Jewelery disintegrating in cleaner

John knows whereof he speaks.

I have come across fine 9ct gold chains that are so old, worn and
deteriorated that they’ve been held together with grease, hair and
skin flakes. You put them in the ultrasonic and they fall apart. Yuk!
Tony Konrath Gold and Stone

One thing to keep in mind concerning chains is that they are allowed
by law to contain a lot more solder than in other type of jewelry and
most solders are not plumb.

For example platinum chains are stamped PT but are, when assayed,
around 85% platinum. Any other platinum product such as a ring
wouldn’t even be able to be stamped PT. Gold chains while not
necessarily lower in karat as platinum chains are, still are allowed
by law to contain a lot more solder than any other gold product. The
reason for this allowance by the law is that most chains are made
from wire with solder cores. However, these cores can become exposed
through the manufacturing process and are then attacked by chemicals
that don’t normally react to the gold alloy.

This is in all probability why the chains are crumbling. You need to
find a detergent/chemical that will not damage the solder in the
chain. I use Simple Green and have never experienced a problem.
Good luck

Larry Seiger

Larry, can you explain the US law to me a little more. As an
immigrant I’m following UK practice so I have to get it right here!

We were allowed to use a low carat solder core in the wire provided
that the overall carat was OK (22,18,9). So if you melted the chain
down the carat was assayable at the carat you stamped the article
with. UK solder core wire was made with a higher carat gold on the
outside - say 20ct for an 18ct finished product. We weren’t allowed
any leeway on this. They’d break the article on assay if it failed.

Tony Konrath
Gold and Stone


The Federal Trade Commission is the government agency that regulates
the jewelry trade with respect to quality. Here is a link to their
site and the applicable laws

Advertising and Marketing on the Internet: Rules of the Road | Federal Trade Commission.

There is a lot of confusion even among people in the trade who should
know better. If you have a question you should look it up in the FTC

James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601


A lot of American jewelers I have worked with have complained about
the US stamping laws. I always laughed and told them to do some
research on European stamping laws! We have it quite easy here in
the US in respect to stamping.

I can’t find my brochure that has the stamping requirements in it but
I can show you a place to start.

There is a good amount of not only on stamping but on
other jewelry related matters. It doesn’t have the regulations on
how much solder can be used on any given peice of jewelry, but it
does have at the end of the site an appendix that is very helpful in
letting us jewelers know what we don’t have to include in an assay
(for example, on a platinum chain or bracelet the spring tongue is
excluded from the assay. So you can use gold for the spring).

As soon as I find the other regulations I will post them on Orchid.

Larry Seiger