Jewelry is often one of the most cherished items a person owns. It can be difficult to part with, even when it’s damaged. If your silver-plated jewelry needs some repair, don’t worry! There are many ways to fix it yourself without taking it to a professional. This blog post will discuss the different methods you can use to repair silver-plated jewelry. Keep reading for more information!
- What Is Silver Plated Jewelry?
- How Is Jewelry Silver Plated?
- Does Silver Plated Jewelry Get Damaged?
- Factors To Consider When Repairing Your Silver Plated Jewelry
- 1. Base Metal
- 2. Type of Damage
- 3. Type Of Repair Needed
- Decorative Repairs
- Reconstructing Damaged Areas
What Is Silver Plated Jewelry?
Silver-plated jewelry is a type of jewelry that has a thin layer of silver over another metal. The most common base metals are brass and copper, but nickel and gold are also used. Silver plating can be done in a number of ways, including electroplating, physical vapor deposition (PVD), or using silver paint.
How Is Jewelry Silver Plated?
As mentioned above, silver plating is done through a process called electroplating. The process applies the same principle used to chrome-plate other metal objects. Once you have your base metal (usually brass), the jeweler will clean it and then apply a thin layer of copper to it.
They’ll then use an electrode (a metal stick with a pointed end) to dunk your jewelry in a vat of silver sulfate solution. This will create a current between the jewelry and the electrode, depositing silver onto the surface of your jewelry.
Once the jewelry is removed from the vat, it will still be covered in a thin layer of silver sulfate. The jeweler will then use a buffing wheel to polish away this layer until your jewelry is shiny and bright.
Does Silver Plated Jewelry Get Damaged?
Yes, silver-plated jewelry is more delicate than sterling silver. It can be scratched and damaged more easily, so it’s important to take care of it properly. The silver wears away over time, especially if the piece is worn often. If your silver-plated jewelry is not properly cared for, it will start to look dull and tarnished.
Factors To Consider When Repairing Your Silver Plated Jewelry
There are various ways you can go about repairing silver-plated jewelry. However, before the repairs are made, there are several factors to consider. Such factors may include;
1. Base Metal
The first thing you need to determine is the type of metal the jewelry is made from. Identifying the base metal will help you decide which repair method to use. The common base metals are;
2. Type of Damage
The type of damage the jewelry has will also help you determine which repair method to use. The damages can be classified into two types;
Physical damage is caused by wear and tear, accidents, or misuse. It includes scratches, dents, nicks, and pits on the surface of the metal.
Chemical damage is caused by corrosive substances like ammonia, bleach, and chlorine. It includes corrosion or pitting on the surface of the metal.
3. Type Of Repair Needed
The type of repair needed will also determine which method to use. The repairs can be classified into five categories;
This category includes the repairs done on the metal itself. It includes;
- Soldering: This is used to reattach a loose or broken part of the jewelry, such as closing an open seam/join, attaching a clasp, or fixing missing settings for stones.
- Annealing: This makes the metal stronger and more malleable by heating it to a glowing orange heat and then quickly cooling it in water.
- Bending: This is used to change the shape of the metal, for example, when fixing a kink or curve in a piece of jewelry.
- Polishing: This is used to remove scratches and marks from the surface of the jewelry, making it smooth again. It involves rubbing a polishing compound over the metal with a buffing wheel or cloth.
Refurbishment is used to restore the original appearance of the metal and involves removing tarnish, corrosion, or patina. It can also be used on badly scratched metals to remove those scratches.
This category includes repairs done on decorative parts like stones and missing beads. It includes;
Replacing Stones: This is used to replace missing or damaged stones in the jewelry.
Resetting Beads: This is used to reset loose or fallen beads on a piece of jewelry.
Reconstructing Damaged Areas
Reconstructing is used to rebuild and restore areas that have been damaged, for example, by corrosion.
Coloring is used to change or enhance an item’s color or surface finish. It includes painting, enameling, and electroplating.
How To Repair Silver Plated Jewelry
Once you have determined the type of metal, damage, and repair needed, you can choose the most appropriate method from the following:
Soldering is the most common method used for repairing silver-plated jewelry as it is strong and durable. It involves heating the solder to its melting point and joining two pieces of metal together. The solder is then allowed to cool and harden.
Epoxy is used for materials that cannot be soldered, like enameled or coated metals. It involves gluing the pieces together using a strong adhesive known as epoxy glue. Epoxy dries in about 24 hours and can be sanded down once completely dry.
Brazing is similar to soldering but uses a brazing rod instead of solder. The brazing rod is brass and has a higher melting point than solder. It is, therefore, better suited for repairing damaged jewelry with multiple pieces or large areas that need to be joined together.
Welding is used for repairing large areas that have been severely damaged. It involves melting the two pieces of metal together with a welding machine.
Plating is used to restore the original appearance of the jewelry. It involves coating the metal with a thin layer of silver or other precious metals.
Repairing silver plated jewelry is a practical step to take to save money. The cost of replacing lost or damaged silver-plated jewelry items can be quite high, so it makes sense to repair them instead. With the right tools and materials, repairing your silver-plated jewelry will not be difficult for you at all!