The most common types of repairs that silver rings require are ring-sizing and resoldering a broken ring shank. Silver rings can be fixed using jewellery repair techniques and the right tools and equipment.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Ring mandrel
- Leather mallet
- Fine jewellery file
- Ring clamp
- Easy-flow paste silver solder and flux
- Torch (map gas or oxygen and acetylene)
- Jeweller's tweezers
- Bowl of water
- Buffing wheel or Dremel tool
- Red buffing rouge
- Green Tripoli polishing compound
Purchase the ring mandrel and leather mallet needed for silver ring repair. Many of the items are available at local hardware stores or automobile parts supply shops. Speciality jewellers supply stores also sell professional jewellery repair equipment and tools. Shop online for items that you have difficulty finding.
Set the tools and equipment up in a work area that has plenty of ventilation.
Prepare the silver ring that needs fixing by filing down the metal end parts of both sides of a broken ring shank. If the ring needs to be sized up or down you will need to cut apart the ring shank in the back, slightly to the side and then file the metal end parts where you cut the ring shank apart. The object is to make the end pieces on a broken ring shank connect to one another without a gap. With a ring that needs to be sized up, you will be adding a piece of metal in between the gap in the ring shank. With a ring that needs to be sized down, you will be cutting out an additional part of the ring shank.
Position the silver ring in the ring clamp once you have the ends of the ring shank evenly connected to one another.
Apply a small amount of easy-flow silver solder to the inside of the ring shank covering the seam of the ring shank pieces that you have clamped together. For a ring that is being sized up, use the ring mandrel to determine the amount of silver wire that will need to be added to the ring shank. Cut out that piece of silver wire. File both ends smooth. Insert that piece of metal in between the two ring shank ends so that it forms a connection. Insert the ring in the ring clamp and add easy-flow solder to both sides of the metal joints in the shank that need to be soldered together. For a ring that needs to be sized down, use the ring mandrel to determine how much silver to cut out of the ring shank. File the ends down and butt the shank joints together. Set the ring in the ring clamp and apply easy-flow solder to the joints.
Turn on the map gas or oxygen and acetylene valves. Open the end of the torch so that a small amount of gas starts to flow out of it. Carefully use a lighter or fire starter to ignite the end of the torch tip. Adjust the flame to a working level.
Direct the torch flame on the joint areas of the silver ring that need to be soldered from the outside band part of the ring. Move the flame around as need be. Watch for the easy-flow solder and flux to turn a glossy or liquid colour, filling the gap in the ring joints. Repeat as necessary on any additional ring seams that need soldering. Remove the flame. Using the tweezers, remove the ring from the ring clamps and drop it in to the bowl of water to cool.
Buff and polish the silver ring once it has cooled using a small Dremel tool with buffing and polishing compounds such as red buffing rouge and green Tripoli polishing compound.
Tips and warnings
- Use the references and resources listed below for additional instruction and demonstration. For rings that have stones in them, you will either have to remove the stones before repairing or use alternative techniques. This article applies only to fixing silver rings without stones. Many of the same techniques can be used for repairing gold jewellery with different solder and flux and lower heat temperatures on the torch.
- Don't ever pick up a hot piece of metal with your bare hands. Use jeweller's tweezers and, and if need be, safety gloves and mask for working with jewellery. Work in well-ventilated areas.
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