Questions about Platinum Solders

Platinum has a mystique all it’s own. It is very different to work with than gold or silver prompting many questions and misconceptions, and these are the top three platinum solder questions:

#3 – Why are there so many platinum solders and what are their uses?

Traditionally, platinum solders are named for their approximate Celsius melting temperature, and range from 1000 to 1700, but this tells us little about the solder.  Most applications will only require one or two solders, however, different applications require very different solders. The chart below lists the common uses for the platinum solders we sell.

Designation Common Uses
1000 Repair (extra soft)
1100 Repair (extra soft)
1200 Final assembly (soft)
1300 Final assembly (soft)
1400 Primary assembly (medium)
1500 Primary assembly (medium)
1600 Primary assembly (hard)
1700 Sizing (hard)
Welding Seamless sizing (extra hard)
Hard welding Seamless sizing (95% PT)

#2 – Do I need flux when soldering platinum?

Low temperature platinum solders (1300 and below) contain no platinum. (This is necessary to reduce the melt temperature.) In general, they could be classified as palladium white gold.  These solders contain silver and therefore require flux to flow, may tarnish, and have a poor color match with the platinum.

High temperature platinum solders (1400 and above) have a platinum content but it is often low. (Most 950 platinum is manufactured at 952 to help compensate for the solder. Unlike gold jewelry, the United States and many countries do not allow a purity tolerance in platinum pieces.)

When soldering with these high temperature solders no flux is required and care should be taken to avoid using flux at elevated temperatures as the flux could enter the grain boundary and embrittle the platinum.

#1 – How do I avoid contaminating the platinum when I solder?

In addition to the possibility of flux contamination, acetylene flames produce excess carbon, this can contaminate the platinum and also cause brittleness. Some jewelers use nickle white gold solders for repairs and re-tipping. If you do, only use a cadmium free solder as the cadmium can also cause brittleness. 

The high purity of the platinum alloys require extra care. However, with the correct solder, a clean flame, and a little practice, soldering platinum is easier than most people think.
 

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