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Old 10-09-2006, 11:17 AM   #1
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how do you straighten a bent earring post?

Does anyone know what to do to straighten a bent silver earring post?

I have a silver and turquiose post-type earring that got smashed flat somehow. I'm scared to just bend it back cuz it might snap off. Someone told me to heat it up before I bend it, but I have no idea how hot to get it - red hot? I have a soldering iron, or a wood burning iron. Will one of those work?

I don't want to end up with it snapping off because it's too hot, too.
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Old 10-09-2006, 12:26 PM   #2
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Before you heat the post...how much turquoise is in the front? If you heat the post, you can do damage to the front part of the earing.
But you do have to heat the post to do a good job of not breaking the post. You could, possibly, and very carefully bend the post back in shape. You do not have much to loose at this point.
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Old 10-09-2006, 01:50 PM   #3
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Yikes... I don't know.. I've had this happen to me and I just straighten them out with a pair of pliers.. if it breaks it breaks.
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Old 10-09-2006, 02:23 PM   #4
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It's a big old nugget in the front. I don't really care about damaging it slightly, as long as the nugget doesn't POP right off. The post is located right behind a 'shadowbox' effect towards the top, so I think it's fine.

It was an expensive pair of earrings, relatively, $50+

Maybe I should take it to a jeweler. I really want to wear them up in AK.
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Old 10-09-2006, 03:25 PM   #5
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Take them to a jeweler if you really want to get them fixed. Heat can crack turquoise of any size. You can also try to bend in back in place first. A jeweler will have to take the stone out first and then fix the post. If it breaks, he will have to sodder another one on.

Sounds like it is realy squished on the back.
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Old 10-09-2006, 09:51 PM   #6
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I used two pairs of pliers.............one to hold the base of the post and the other to slowly bend it back into shape...........trust me .......I learned the hard way of just trying to bend it.

Be careful about heating.......... silver can start to melt or lose it's shape.
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Old 10-10-2006, 07:04 AM   #7
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Warning! Way too much info from the know-it-all-chemist (and jewelry maker), LOL.

Turquoise is a hydrated copper salt and therefore is fairly easy to heat damage, since as it gets hot steam starts to form inside the stone. There are heat transfer compounds -- like Cool Jewel -- but they take some care to use and can react with certain stones. (Not to mention that they will probably cost more than having a jeweler do the repair.) Also, sterling can firescale -- gets a black shadow which is a few micron thick layer of CuO just under the surface -- under heat and has to be cleaned with acid to remove the firescale.

http://webmineral.com/data/Turquoise.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turquoise

The saving grace in all this is that the post is probably sterling and therefore less prone to cracking than plated fittings that are made of more brittle base metals. The down side is that earring posts are tempered or work hardened to make them stiff. (When you silver solder earing posts you use a softer solder and work very quickly with most of your flame (small and hot) going onto the metal under the post.)

Anyway, the odds are fair that you can straighten the post with pliers. A good earing post is way stronger than that thin wire looks. You don't necessarily have to get it perfectly straight, if the piece hangs right and is still comofrtable to wear and the post is canted, just leave it. If it does break then see a jeweler, he/she has the right tools for making the repair quickly and safely.

Just an FYI, avoid mending silver -- sterling or fine -- with lead solders. Lead and silver will engage in a lovely galvanic reaction and the lead will literally eat into the silver and leave a pit.
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:37 PM   #8
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Thank you, thank you all.

Here's my plan of attack: Gonna bend it back with two pliers. Then if it breaks I will take it to the jewelers.
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