Combining two metal types in your jewelry designs just may be the oomph you need to be able to sell your products more. Some things just go beautifully together. And having jewelry pieces made from the combination of copper and silver among others can lend a certain uniqueness to your jewelry.
One way to achieve this mixed metal jewelry style is through soldering. Soldering is the process of joining together two metals through melting and using filler metal. If you want to get started in making mixed metal jewelry, more particularly mixing copper, read on for some tips.
Copper is infamously classified as a ‘nasty metal’ along with brass and bronze because they oxidize more rapidly when torched. Thus, expert metalsmiths swear by the motto of ‘keeping things clean’ when working with these metals. They emphasize the importance of keeping your metals clean of any residue like fingerprints. You can do this by constantly scrubbing the metal piece your working on with some detergent and s kitchen scrub sponge. Other things you can use are some sandpaper and some finishing film as well.
Once your metal is textured, you can then scrub it with it pumice, soap and a brass brush. Don’t forget to get in those small crevices. You’ll know you’re doing a good job when you can see the water sheets off your copper piece.
Another tip metalsmiths recommend is using flux. It is a chemical cleaning agent, flowing agent, or purifying agent. Flux have been used for centuries in different types of work and comes in many forms. You can purchase it in jewelry supply stores. The one used for jewelry making comes in a pink fluid form. You can store it in a spray bottle for convenience and easy use. Flux is sprayed in thin coats once you’ve finished cleaning the metal piece you’re working on. To ensure that the flux continues to protect the metal piece, make sure to solder fast.
Soldering to mix metals involves the use of soldering torch which most beginners sometimes fear to use. There is always the concern that one might melt the metals too much resulting in waste of expensive materials. So, to avoid wastage while still being able to practice, experts recommend using scrap metals instead. You can find scrap metals in construction supplies stores.
If you want to solder copper onto sterling silver, experts recommend that soldering silver onto the copper piece would be much easier given the higher melting point of copper. Doing it the other way around might result in the silver getting too soft and melting into the copper piece.
Always be mindful of the melting points of the different metals you’re working with. Here is a list of the most common metals used in jewelry making and their corresponding melting temperature.
- Silver- 961.8 C
- Pure gold- 1,064 C
- Iron- 1,538 C
- Nickel- 1,455 C
- Copper- 1,085 C
- Platinum- 1,768 C
- Titanium- 1,668 C
Add some wow factor into your jewelry designs by mixing two different metals together to create a unique look. Mixing copper with other metals can definitely lend a distinct look to your designs making them stand out from other pieces. Remember these tips the next time you pick up your torch. We hope these tried and tested tips from experts can help you avoid some common mistakes.