Soldering, or the process of bonding metal together, is one of the basic skills necessary to good jewellery making. Soldering gold to silver is much like any other type of soldering; it is simply trickier due to the different heating temperatures of the metals. Silver is a good conductor of heat, meaning that heat application must be high in order to complete the soldering process. Gold, on the other hand, is a poor conductor of heat and can melt under the high heat used on silver. With a few alterations to the normal soldering process, you can solder your gold to silver.
Set up a clean, safe soldering area. Lay a large ceramic tile on a table and pile a few fire bricks on top of it to create a fireproof surface. Put the tripod on top of the surface. Place your soldering torch and copper tongs within reach, and set up your pickle pot nearby.
Take the gold and silver metal pieces, and find the edges you would like to join. Paint the edges of each metal piece with liquid flux. Do not put flux anywhere you do not want the solder to flow.
Set the gold piece onto your tripod, with the flux side facing up.
Cut a few small pieces of medium silver solder with the wire clippers. Pick up the solder pieces with the tweezers and place them onto the flux edge of the gold.
Turn your soldering torch to a low flame. Hold the flame over the solder, and move it across the gold piece, heating the metal. When the solder begins to melt, remove the flame.
Pick up the gold piece with the copper tongs and move it aside for a moment, setting it on the fireproof surface. Place the silver metal piece onto the tripod, with the flux side facing up.
Pick up the gold piece with the copper tongs again and place it on top of the silver piece, with the soldered side facing down.
Turn your soldering torch on again and apply a low flame to the bottom of the silver, underneath the tripod. Move the torch over the silver piece to heat up the surface of the metal. Keep the torch moving as you apply heat.
Remove the torch when you see the solder melt and flow between the metals. Pick up the joined piece with the copper tongs and place it into the pickle pot.
- Pickle pots are heated containers filled with pickle solution, an acidic solution that removes oxidation from metal. You can use an electric crock pot for this purpose, if you do not have a pickle pot made expressly for jewellery making.
- Do not melt the gold while heating the silver. Keep the torch moving and pay attention so the gold does not overheat.