Items that have had old lead / soft solder repairs is something we see bought in to our workshop by customers from time to time.
What we are talking about here are pieces of good usually old jewellery that in the hands of an amateur repairer become a complete horror story
Gold and silver items ruined years ago - usually by Dad / Grandad or Uncle doing a "fix it" job in the garage or garden shed using lead solder.
Here we have an Antique 84 Silver Russian Priests Cross with original very long Filigree chain bought to us with this exact type of history - Russian Hallmarks date to cross to 1863.
The front of the cross had actually been kept pretty clean but the back was a complete mess.
The cross was treated in order to remove all traces of the lead solder and then underwent reconstruction using conventional silver solder.
Here is the Before and After
The old repair job using lead solder was perhaps a tad better than some we have seen - at least the clumps of grey lead were only visible on the back of this cross.
Normally with badly done repairs - we see lead visible front and back !
After removing the lead the cross fell into several pieces
The unsightly clumps of lead solder have been completed removed and the whole piece reconstructed and resoldered with conventional silver solder.
We did not want it to look brand new - This cross already had 100+ years of wear and tear which brings with it a sense of character.
We therefore decided to lightly polish it rather than bring it to a high mirror finish.