In my trade, the soldering of handmade jewellery pieces is always a unique challenge. Good flowing properties along with an optimally colour-matched solder for the piece of jewellery to be made make a significant difference for me. Over the past 27 years as a master goldsmith and jewellery designer, I have gained a wide range of experience with different materials, and through sharing my experiences, I hope to help other craftsmen solve their soldering and solder paste problems.
My rose and red gold soldering problem: finding the right solder colour
As a self-employed master goldsmith, I create individual jewellery for customers with my label „Michaela Römer“. Most goldsmiths know at this point what it means to make individual jewellery – the rings are twisted or braided and made of wire or sheet metal, the earrings uniquely contorted and so on. Often, one of the challenges is to make a shape look endless with a perfect soldered joint, and the challenges of soldering continue for goldsmiths when it comes to jewellery repairs. Over time, everyone develops their own soldering techniques and tricks to achieve the best possible result with the given means.
One of my biggest problems with soldering was making jewellery in rose and red gold for many clients and not being able to find the perfect solder colour. Working with the available colours was a real challenge for me because the solder colour differed to the jewellery piece. In some projects, for example, I subsequently lasered the soldering point with rose or red gold in order to conceal this point in the best way possible, and every goldsmith knows the challenge of finding the optimal melting interval. It took a lot of time and tested my patience regularly, but during my search for new solutions, I came across an article about solder pastes that read so promisingly that I decided to test the products it mentioned in my goldsmith’s shop.
The solder pastes are offered in a variety of precious metal alloy colours, so I can now find the right colour to match the jewellery. For readers who are not goldsmiths, I would briefly add that by „colours“ I mean the composition of the precious metal alloy. Suppose I am making an 18-carat red gold ring; I will also need a solder that is 18-carat red gold. Since a goldsmith always knows what materials the jewellery to be worked on is made of, choosing the right solder paste is very easy.
Solder pastes compared to solder wires
What began with a search for solder in the appropriate colour, led, during the first applications, to the positive realisation that solder pastes have further benefits.
The biggest advantage compared to conventional soldering is the optimal flowability of the pastes. The material flows more homogeneously, the melting temperature for soldering is lower, and it does not dry again so quickly, so the soldering material bonds optimally with the piece of jewellery. Additional flux is not necessary because it is already integrated in the paste.
Further simplifications are the exact dosing of the solder quantity and the consistency of the paste, which makes it much easier for me to influence the soldering process, meaning I invest much less time in the process.
The 2-in-1 component of the solder pastes gives the paste its consistency which is much easier to work with compared to conventional soldering.
Tips for handling solder pastes
The handling of solder pastes is indeed uncomplicated and yet I would like to briefly point out possible stumbling blocks. If you are a goldsmith who solders daily, it is recommended to get a dosing device for the solder pastes. The device enables exact dosing and precise placement of the paste. It is safe and comfortable to hold, so you can continue working without becoming tired.
Finding the right nozzle for each application requires a little experience, but I have now firmly assigned the nozzles to my different pastes.
In summary, I would like to encourage people to try out this technology and experience the solder pastes for themselves, and I hope they have the same positive experiences that I have had with solder pastes!
About Michaela Römer:
As a master goldsmith and jewellery designer, Michaela Römer devotes herself entirely to the individual HAeNDeWERK – as she calls it – in her studio. Sustainability has always determined Michaela’s actions in both her professional and private life. For example, she very consistently questions the origin of her materials and the conditions under which people work within the entire supply chain. In addition to her work as a master goldsmith, Michaela started a project in a township in South Africa which offers young people who could not finance their education alone the opportunity to learn the craft of a goldsmith. Very fittingly, this project is called „Izandla Zethu“, which means „Our Hands“ in the local language. Here, too, Michaela has brought in the topic of sustainability… The materials that the trainees use to make jewellery are, for example, old corrugated metal sheets from former huts in the township, which thus experience a very special kind of upcycling.
Learn more „Izandla Zethu“ here:
and about Michaela Römer here: