Tastes in jewelry design change, and you may have pieces of silver jewelry you would like to recycle to keep up with current trends. Rather than sell the jewelry to get cash to buy new silver, you can melt the old rings to make new rings. Melting silver requires specialized equipment, so this is not a process for the one-time, do-it-yourself project. However, if you already work with silver jewelry and want to expand your skill set, melting and molding your own silver designs will give you greater freedom to express your artistic talents.
Examine the rings for a stamp saying “Sterling” or “925,” indicating the ring is made of sterling silver. If it does not possess one of these markings, it is most likely silver plated and not suitable for melting and recasting.
Remove any stones from the rings. You can use pliers or tin snips to bend or cut the stone setting. Alternatively you can use a metal-cutting tip on a rotary tool to carefully cut away any of the stone settings, saving the cut-offs to be melted down with the rest of the ring.
Prepare a mold for the new ring. Set it near the area where you will be melting the silver so that you do not have to walk across the workroom with a lit torch and hot silver.
Place two or three rings into a handled crucible. Use more than one ring to ensure you have enough silver for the new ring. Leftover silver can always be melted again.
Add a pinch of Borax to the crucible. This will prevent the metal from oxidizing or discoloring during the heating process.
Light a propane oxy-acetylene torch.
Hold the crucible at a 30- to 45-degree angle and apply the flame perpendicular to the inside of the crucible, creating a furnace. Once the metal is completely fluid, it is ready to be poured.
Continue applying the heat to the crucible as you pour the silver into the mold.
Tips & Warnings
- Once the ring cools, brighten the silver using a small polishing wheel on a rotary tool.
- Sterling silver melts at 1640 degrees Fahrenheit, so wear heavy leather gloves while holding the crucible. If you do spill melted silver on exposed skin, seek medical attention immediately. Weary safety glasses during all steps of this project.
Things You'll Need:
- Tin snips
- Ring mold
- Crucible with handle
- Oxy-acetylene torch
- Rotary tool with polishing and cutting accessories
- Safety glasses
- Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images