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To complete a piece of jewelry, jewelry designers must join precious metals. The material used to join metals together is called solder. The process that jewelers use to join metals is called soldering.

Types of Solders

The solder used must be compatible with the metals used in the jewelry. Types of solder include:
  • Silver - Silver solder is available in five different grades, including enameling, hard, medium, easy, and extra easy. Enameling solder, which has the highest melting point of the five grades, is typically used for enameled pieces, as it is able to withstand kiln temperatures. Hard solder has the next highest melting point, and is typically used if a piece has more than one soldered seam, while easy solder has a lower melting point and is often used to affix fastenings, jump rings, and other attachments.
  • Gold - Gold solder also comes in easy, medium, and hard, and is available in yellow, red, white, or green gold. Each karat of gold has a specific gold solder.
  • Platinum - Platinum solder is available in hard, medium, easy, and extra easy. Because platinum is an extremely hard metal, higher temperatures are needed during the soldering process.

Soldering Process

Soldering is done with a gas torch. In order for the solder to flow, it is treated with an agent called flux. Before any soldering takes place, the jeweler must take care to ensure that the pieces to be joined fit well together, there are no gaps, and the metals are clean. Because the soldering process changes the color of the metal, many jewelers prefer to work in darkened areas, because it enables them to better see the changing colors as the metal is heated.

soldering jewelry with a soldering torch
Soldering a Piece of Jewelry with a Soldering Torch

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