Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

IT solder & Ocean Jasper

I was given a 40mm ocean jasper/sterling pendant that one of the
solder joins broke on the bail. Didn’t see it as a difficult fix.

I wrapped the entire piece in thick Vigor Shield. then wet paper
towels. Using a small torch head and IT solder I went in quickly to
repair. The ocean jasper was a creamy translucent color. It looked
fine after I unwrapped and cleaned it. An hour or so later, it had
brown streaks in it. I purchased this stone from a very reputable
dealer so am trying to figure out what I did wrong.

Any help greatly appreciated as I have no idea what I am going to
tell the person this belongs to…


The stone needed to be removed from the setting, or you needed to use
a tack welder to avoid heating the stone. One suggestion, if you know
a Lapidary, it may be a surface stain. You could try a final polish
on a lapidary wheel with it remaining in the setting.

Good Luck.

Liane- I am so sorry but you should have pulled the stone. You
cannot solder on silver that close to a jasper. Especially IT solder
which is the highest temp for silver and mostly used where one will
be enameling.

I’m afraid that you will have to buy a new stone for the customer.

The most important thing I know that I wish I could teach with out
hard knocks is when to say “No”. It can’t be done though. The best
way to learn how to make and fix jewelry is to make a bunch of
mistakes. That’s how we all learn. My advice is to get them out of
the way as fast as possible in the beginning.

So congratulations and welcome to the club of “experts”.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

The stone got too hot at the area of the joint. You should have
removed the stone first, or at a minimum, used an easy silver solder
(like 45), not IT solder which melts at a very high temperature. An
alternative would have been to find someone with a laser welder to
do the repair for you. There is probably very little you can do at
this point.

Melissa Veres,
engraver and goldsmith

Oy! IT solder requires high heat, I would assume you overheated the
stone. I’ll be curious whether anyone gives info on how to fix it.
I’d consider it a loss. :frowning:


Hours after I sent my email yesterday I realized I had made a
mistake while typing and didn’t know how to correct it on this forum.
think I was so frustrated. I did not use IT solder… I used the stay
brite solder from Rio, melting point 430*. The stone was more tha 1/2
an inch from the solder join, so I figured packing it in heatshield
and wet paper towels would do the trick.

After soldering, the paper towels were not burned nor was the
heatshield warm. never turned color. So I figured I was safe. Why I
am stumped is it did’t immediately turn brown. And the brown is not
on the top or bottom surfaces. It is in the ‘interior’ of the stone
and it is feathery in appearance. Not a big block of brown. Almost
like a brown feathery river running through it. Yes, in the past I
have sent things to those with a laser, etc. but felt this one was
okay to do as it was so far from the stone. Guessed wrong.

well LianeJasper is extremely finicky, and even sometimes stones cut
from the same rock a few centimeters away might have very different
porosity/density structure, I would never take heat anywhere near
jasper, I have no trouble doing that repair on a pearl or even
turquoise, but Jasper is a wholeanother game, and specifically when
you get into the multi-colored types, need to look and study the
stone to see where and whatit has in terms of veins and spots, these
are things that will hinder the heat or conduct it faster. AND
sometimes even the best of the dealers or cutters end up using a
chemical compound or adhesive to stabilize the stone if too crumbly.
Just a thought, the way you were describing the feathery brown vein
in the interior, I thought maybe its a poly. something that might
have just warmed up enough and discolored. I had that happen on a
piece of quartz with the titanium oxide particles inside it. the
material came from Brazil, but had been rough cut in china and
finished in the US, the US cutter was wondering, the browning had
happened while he was cutting. not even in my hands yet. at the Lap

still Jasper is very finicky just because you were successful with
one cab does not mean it will work the same way next time, and
specially ocean jasper with all the different colors and oracular
forms and layers going on, for repairs, its 21st century, just get
it lasered, and omit the headaches, no matter how simple the job you
think it is. my mentors would always remind us anything that can go
wrong WILL go wrong. take care of it. replace the stone for the
client, bend over backward, loose the money this time, get them a
new stone and more to show your 110 % effort and you might get
abetter client out of them for you later in time. turn this negative
into apositive for you. stop dwelling on the repair and get your
client satisfied happy.

good luck. Hratch

Liane- I would not recommend using staybrite solder. It’s really a
very low temp solder and not very strong.

Basically it’s like the old lead solder.

Jo Haemer

I still think you should try the last 2 polishes on a lapidary
wheel. It can’t hurt and it might help.


I have spoken to the client and she is fine. and I will be making a
new piece for her. I greatly appreciate everybodys input. especially
how finicky jasper is. Now I know! However I am curious to hear how
well vigor shield works. and on what type of stones. In speaking to
two others. they had similar problems. I assume the product works in
certain scenarios…


However I am curious to hear how well vigor shield works. and on
what type of stones. 

I don’t trust most of those products for much of anything. ever.

The paste types will look like they’re remaining moist, but right at
the metal surface, they’ll have dried out as the metal heats, and
their heat sinking ability is then gone, along with the protection
beyond just deflecting contact with the flame itself. The types made
of a fiber matting to hold water, similar to using tissue or cotton
wrapped around the item then soaked with water, works a bit better,
as the liquid water can flow towards the metal, replenishing what’s
lost to heating. But it’s still often less effective than the
manufacturers represent, if one is working with anything that’s
actually heat sensative, because again, the amount of water is
limited, and as you heat, it’s too easy for a bit of sizzling to move
the protection away from the metal.

What does work, almost all the time, is to actually immerse the
stone under water. Position a container (something like a tuna fish,
cat food, or similar low round tin can) with water so your third hand
tweezers can hold the item with the whole stone under water, and at
least a small margin of metal next to the stone also under water. Now
the stone cannot get hotter than 212 degrees, and to do that, you’d
have to pump enough heat into the water to actually boil it. The
limits to this is that working with silver, it’s such an amazingly
good heat conductor, that the size of the torch flame you’ll need to
get solder to flow on the silver may be much bigger than you expect.
I’ve had silver rings to size, with the top half of the ring under
water, the exposed bottom half of the shank with seam to be soldered,
above, and find the flame I have to use to get the silver solder to
flow is hot enough that I could have melted a half ounce of platinum
with that flame. But with that water cooling it, the solder just
barely flows. Accompanied with the whole can of water sizzling and
boiling, and occasionally spitting and trying to blow the flame out.
Takes a little practice to get use to this. But it works. I can think
of only a few things I’d not trust this to, and those simply are
things that won’t even take the heat of boiling water. Amber, and
anything glued with epoxies (including opal doublets and triplets),
especially if the glue is getting old. There may be others too.

But in most cases, stones will be just fine with this, especially
since the heating is gradual as the water heats up.

Peter Rowe

Basically it’s like the old lead solder.

Jo Haemer