My 11th week has come and gone and I would love to tell you some more about what I have been learning. The first technique I learnt this week with Sam Kritsotakis at Eskae Private Jeweller was soldering two large jumprings onto the sides of an 18ct white gold ring and secondly perfecting my emerying, polishing and rhodium plating techniques and skills to restore pieces of jewellery which show wear and tear, such as scratches, dents, low polish and have no longer got rhodium plating left on them.
The first technique; soldering the two jumprings onto a wide hammer finished ring was a new technique to learn as I was able to perform soldering using binding wire to help me hold the separate pieces in place which is a helpful technique. It was quite fun actually to perform this soldering skill. And I enjoyed it immensely.
To begin, both edges of the ring and one side of each jumpring needed to be flat, clean and smooth. This was done by using emery papers to create a smooth surface before soldering. Next the flat surface on the jumpring was placed face down onto the side of the ring. The solder line on the jumpring was aligned with the bottom of the hammer finished designer ring. The two are then held together with fine binding wire. This wire helps hold the two in place whilst soldering them together to ensure that the jumpring does not move with the solder and heat. I then placed the two into a boracic acid and mentholated spirits solution, which keeps the ring’s polished and shiney appearance from oxidising whilst heat is being applied. The solution is then burned off with a flame to leave a glaze like finish over the ring which stops the air from making contact with the ring which in turn causes the ring to oxidise. This flame is actually a very cool colour, instead of being a blue or orange colour it is actually a bright green colour. It is only faint, however when you can see it, it is very interesting.
The ring is now ready for soldering after having flux applied along the join sections. At the top of the ring, I place a piece of solder on the inside right in between where the ring meets the jumpring, and drew the solder outwards ( a similar technique to what I mentioned to you last week on the pendant) except that this time on the ring I not only had to draw the solder outwards but also draw the solder along the gap between the ring and the jumpring. After the first solder ball was drawn, the binding wire could be removed. The next piece of solder can now be placed next to where the last was drawn along and the same technique is repeated until the whole jumpring is soldered on the whole way around.
The technique is then repeated on the other side with the other jumpring, including the binding wire, boracic acid and flux. Once both jumprings have been soldered in place onto the wide ring, I then made sure that the solder had run evenly the whole way around the ring and adjusted if needed by drawing the solder with heat to where it was needed. As I said before I thoroughly enjoyed learning this technique as it is an important skill that I will use often when creating pieces of jewellery.
Secondly the other important skills I performed this week was perfecting my emerying, polishing and rhodium plating techniques and skills to provide our Refreshing Ring Rejuvination service to jewellery which show wear and tear, such as scratches, dents, low polish and have no longer got rhodium plating left on them. Performing these skills and perfecting them as much as I can is helping me to become a good jeweller and cement these skills into my mind for the future.
Well I am off to create more exciting jewellery, in particular a 9ct white gold bangle which I will have finished by the time I speak to you next. I am looking forward to telling you about the process and also showing a photo of the final piece.
Until then, have a fantastic week,