Instructables

Melting silver to repair jewellery

Hello everyone,

Iam a disabled pensioner living in Australia. I have a few pieces of silver jewellery where links have opened, and require "soldering".

A jeweller has quoted me $40 each repair.

I have a 3 inch square of silver sheet left over from a jewellery course I took years ago, and want my husband to melt it on the links for me.

He has tried a hand held soldering iron and also a blow torch, neither worked. Please can someone advise us what else to try ? They are only minor melts required, but we cant make the silver molten in our garage.
Many thanks

bjymagra1 month ago

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Honus1 year ago
Unfortunately the silver sheet you have really isn't much use for repairing a joint or break that needs to be soldered. What you want to use is silver solder- you can buy it in "soft", "medium", or "hard" grade alloys. The "hard" solder melts a higher temperature than the "soft" solder but all silver solder will easily melt with a propane torch- just make sure to use a proper flux. Flux will help clean the joint and make sure you get a good soldered connection.
Silver solder is the answer, maybe with borax as a flux
Charmy666 (author)  steveastrouk1 year ago
Hi Steve,
Thanks for this info. I found a type of silver solder on ebay, but when I asked the seller if this was ok for my use, he doesnt know. A lot of the silver solders on ebay are only 3 or 4% silver etc. The one I enquired after comes in soft/medium/hard, and if I should buy it I am assuming that sft would be the way to go, requiring less heat to soften. Is this correct?

I have pasted the product below.

SILVER SOLDER STRIPS 7g repairs jewellery rings ect jewellers craft, easy - hard
Soft would be OK, it should have a lower melting point, but it won't be as strong as hard silver solder.

Sorry, the link doesn't show up. This is the kind of solder you want- http://www.riogrande.com/Product/Silver-Sheet-Solders/101200?Pos=2

What you do is mix up some boric acid powder with denatured alcohol- use about one part boric to two parts alcohol. Coat the area where you wish to solder with this and then touch it with a flame or let it air dry- this will help clean the joint. Next take a small brush and apply some flux to the area you wish to solder. Use this kind of flux- http://www.riogrande.com/Product/My-T-Flux/504006?Pos=2

Cut some solder into small chips and then place the solder on the joint and heat it with your propane torch until it flows into the joint. Next you want to soak it in a pickle solution using something like this- http://www.riogrande.com/Product/Rio-Pickle-for-Non-Ferrous-Metals/5010233?Pos=2

The trick to getting a good solder joint is to make sure the part you want to solder is REALLY clean or the solder won't flow into the joint and it'll make a big mess. One way to clean silver jewelry is to mix up a solution of lye (drain cleaner) granules and water. You only need around four tablespoons of lye to maybe 1 1/2 quarts of water. Add the lye to the water and stir well until it's dissolved- BE CAREFUL! Do NOT get this on yourself or your clothes! Note that you cannot put anything that has been lead soldered into the lye mixture. Put your silver piece in the mixture and let it sit there for several hours- the lye mixture will break down any organic material so you cannot put things like Turquoise or Onyx or Coral or Pearls into it as it will destroy it. Once your silver piece has had time to be cleaned carefully remove it and rinse well with water. Now it will be ready to be soldered.
kelseymh1 year ago
I don't think you're going to be able to melt silver at home without some form of special equipment. The melting point (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver) is 962 C (or 1763 F), which is far higher than an oven or soldering iron can produce. A propane flame could do it, provided you put the silver into the hottest core of the flame, not just "above the burner".
Charmy666 (author)  kelseymh1 year ago
Thanks so much for your help. Looks like it will have to be a job with pliers, or maybe we could just solder the link with soldering iron rod, what do you think?
You could just use a microwave to melt silver*


*not advised
Charmy666 (author)  mikeasaurus1 year ago
Hi Mike,
I have heard about this method, but wont it be dangerous?
mh76dk1 year ago
I just found this here on instructables: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-solder-for-Jewelry-purposes/ which might be of use to you
Charmy666 (author)  mh76dk1 year ago
I must be one of the few people left who spell jewellery this way. Yes, my husband wasnt too impressed when I showed him the link. Ha ha, will keep him busy for a while. I will try to buy some silver wire online. Thanks once again. You guys are GREAT !!!!
Charmy666 (author)  mh76dk1 year ago
Hi mh76dk,
This is a great link, thank you so much. I couldnt find any info when I searched instructables, but maybe I was using the wrong words. I shall show it to my husband, I am sure he will make more sense of it than me. Maybe my silver flat square is also too thick to melt, and I need silver wire??
Thanks again.
I found it through a google-search (and i notice the spelling of "jewelry" in the link being different from your posts "jewellery", so that might account for you not finding it)

Always glad to be of help. good luck to you (and your husband, who seems to be on the hook for this one :-)
mh76dk1 year ago
according to google, silver has a melting point of 961.8 °C (1763.24 F), so you would need something that heats at least that much - and you will ofcourse need to be very carefull not to ruin the original chains in the process (that kinda goes without saying, but im a sucker for stating the obvious :-)

I hope someone else with more knowledge on the subject can point you in a better direction than this "somewhere over there" pointing of mine. There is bound to be a least some silver-jewellers or hobby-jewellers on here I would think.