Brooch Pins

I usually use nickel silver (hard solder) catches, joints and
stems for my sterling silver brooches. I have seen some people
using the one piece pin backs, made of base metal. These are
soft soldered onto sterling silver brooches. These are the same
ones that I have seen glued onto costume jewellery. It would be
far easier for me to use the one piece pin backs with soft
solder. I am wondering what other Orchid members use? Would you
consider the soft solder one piece pin backs as substandard for
use on a $100 + sterling silver brooch? Is there some other
product that I can use on my brooches?


Milt - I have always used sterling silver pin catches on my
sterling pins. I make my own pin stems out of stainless steel
wire and my swivels out of sterling tubing.

Steven Brixner - Jewelry Designer - San Diego CA USA

Regarding Brooch pins. I also use nickel silver with solder
(three pieces) instead of one piece. Just my opinion, but if I
were spending $100.00 I would want a more professional pin back
than what I see on $5.00 items. And, I would think that if
you are soldering the one piece pin back, wouldn’t the pin get
soft and require re-hardening?

I usually use nickel silver (hard solder) catches, joints and
stems for my sterling silver brooches. I have seen some people
using the one piece pin backs, made of base metal.

Hey Milt, No Offence, but some people glue a rock on a bolo tie,
and call it jewelry. Can’t figure out why you’d work so hard on
what I assume to be an nice, original piece of jewelry, just to
completely erase its value by not finishing it with findings as
worthy as the work. Doesn’t really take any more time to use the
nickel-silver two part pieces, and the work looks thoughtfully
done, instead of expedient. I make a large volume of
one-of-a-kind brooches, that are all also pendants…and I solder
on all of the parts at the same time, because I’m lazy as
heck…I do use easy paste solder, since this is the last
operation. Maybe that would make a difference. Sorry if I’m
coming down a little hard on your suggestion, its just that I’d
hate to see someone lessen the value of their work, just to save
a few seconds. Best of luck with whatever you choose to do.

Lisa,(riding yesterday on a 33 year old pony, built like a couch. All that was
missing was the remote control. ) Topanga, CA USA

Hi Milt.

This is just my two cents, but in my classes we are not
permitted to hand things in with ready made findings, so we’ve
all gotten fairly proficient at making our own pin backs. Is that
an option for you? We just use the little "Tim McCreight Special"
curly pig’s tail ones, with a catch at the other end. Is this
making sense to you? :slight_smile: On really special handmade pieces, the
handmade catch might add a little bit of flair; on the other
hand, your customers might feel they’re too “rustic” and want
the three part catches. I personally have had a lot of success
with the handmade ones.



I definitely consider the one-piece, base-metal pin backs to be
inappropriate on a carefully handcrafted pin. Like you, I use
the nickel silver 3-piece assembly–nickel is stronger than


Hi, Milt! for the back of sterling silver pins we make our own
out of 18 or 20 gauge wire. You can be as fancy or simple as
you would like. We file the end to make a sharp point, bend to
shape, plus the catch, then heat it and quench to harden it. If
the piece is heavier, use a thicker guage. I would rather keep
the entire piece in sterling than to somehow cheapen it by
adding a base metal, I consider it part of the piece. Just ask
a little more to compensate. Works for me…God Bless, Donna

I have to agree with Milt about soldering on nickle silver,
plated, or brass findings (such as pin backs) on to sterling
silver. After teach silversmithing for the past 25 years I have
decided just this year to always recomend that you solder these
findings on with “soft solder” purchased from a hardware store.
BUT, you must not use lead solder. If you are not use to
soldering a very low temperatures (450 degrees) you may over
heat lead solder and it will eat a hole in the thickess of
sterling silver. It will remind you of the Aliens blood eating
through the hull of the space ship in the first Alien movie! You
should use only 95% tin and 5% antimony soft solder. It will do
a great job, is cheap and will polish a little, even though it
is a different grey color than sterling silver. It will hold
fine. You must use the paste flux that is made for this solder,
however. It is a must!

With all that said, do you want to put a $2.00 finding on a
$100.00 pin. I teach my students to make the finding from
sterling silver. It will cost you a little time and about 50
cents worth of silver, but it will look better! If you would
like to know how to quickly make a sterling silver pin back,
please visit my web site, go to my questbook and request that I
put some photos on the site. I will work up a complete on line
“class” on my site for all to see. That way we won’t bore the
rest of the list, you can see it step by step in photos, and
everyone can use the questbook to offer their improvements and
good ideas!

My web site is at

Personally, I would only use nickle-plated findings if I were
making nickle-plated jewelery.


I would never use the one piece pin backs for anything made of
metal. I wholesale some pins for $17.50 and solder on separate
hinges and catches. Quality work is most evident in those details
you rarely see. Robert

There was a lot of discussion recently about stamping silver. I
may be wrong and if I am would love to be told, but I don’t think
you can stamp a piece sterling if you use nickel findings or one
of the one piece brass or base metal pin backs. If you use
anything other than hard silver solders with the backs I would
think you’re in even more trouble concerning stamping. The
stamping issue is what made me switch to silver catches and
joints for brooch backs even though they require slightly more
attention when soldering. I think you’re still permitted to use
the harder nickel pin stems as they are not permanently soldered
or otherwise attached to the piece.

I did recently see a line of nicely designed sterling brooches
someone had done with amethyst and onyx that used the one piece
mass produced pin back. I didn’t like the way it looked even
though the brooches were priced around thirty dollars. I guess
it’s a matter of aesthetics verses commerce. Linda

Right on, what ever is soldered on must conform to the stamped
fineness. Instead of using a nickel pin stem, I prefer the
thinner and stronger stainless steel pins which I fashion out of
.032 wire. For what it’s worth. Joe D

Hello all, As far as the hinge part of the pin( i have made a
master model of the part)They look like 2 pcs of 3/4 round cups
and i solder them onto the pin model. The catch can also be made
as a heavy duty hook design that also can be soldered onto the
model . This way both parts are sterling and are intrinsicaly
cast into the design. All you have to do is buy a nickel silver
pinstem( or make your own) That has a a small rod/pin going
through the hinged part of the pin wire.You can insert the pin
stem into the 3/4 rd cups, squeeze the cups shut onto the pinstem
hinge and you now have a sterling hinged pin stem without having
to solder.If you design the hook side well,it also can be cast as
part of the design and you will now have a top class pin! we mfg
about 200 pins a month for customers using this method.

Daniel Grandi