When a piece of jewelry is broken, we have a variety of techniques we can use to repair the break, including soldering and laser welding. But what is soldering? Soldering means to “join or unite” and in the jewelry craft, soldering means that we are using melted metal to join or unite one part of your jewelry with another part. Then what is laser welding? Instead of joining metals using solder often times laser welding can be used. Welding joins two pieces by melting both sides into a homogenous form creating a strong bond between the two sides.
Here are some details of what happens when your jewelry is soldered:
When we receive your piece we access the proper technique for your unique repair. We then do necessary preparation work to create a good seam to apply solder or to weld the sides together. We will remove any gemstones that can be damaged in the process because soldering requires heat and heat can damage some stones or embellishment. Many times it’s more appropriate to use a laser to prevent unnecessary damage that removing gemstones causes. If the piece has bends along the break, we will straighten them out and may file or otherwise augment the edges to create a good seam. We will clean the edges to be soldered or welded to help ensure they bond well because skin oils, dirt or other debris can prevent metal from joining where it needs to.
There are a number of techniques that can be used to do the actual soldering, the laser soldering tool has an extremely precise focal point so that we don’t damage any surrounding areas and to form an extra strong bond. Often times necessary when tradition soldering is too close to a gemstone and may cause damage.
There are also traditional soldering techniques where the edges to be soldered are lined up, flux is placed on the seam, followed by a solder appropriate for the metal. Flux lowers the heat required to melt the solder and allows it to flow between the pieces to be joined. Unlike laser soldering, which uses a high pulse of energy, a jeweler’s delicate touch adds a fine flame to heat the joint. Trained jewelers know how much heat to apply to which pieces to get the solder to flow well and join the pieces while protecting the surrounding area.
After soldering is complete, the piece may be cleaned using a fluid to remove any remaining marks from the torch. All gem stones are returned to their settings, the jewelry is polished to a high luster, cleaned using an ultrasonic cleaner and high powered steam and then piece is checked for any remaining repair signs. Now it’s time for you to enjoy your jewelry with the satisfaction that your it was repaired properly the first time by a true artisan.