How to Repair a Silver Chain

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Silver reflects light beautifully and flatters virtually any skin tone.
Silver reflects light beautifully and flatters virtually any skin tone. (Image: humonia/iStock/Getty Images)

Silver is a popular precious metal that is used for many purposes, including the creation of jewelry. A silver chain, whether worn as a necklace or a bracelet, is a classic and enchanting adornment. Silver chains come in a variety of styles and sizes, ranging from delicate to bold, traditional to modern. While silver is a durable metal, silver chains can be fragile and sometimes break. Most, however, can be easily repaired with the right tools and supplies. Follow these steps to repair a silver chain.

Things You'll Need

  • Ruler
  • Bent-nosed pliers
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Jump ring
  • Butane torch
  • Silver solder
  • Flux
  • Paintbrush
  • Pickle

Repairing a Silver Chain with a Jump Ring

Measure the diameter of a link in your chain using a ruler. Take the measurement in millimeters.

Note the shape of your chain's links. They may be round or oval.

Obtain a silver jump ring -- a small metal ring used in jewelry making that opens and closes. Select a jump ring with a diameter that is the same size in millimeters as the links of your chain, and that is either round or oval depending on the shape of the links in your chain.

Open the jump ring slightly using bent-nosed pliers.

Gather the two severed portions of your broken silver chain. Make sure that one whole, unbroken link lies at the end of each broken portion. Pull away any bits of broken link with needle-nosed pliers before continuing.

Slip the open jump ring through the two end links of the broken portions of the chain. Close the jump ring using bent-nosed pliers. Your broken chain will be reconnected.

Repairing a Silver Chain with Solder

Rejoin two portions of a broken chain with silver solder if it is too fine to repair using a jump ring. This process can be done on a standard wood or metal work bench. But first, soak the two portions of broken chain for five minutes in pickle -- an acidic solution used to clean metal before and after it is soldered.

Apply soldering flux -- a material that helps solder to flow and stick -- with a paintbrush to the two links you want to join together.

Place a small chip of silver solder right between the two links you want to reconnect. Make sure the solder is in contact with both links. Use a bit of solder no larger than the size of the individual links.

Brush flux onto the bit of solder.

Heat the solder indirectly with a butane torch until it melts. Turn off the torch and allow the solder to cool and solidify. Soak the freshly soldered chain in pickle to clean it.

Tips & Warnings

  • To remove tarnish from your repaired silver chain and make it shine, wipe it with a silver cleaning cloth.
  • Use a magnifying glass or jeweler's loupe to make working with small chain links and jump rings easier.
  • Consult a jeweler before repairing very delicate or antique chains.
  • Always use extra caution when working with a butane torch. Do not operate the torch near flammable materials and be sure your work space is well ventilated. Wear heat-resistant gloves and a welder's mask, particularly if you do not have a lot of experience.

References

  • Complete Metalsmith: Professional Edition; Tim McCreight; 2004
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