TorchFire Studio

Fine Handmade Jewelry Crafted in Huntsville, Alabama

Jewelry Making

Preventing Fire Scale with Fire Coat

How-To, Jewelry MakingCara MossComment
Magic Flame Soldering Compound, What is Firecoat, how to use firecoat, firescale, jewelry making classes TorchFire Studio Huntsville, Al

Happy Wednesday! Let's talk about a basic process you need to follow at the bench: fire coating your pieces to prevent fire scale. 

What is fire scale? This is an unsightly layer of black cupric oxide that forms on the surface of copper-bearing metals when heated (think sterling silver, gold alloys). A stubborn layer of nickel can also form on white gold alloys. This mottled black layer can be very difficult to remove even after pickling your pieces.

So what's to be done? Fire coat that jewelry!

Fire coating is a process in which you apply a protective layer of boric acid solution to the metal before soldering or annealing. It turns into a glass-like covering when heated and prevents the formation of fire scale. Most discoloration should be removed with a quick bath in the pickling solution. 

My favorite fire coat is Magic Flame 4-in-1 Soldering Compound. This pretty pink paste packs a punch; it contains boric acid, borax, and sodium fluoborate. 

You can use this magic solution 4 ways:

1. Dip: Add magic Flame to denatured alcohol. This makes a fire scale resistant coating. Add as much Magic Flame as you want to get an even heavier coating.
2. Liquid Flux: Add Magic Flame to a small amount of water to create a great Gold and Silver Flux.
3. Paste Flux: Use Magic Flame full strength as a great Paste Flux.
4. Casting Flux: Use Magic Flame full strength for a superior Casting Flux

Magic Flame and denatured alcohol burn off in a colorful, quick flame, leaving behind a powdery layer of protection.

Like most chemicals in this line of work, use eye protection and work in a well ventilated area. Wash hands after use. My most helpful bit of advice **from experience** is to be cautious if using alcohol near your torch! (I am woman enough to admit to setting a fire coat brush on fire!)

This compound may not be the cheapest, and will probably have a decent shipping charge, but it is worth every penny! 

Where to purchase: Stuller Amazon  Jeweler's Supplies

Happy Mail Day: Rainbow Sapphires

Inspiration, Jewelry Making, My Jewelry Creations, Happy Mail Day, GemstonesCara MossComment

Oh, Snap! Today's mail is amazing because it includes these special candy-colored gems!

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I am so happy to have sourced these gorgeous sapphires! They are the loveliest shades of the rainbow and haven't been dyed or treated. Isn't nature amazing!? What a happy mail day! 



 My head is spinning with ideas! I know that I would love to make one pair of really special earrings with three different shades of sapphire. I envision rustically gorgeous recycled 14k yellow gold with some organic texturing and a brushed finish.  The pale green sapphires would look absolutely gorgeous as rings, and of course there will have to be a few necklaces and bracelets. Oh the possibilities are endless! 

How would you use these sapphires? I'd love to hear your ideas! 


Black and Gold Design

Jewelry Making, My Jewelry CreationsCara MossComment

This fall I'm focusing on growing a more cohesive collection.  The two-tone black and gold combination really strikes a chord with me lately, so I've created some new lovelies along this vein. I've got many more ideas: there just don't seem to be enough hours in the day! :)