Professional Jeweler Archive: Repairing Freshwater Pearl Earrings with ABI's Mini Pulse III

September 2004

Professional Bench/Welding Technologies

Repairing Freshwater Pearl Earrings with ABI's Mini Pulse III

Knowing how to tack-, fusion- and pulse-arc-weld at the bench saves time, increases quality and drives up profits for your shop and service department

ABI Introduces New Pulse-Arc Welder

The Mini Pulse III (A), ABI’s new pulse-arc welder, delivers 17,000 mics of energy, capable of producing one pulse of energy per second vs. the ABI Pulse-Arc Welder, which delivers 27,000 mics of energy and is capable of producing two to three pulses of energy per second. The Mini Pulse III has a dial voltage adjustment and six levels of energy controlled by toggle switches. The ABI Mini Pulse III comes with an argon gas regulator (B), the Opti-Saver instant darkening flash shield (C), three sizes of welding tips with two sizes of electrodes, brass-lined pliers, brass tweezers, an alligator clip, contact pad, welding pencil holder and foot pedal (D) for $2,700. ABI also sells the unit without the argon gas regulator or the Opti-Saver shield for $2,450.

Repairing Freshwater Pearl Earrings Using the Mini Pulse III

To demonstrate the new Mini Pulse III, I will repair 14k yellow gold earrings with cultured freshwater pearls and diamonds.

The connecting post and dangle jump rings were not soldered when the earrings were made originally. One of the dangles has become unattached from the post (E). I’ll reassemble the earring and permanently weld both earrings’ jump rings.
I straighten the jump ring and reattach the dangle (F).
Next I attach the welding pencil with the #2 welding tip (G) to the positive terminal of the Mini Pulse III and place it in the welding pencil holder. I attach the alligator clip lead to the negative terminal and clip it on the earring.
I set the Mini Pulse III to 35 volts and use four levels of energy set by the toggle switches. Levels of energy are activated when the toggle switches are in the up position (H). The indicator lights (I) come on, confirming that level of energy is activated. I shut off the Mini Pulse III to adjust the voltage or levels of energy.
Next I position the earring’s jump ring for permanent welding about 0.5mm away from the welding tip. It’s not necessary to remove the cultured freshwater pearls because the energy for welding is instantaneous and won’t damage them. The welding pencil is in the holder, so I can use my hands to hold the earring.
I direct a pulse of energy to the joint on the jump ring and inspect it. The welding has occurred on the side of the jump ring facing the welding pencil tip. I rotate the jump ring and complete the welding.
The dark residue generated by the welding procedure is on the surface of the karat gold earring. Polishing with rouge easily removes it.

Important: Tack-, fusion- and pulse-arc-welding equipment settings differ and are based on the volume, amount of contact and alloy of the material you are working with. Practicing using like materials will give you a parameter for the settings required for your application. Keep a record of settings and tasks for future reference.

This installment is sponsored by ABI, Cranston, RI. For general information on ABI equipment and procedures or for a list of distributors, call Janet Kirk at (888) 494-2663.

By Mark B. Mann
Photographs by Mark B. Mann

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Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications