Although metal jewelry is usually reasonably sturdy, it can sometimes become damaged through regular use or accident. One common type of metal jewelry damage is cracking, which can occur when a piece of metal is dropped or knocked about. Cracks are fairly simple to repair, particularly if they are small, cosmetic defects. You can repair a crack in any type of metal, including silver, and in any type of jewelry design, such as a cuff bracelet.
Remove any gemstones from the bracelet and clean the surface of the bracelet with a polishing cloth. To remove the gemstones from a cabochon setting, which is made for flat-backed stones, gently pry the edges of the bezel away from the stone with a pair of pliers and pop the stone out. To remove stones from a pronged setting, gently pry apart the prong tips and shaft until the stone comes loose from the setting.
Set up a fireproof surface for your soldering workspace. Lay a large ceramic tile on top of a table and layer fire bricks over it.
Place the bracelet onto your fireproof surface with the cracked side facing upward. If necessary, you can attach the bracelet to a soldering clamp while you work.
Make a paste by adding water to your flux. You need to add only a few drops of water for each tablespoon of flux. Paint a tiny amount of flux into the bracelet crack.
Cut a few tiny pieces of silver solder and lay them over the crack, evenly spaced. Use the tweezers if necessary.
Turn the soldering torch to a low flame. Move the flame over the surface of the bracelet in a slow, back-and-forth motion.
Remove the flame when the solder melts. Pick up the bracelet with the copper tongs and place it into the pickle pot.
Remove the bracelet from the pickle pot once it is cool enough to touch. Dry the bracelet.
Sand away the excess solder on the top of the bracelet, using increasingly finer grit sandpaper, until the bracelet surface becomes seamless.
Polish the bracelet with the polishing cloth.
Things You'll Need
- Silver cuff bracelet
- Bent chain nose pliers
- Polishing cloth
- Large ceramic tile
- Fire bricks
- Soldering clamp
- Small paintbrush
- Silver solder
- Wire clippers
- Soldering torch
- Copper tongs
- Pickle pot
- 200, 400 and 600 grit sandpaper
The pickle pot should be a heated pot filled with pickle solution, which removes the oxidation caused by fire exposure. Some jewelry makers use a commercial pickle pot, while others prefer an electric crock pot. If the crack is fairly deep, you may need to cut some small silver pieces and wedge them into the crack before soldering. This will give the repair more stability and will better fill in the gap.
- bracelet image by RUZANNA ARUTYUNYAN from Fotolia.com