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Also, with the silver, is there another quality source other
than Rio that sells silver and stones at a cheaper price??? I
would really appreciate it if I could get their fax number! so
from what I have read spring hardened silver is mostly for things
like clasps and all so I need a 1/2 hard silver…right?

Glad you solved the sparex problem.

Thunderbird Supply Co, E-mail,, web site,, 800-545-7968 has good silver prices,
they may have stones also. Tripp’s Mfg. 800-545-7962 has stones,
ilver, findings, books, tools & mountings.

1/2 hard is a good all round silver to use. If you need a harder
metal for a particular job, it’s easily hardened.


who can shed some light on the following question. Sparex I understand
to be sodium bisulphite.

I suspect it’s bisulphate, not bisulphite. I’ve not used it but I
could imagine that sodium bisulphate (which is very acidic) would be
a useful replacement pickle for sulphuric acid. Bisulphite, on the
other hand, is a weak reducing agent - not acidic at all.

Recently I ran out, and since the nearest supplier is a few hours
drive away, and not wanting to raid the battery acid as I’ve also done
on occasion, I asked around and found I could get sodium
metabisulphite at the local wine and beer-making supply store. They
sell it as a disinfectant. The salesclerk told me that an
industrial-scale gold jewelery manufacturer in this area buys it there

My question is, is there a substantive chemical difference between
sodium bisulphite and sodium metabisulphite,or is it merely a matter
of terminology, one term being perhaps more chemically correct than
the other? If in fact there is such a difference, how might this
affect the pickling process?

Er, no, they’re different. Very different. I suspect you wouldn’t
get a pickling action but the reducing properties might do something.

Clive Washington.