From early simple stone necklaces and amulets to modern, intricately designed, chandelier necklaces and earrings, the goal of ornamentation has always been the same. And still, over time, trends and designs have changed and as craftsmen grew in skill and tools advanced to help them create better work, in form and function. Today is no different. The work remains largely the same though the designs and tools continue to evolve.
The modern jeweler doesn’t work the same way as the original craftsman. The addition of laser welders and laser welding to the jewelry workshop has, without a doubt, improved not just the craftsmanship and capability but also the reliability and profitability of jewelry shops.
What is Jewelry Welding?
Much like any kind of welding, jewelry welding allows jewelers to connect two or more parts of metal jewelry together, whether for design or repair. Those skilled in jewelry welding can connect many different types of metal, precious and non, using a variety of different weld joints. As one can imagine, welding, when it comes to jewelry, must be precise and clean, which is why laser welding is among the best methods.
How is Jewelry Welding Used in Jewelry Design and Jewelry Repair?
As mentioned above, jewelry welding is used for both jewelry design and jewelry repair.
It’s rare that jewelry is made from a single piece of metal. Instead, separate metal pieces are often intertwined or connected to complete a finished piece of jewelry. Rings, for example, often have a setting for a stone or perhaps even a metal embellishment and those must be welded to the ring itself. The weld must be reliable and, when it comes to jewelry, the seams should be undetectable.
While jewelry design has improved over the years, laser jewelry repair has revolutionized this aspect of the craft. Prior to lasers, a lot of repair work was impossible simply because the mechanisms to complete the repair work would have damaged the items themselves. However, with lasers, jewelers can now repair everything from sterling silver to glass pieces in costume jewelry.
This means that lasers are used not just in standard repairs, like when that setting falls off the ring, but also in restoration. From your grandmother’s favorite cameo to replacing the post on your favorite earrings, laser jewelry repair has made many things possible.
Typically, when someone mentions welding, the vision is of a big guy in a metal mask wearing thick gloves, hardly a vision one connects to jewelry, its precious metals, gemstones, and precision work. However, there are four primary tools used for jewelry welding.
Brazing is a specialized type of metal joining that involves the use of a filler material to bridge two or more pieces of metal together, usually at temperatures higher than 400°C (752°F). During brazing, the base metals are not melted, but rather heated until the filler metal is able to flow between them and form a strong bond. It is an alternative to welding, as it does not require an extremely high temperature for joining.
Soldering technically isn’t welding as the metals being joined are never actually melted as occurs in welding. Instead, soldering involves joining two metals together using a “joining” metal that has a lower melting point. This way, the two metals being joined are not exposed to excessive heat. However, soldering can be difficult and time consuming, especially the “clean up” process once the solder is complete.
Pulse Arc Welding
Pulse arc welders are also known as micro TIG welders. Pulse arc welding relies on a sharpened electrode tip that pulses, using the power of the electric pulse to join the metals. While pulse arc welders are great for some applications and some metals, others, like white gold, can become brittle with this method.
Laser welding relies on an amplified light beam of light to create nearly imperceptible joints in jewelry. Much like soldering and traditional welding methods, it relies on the operator’s control over the beam itself, but is often faster and cleaner than soldering.
Why Choose Laser Welding for Jewelry Design and Repair
While every method of welding for jewelry design and repair comes with some advantages, one method stands above the rest for its versatility, reliability, and return on investment and that method is laser welding.
Versatility– It’s not just about applications because laser welding is an excellent option for everything, from casting and assembly to spring and chain repair, it’s also about material versatility. For example, both sterling silver and platinum are notoriously difficult to work with, unless you’re using a laser welder. .But, you don’t have to only be working with complicated metals, you can also work on other precious metals such as yellow and white gold.
Reliability- Welds from a laser are 95% as strong as virgin meta and they’re also 260 times stronger than a soldered weld too. That means your crafting or repairing is going to last. But, again, it’s about more than jewelry. In fact, laser welding machines, when properly used and cared for, are durable and can last for decades.
Return on investment- Like all crafts, jewelry design and repair takes time. However, there are some tasks that are time consuming but needn’t be. Much like tailors can spend time designing beautiful work and working on complex pieces, shops handle a lot of hemming too. Jewelry shops are similar. The big pieces and complex work are important, but a good amount of what comes through the door are tasks that can and should be completed quickly. The speed, accuracy, and reliability of a laser welding machine means you can increase your volume of work without sacrificing quality. Further, you can also complete complex beautiful work using a laser welding machine.
There’s no doubt that jewelry design and repair is a complex trade. From bench jeweler to master jeweler, the tools remain the same. And, when you want the best for your customers and for your business, you want to choose the tools that can help you deliver quality, reliability, consistency, and beauty.
If you’re ready to talk about how you can use a laser welder for jewelry design and repair, get the best support in the business, come talk to us. Not only do we understand laser welders, but we also understand the jewelry business. We work with and invest in your growth. Reach out to the LaserStar team today and let’s get started!