Jewelry - Soldering and Pickling Silver
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Jewelry - Soldering and Pickling Silver

Repairing your silver, gold and costume jewelry with silver solder and a gas-air torch. You will also need a small brush, tweezers, and pickling solution.

Soldering Silver - A new back can be bonded to a solid silver mount with easy (silver) solder. Soldering is not recommended for gold plate or other alloys commonly used in costume jewelry, as the pickling solution will remove the plating as well as the discoloration left by soldering.

The best heating tool to use is a gas-air torch. The correct flame will quickly heat the piece just enough to cause the solder to flow.

Materials for Soldering Silver:

  • Flux, easy solder, wire
  • Tools - Small brush, gas-air torch, file, coil, tweezers
  1. File any old solder off back of mount. Wipe away all filings. The metal must be clean and smooth in order for the joint to bond securely. With a small brush, apply a little flux to the entire mount and to the base of the rocker arm.
  2. Position the arm on the mount and wire the two pieces together. Place jewelry on an coil. Pins can be inserted around the jewelry piece to hold it steady during soldering. Apply flux again around the base of the arm.
  3. Cut a 1/16-in. piece of solder. Grip in pliers and dip into flux. Place solder next to base of arm. Heat flux slowly with torch to dry it out. Flux may bubble; a white crust will form. Heat should not be enough to melt solder at this point.
  4. Check to see that solder is still in place. Direct flame tip to heat mount around base of arm; solder will begin to flow under base. Remove torch as soon as solder melts. Allow jewelry to cool slightly; snip off wire; pickle jewelry next.

Pickling: After soldering, remove flux by dipping joint into pickling solution. A commercial pickling powder added to water - 1 tablespoon powder to 1 pint water - is much safer to use than the old mixture of 1 part sulfuric acid to 16 parts water. Always handle pickling solution with care. After use, store in a covered Pyrex jar.

Use a copper or Pyrex saucepan as a container for the solution and a pair of copper tongs or loop of copper wire to hold the piece of jewelry during pickling.

After the jewelry has been washed and dried, smooth with emery stick, and polish.

  1. Heat pickling solution on stove until it begins simmering. Do not boil. Grasp jewelry piece in tongs and lower carefully into solution.
  2. When flux disappears from soldered area, remove the jewelry piece from solution and rinse with warm water. Clean with soap and water. Dry with a soft cloth.

Additional resources:

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Comments (1)

Another good article. Voted up.