Solder (pronounced sodder) is used to join components together to produce a finished product. Jewelry solder is considered hard or brazing as the temperatures used reach above 450C (842F). The solder flows through capillary action into the metal on either side of the join. Solder flows at temperatures at least 20 degrees lower than the melting temperature of the metal being soldered. If you are soldering gold, the solder you use will be composed of gold and other alloys. Gold solder comes in carat form – ie: 8 K, 14 K, 22K, etc. Gold solder generally comes in sheet form and small pallions (pieces) are cut off when needed. Most gold solders are stamped with the carat, on the sheet, so that identification is easier. It is also available in paste and wire forms.
Solder for Silver comes in Eutectic (also called IT), Hard, Medium, Easy and Extra Easy. Silver solder comes in paste, sheet and wire forms. Paste and sheet solder can be marked on their surfaces as to the type of solder it is but, wire solder is difficult to write on so, a bending system has been devised to mark the wire. Generally, there are only three commonly used bends for hard, medium and easy. I’ve added my own markings for extra easy and IT.
Below are the markings for wire solder:
IT HARD MED EASY EXTRA EASY
I always bend the ends of my solder wire, as soon as I cut off a piece, to avoid confusion.