A soldered jump ring can mean the difference between a fine piece of jewellery and a lost piece of jewellery. Jump rings are used in jewellery items such as necklaces and bracelets to attach charms, findings and jewels. Soldering permanently joins the ends of jump rings so they will not open under the force of pulling. For jewellery makers, soldered jump rings can make or break the sale.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Extra-easy sheet silver solder
- Small butane torch
- 2 pair round nose pliers
- Soldering block
- Steel pick
- Pickle solution
Choose a sterling silver jump ring that has been split with a jeweller saw to ensure the ends fit together closely.
Clean the jump ring. Use soap and water to remove oils and dirt. Use sandpaper to remove oxides or heavy dirt.
Open the jump ring by twisting the ends in opposite directions with round nose jewellery pliers. Avoid pulling the ends open. This will decrease the tension and result in a weak joint.
Brush flux on both ends of the jump ring. Flux assists the flow of solder into the joint.
Close the jump ring by twisting the ends back to the closed position with round nose jewellery pliers. Make sure the ends match all the way around and the joint is flush.
Snip extra-easy sheet silver solder into one-millimeter squares. A quick way to create squares is to cut the sheet several times into thin strips vertically. Then, cut the strips horizontally.
Lay the jump ring on the soldering block. The soldering block holds heat and will help make a balanced solder.
Place a square of sheet solder on top of the jump ring joint.
Ignite the butane torch and reduce the flame to 1/2 inch.
Heat the ring with the torch. Use the hottest area, which is just beyond the blue tip of the flame. Continue heating the ring until the solder looks like liquid. Once the solder flows, remove the heat.
Place a square of sheet solder on the soldering block.
Heat the square until it forms a sphere.
Heat the jump ring to soldering temperature. Soldering temperature is 688 degrees Celsius. If the silver turns orange, you know the heat is too high.
Use a sharp steel pick to pick up the solder sphere. Place the solder onto the joint. The solder will flow into the joint of the jump ring.
Warm the pickle bath. A pickle is used after soldering to remove oxidation.
Allow the jump ring to cool and place it in the pickle. Leave the jump ring in the pickle for three to five minutes.
Use copper tongs to remove the jump ring from the pickle bath. Rinse the jump ring with water.
Tips and warnings
- If your solder globs, use less solder. For reference, keep records of the amount of solder you use for each diameter jump ring.
- Never use a butane torch if you are not familiar with it.
- Remove all combustible materials from your workspace while soldering.
- Avoid boiling the pickle solution.
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