You are here:

Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/broken chain on bracelet

Advertisement


Question
Bracelet image 1
Bracelet image 1  

Bracelet image 2
Bracelet image 2  
Hi Thomas, I have a stainless steel bracelet bought for my partner where the threading/chain has snapped off from the main stainless steel plate in the middle. Is there any way to fix this? I thought soldering would do it but no jewellers will touch it because of it being steel. I have attached some photos to show you what I mean, I hope they are clear.

If soldering is not an option do you have any other ideas on how it can be saved? It has great sentimental value for us.

Thank you,

Rachel

Answer
Dear Rachel,

Jewelers generally do not have the particular material on hand to braze or join stainless steel. When attempted using normal hard solders and flux for gold or silver, the result is a globby and quite weak joining accompanied with much discoloration. Be glad the jewelers who felt they could not do the work satisfactorily turned it down!

I have three suggestions:
1. A jeweler may use a soft solder(a tin based low temperature solder similar to that used for electrical connections).
2. If you search out a jeweler with a laser welder or "jewelry laser" the job can be done with relative ease using the laser with an inert cover gas to weld the broken area.

Objections to #1, soft solder, include a relatively durable joining but not nearly as strong at the original(likely scenario) and possibly visible solder unless applied with great care.


Rachel, are the decorative filler tube and beads still on hand? If not, the chain may be joined directly to the link with either method,leaving a gap.  If the decorative fillers are available,  the work may be done but either laser or soft solder will likely result in a solid join. You see, there is precious little room to work in joining the chain end. Likely the one outside bead will need to be joined to the broken section end and to the tube. With the bead or a replacement bead in place, there is simply no working room to join only the chain to the next section.  You will loose some flexibility but should be again able to use the bracelet so it may return as it rightly should to your partner to wear.

3. A third choice is to wire it together. What is done is this: A very fine stainless steel wire(it must be steel for strength)may be soft soldered or laser welded into a hole in the section where the chain broke away. The wire has a loose end a couple of inches long. This end is threaded through the end links of the chain, looped, given two twists and cut away to leave little if any of the cut end showing. The extra length of the wire was only to give the jeweler something to work. A long wire is easy to work and a short one frustrating! When the extra length is cut away, there you have it. Whether or not the wire will be feasible depends on having wire securely joined to the broken end link, having enough working room and the use of a very fine cutting plier on the excess wire. (With care, a tiny end of the cut wire may be tucked away inside a spacer or back into the chain.) The end going to the chainless link section should be twisted in itself for a tiny but to provide a larger contact area for soldering or welding into the hole in the link.


Rachel, thank you for the photos. Without those, my thoughts would have be a shot in the dark with a disclaimer attached!

God Bless and Peace.  Thomas.

Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Thomas

Expertise

Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.

Experience

I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education/Credentials
Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to jewelry...wow, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.