Just about any jeweler will tell you, silver can be a real pain to work on. The reason behind that is silver’s physical properties. First, it is the most electrically and thermally conductive metal there is. Second, it is highly motile when molten – meaning it is very fluid and spreads easily. Third, it tends to be found in jewelry in much higher purities than gold meaning it exhibits properties much closer to pure silver than gold jewelry does to pure gold which means it is also highly malleable. All of this adds up to a metal that will accept a truly frightening amount of abuse.
The problems with silver stem from all of the above because “repair” or “work on” really only means creative abuse, or abusing something in the correct way. In this case, in order to size the bracelet we need to saw it apart , weld the ends of the remaining links together, and then shape the resulting weld joint so it is smooth and presents correctly. With a traditional torch, that can be a very time consuming and frustrating process, and often results in at least one frozen link that – while joined – is no longer free to move like the rest of the bracelet.
We don’t use a torch though, we use an Orion 200i2 by Sunstone Engineering. It’s the best. Without further adieu, let’s get to it.
In the above gallery, you can see the jump ring that the customer left threaded through the bracelet to indicate his desired fit. Step one will be to split the bracelet at the desired length. Step two will be to split the closure from the previously removed piece. If we were using a torch, we could (in theory) heat this closure to remove it from the end it’s attached to and reuse it that way, but more likely we’d require a new closure. With our pulse arc welder, we can re-use almost any piece of metal in (almost) any way we can imagine. There are very few limits.