The last two rings posted were made using the stones from this family heirloom. Here is a little look into the process of pulling stones for remount into a new ring:
The first image is a photo of the piece as is. I clean and check all the stones before doing any work. There was one diamond chipped and one of the 5 emeralds was cracked before I began.
In the second image, I have clamped the ring into my ring vice and will use a flat graver (or chisel) to carefully lift all the prongs. The steel of graver is hardened tool steel and can damage the stones…so I must only touch the metal. During removal of stones I usually work under magnification to better assess how the metal is bending. I don’t want to create any pressure points when pulling stones because it could damage the stones.
In the third image, all the stones have carefully been removed. The metal gets sent to be refined and the emeralds are going to the lapidary to be re-cut and re-polished. While that is happening, I’ll be carving and casting the wax models into metal. Depending on the complexity of the design, type of setting, it takes me about 5-15 minutes to remove each stone. Emeralds are very brittle stones, and since we want to use the remaining 4 emeralds, I can’t make any mistakes taking them out, nor putting them into their new settings.