If you know how to solder, you can fix your broken jewellery fairly quickly. Once you have the materials, it's also less expensive than having your jewellery repaired. Solder is a metal alloy with a low melting point; once melted, it acts as a liquid glue that cools solid. For a broken necklace, whether it's a plate metal choker or a chain necklace, you need to first identify the metal. Both precious metals, such as silver and gold, and metals such as copper and steel can be soldered, but they're not treated the same way.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Soap and water
- Small paint brush
- Butane torch
- Pickling solution
Clean the necklace pieces thoroughly. If there is any dirt or oil from your fingers on the surfaces, the solder won't stick. Wash the pieces with soap and dry with a paper towel.
Arrange the necklace on a brick, which can take the heat of the torch, so that the broken ends touch. Alternatively, you can use clamps to hold the necklace in place.
Apply a small amount of flux to the area to be soldered with a paint brush. Flux is a grainy, white paste sold in jewellery supply shops.
Light the torch as directed by the manufacturer. Move the flame over the area to be soldered in a back-and-forth motion to heat it. The flux will start to bubble, then turn translucent. When it becomes clear, the temperature is right.
Hold the solder in your dominant hand with the tip about an inch over the soldering point. Move the torch flame over the tip of the solder until it starts to melt. Allow one drop of solder to hit the flux, then pull the solder and torch away.
Adjust the pieces with tweezers, if necessary, while the solder is still molten. It will only take a few seconds for the solder to set. If you need more solder to fix the piece, melt another drip or two of solder onto the piece.
Allow the necklace to cool completely.
Dunk the necklace, if it's made of silver or gold, into the pickle solution to remove the flux. Don't use a pickle if it's made of a metal that attracts magnets; clean off the flux with a damp sponge instead.
Sand the solder smooth, if necessary.
Tips and warnings
- Pickling solution, which can be found through jewellery-making suppliers, is a mild acid that works best when warm. If you don't have pickling solution, use some warm diluted vinegar with a little table salt added instead.
- Practice soldering on scraps of metal before you try soldering the necklace.
- Learn how to use a butane torch before attempting to solder jewellery.
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