A friend has asked that I repair a favourite necklace that has come
adrift - a soldered joint has parted. She says it is silver - I have
my doubts, though I know it was sold to her as silver. I’ve attached
a photo of the break: the end of the severed horses head (on the
right) has a goldish/brassy tinge to it, as does the ring to which it
was soldered (on the left) and looks rather porous to me. Is the
entire piece likely made of brass or other base metal and plated? Can
anyone tell from my photo and description? I don’t want to take a
torch to the piece if it’s going to burn off the plating, though the
piece can’t be worn now anyway. The spring clasp, incidentally, is
definitely plated brass as the plating has worn off. Any guidance
that anyone can offer will be gratefully received.
It’s tough to say if it’s a solid silver alloy because there may be
a tinge of tarnish on the end of the horse head and solder on the
ring. To be safe, I would find someone with a laser or pulse arc
welder who can use Argentium silver wire solder
( http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep827o ) which has a 76% silver
content. The welders’ heat is so localized that it shouldn’t harm
the plating and will be much stronger than tin/silver solder.
Janet- I’m afraid that the photo link did not work for me.
However judging from your description I’d be willing to be some
serious money that it’s not silver. Especially as the clasp is plated
base metal. I would not take a torch to it. sometimes it’s best to
just say “No”.
As Jeff suggests, sometimes the safest answer is to let someone with
accessto a laser do the repair, if there are concerns. There are
very few metalsthat cannot be repaired using a laser, and there is
If you use traditional sterling for welding, you’d have to be
positive that all solder was removed as sterling wire dislikes
melding with solder. If you didn’t want to remove the solder and the
piece is plated, I would recommend the Argentium solder wire since it
melds better to other silver alloys.
If the piece isn’t marked “Sterling” or.925", that’s an indication
it’s plated. It’s to the manufacturer’s advantage to advertise the
alloy. If that piece came to my shop, I’d scrape along the ring where
it was attached to the other side. I would then put a piece of
glossy white paper or plastic next to the area to determine if it’s
plated over white metal (it will scrape like butter), copper, or
brass. If I still couldn’t identify the base metal, I would perform
an acid test.