asset their scrap is, and…

Fabricating a Pear-Shaped Pendant

A customer selects a
 pear-shape sea foam tourmaline from your loose stone s
and informs you she would
 like a pendant. While determining the style of jewelry
 she likes, she points to a 
piece of pierced filigree jewelry stating she really…

Chain Repair Paste Solder Method

Repairing broken chains is one of the two most often preformed jobs in the shop. (Sizing rings is the other) The difficulty of chain repair lies in the fact that the chain is made up of fine wires. These wires…

Laser Repair: Emerald and Diamond Bracelet

This article by Steve Satow describes the procedure for repairing an emerald and diamond bracelet using laser technology. Top view picture of damaged antique two toned emerald and diamond bracelet. Repairing an emerald and diamond bracelet using laser technology Close up bottom…

Platinum Wire Filigree

Platinum wire filigree can be easily added to an article of jewelry providing a unique design element. The filigree can be a simple scroll filling an airline to the predominant design component in the article of jewelry. Whether the platinum…

Metal Conversion Chart

The metal conversion chart below will help you determine the amount of metal needed to create a piece of jewelry in a different metal. To use, weigh the piece of jewelry. Then find the present metal along the top of…

Assembled Mounting for Customized Jewelry

Often custom made jewelry can be assembled from stock findings, creating jewelry with a hand-fabricated look in a fraction of the time. This colored stone ring with side diamonds is a prime example. Although this mounting can be purchased as…

A Pain In The Neck

You start to turn and there it is again. You go to stand up from your chair and it happens again. It’s that nagging pain in your neck or lower back. After several years on the bench, jewelers often develop chronic neck or back injuries.

Channel Setting – Set ‘Em Straight

Over the past decade, channel setting has grown in popularity. Setting small diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and even emeralds into channels has become commonplace in most shops. Hardly a week goes by without some form of repair being preformed on a channel set piece. The following tips will hopefully make this work a little easier.

Maintaining Good Workshop Air Quality

Four areas in the jeweler’s workshop produce harmful substances that MUST be properly removed from the shop in order to maintain the jewelers’ health. The toxic particles produced are generally chronic in nature. This means that immediate reaction is not apparent, but twenty or thirty years of continued exposure can lead to poor health and sometimes early death.

Repairing Broken Chains

The difficulty of chain repair lies in the fact that the chain is made up of fine wires. These wires heat up quickly when trying to melt the solder. Two problems develop. The first is if the wire link gets too hot, it will quickly melt as you are trying to solder.

V Prong Setting

Several shapes of stones have pointed ends, including marquise, pear, heart, and princess. Because these points are often thin and fragile, it is important to protect them with a prong. This is particularly important on rings where the stone may be subject to more abuse than in pendants, earrings, or brooches. Although a standard prong will usually suffice, a V shaped prong is preferable. A V-prong provides additional protection and will more securely hold the point of the stone.

Fabricating a Crown to Fit a Stone

Often jewelers are called upon to hand fabricate a crown to fit a stone. This is necessary when either the stone is a non-standard shape, or the crown needs to fit a particular design. Although one will seldom hand fabricate a simple round basket crown, constructing one gives the jeweler the basic knowledge and understanding of crown construction needed when creating a more advanced crown.

Fit to be Sized

Before sizing any ring, examine it carefully and compare it to the information on the job envelope. If you see any damage or potential problems that are not marked clearly on the envelope, inform the store manager or sales clerk who took in the job so that they can notify the customer. It is extremely important that you inform them now, before any work is performed, rather than wait until later to inform them.

Bead Stone Setting – Bead It!

Bench Jewelers often use different methods to accomplish the same work. I believe the end results are what is important, not the method used to get there. In jewelry work the ends often justifies the means. This is not more evident than in bead setting. I know jewelers who cut the seat with round, bud, cone, setting, heart, or bearing burs. Then they cut the excess metal away with flat, knife, or onglette gravers, or they use heart, wheel, round, or knife edge burs. Some even use needle files or saw blades.

4 C’s of Effective Communication

Peter Drucker claims that 60% of all business problems result from faulty communication. The percentage is even higher in our jewelry repair shops. The major problems attributed to the shop are the result of miscommunication – Miscommunication between the customer, the salesperson, and the bench jeweler.

Bracelet Tongue Replacement

With the popularity of tennis bracelets over the last 20 years replacing broken tongues has become a common repair in the jewelry shop. Typically these are replaced by soldering a new tongue in place. However, using a torch to solder a tongue onto a bracelet creates two problems.

Restoring a Hollow Link Bracelet

This 14 karat white and yellow gold two tone bracelet has hollow wire
links. The link near the clasp which receives most of the wear on the
bracelet is broken and several of the other links are cracked or
smashed and need to be refurbished. To repair the broken link, begin
by using the point of a fine watchmakers tweezers to spread the link
open to regain the original round shape of the link. Then make sure
that the link fits back together tightly. Select a piece of 14 karat
yellow gold wire that will fit snugly inside the link.

Setting Square Shaped Diamonds

In this article we will set the baguettes and princess cut diamonds in the platinum mounting. Begin cutting the seat for the baguettes use a 45 degree hart bur and undercut each of the end caps. Be certain to hold the bur at the correct depth. Generally in this type of crown you want the girdle of the stone just above the cross bars. Cut just far enough into each end cap so that the length of the baguette will fit tightly into the crown. You need to be careful not to cut too far under the end caps because then the stone would be loose in the crown and difficult to tighten.

Proper Studio Light

Do not get caught in the dark – make certain your shop is well lit. In the jewelry shop, two types of lighting are used. 1. Ambient or General Lighting. 2. Task Lighting. It is best to have a combination of the two in your shop. It is best to have a combination of the two in your shop..

Different Methods of Cutting Azures

Azure is the American English derivative of the French term a jour or adjoure. An azure is a countersunk cutout on the back of jewelry, behind bead, channel, or flush set diamonds. Usually azures are a square or triangle shaped, resulting in what looks like bright cutting on the backside of the jewelry. It is an important aspect of diamond setting that is often neglected today.

Basic Sawing Techniques

In this article, we will continue our Back to Basics Series with an article on Sawing techniques.

Homemade Flex-Shaft Guard

Homemade flex-shaft guard using a soft drink plastic bottle, a solution to the annoying and potentially hazardous problem of breathing dust from polishing and rubber wheels used with your flex-shaft.

Basic Filing Techniques

Over the years, bad habits creep into our work procedures. Periodical review of our techniques is needed to assure us that these “bad habits” are not allowed to continue to effect the quality of our work. In this article, we will continue our Back to Basics Series with an article on Filing.

Jewelry Making Tricks

Check out this list of 19 jewelry making tips and tricks for preparation, cleaning, setting, how-to’s and more.

Bypass Shank Ring Assembly

Rings with by-pass shanks are right hand and left hand specific and are not interchangeable. When creating a ring with a by-pass shank, the side of the shank closest to the hand should come from the side of little finger. The ring will then sit straight on the finger. This is because the skin joining the fingers together is lower between the little finger and the ring finger than between the ring finger and the middle finger. If the ring is created with the shank going the other way, the shank will contact the hand on the middle finger side first and cause the ring to twist while wearing it.