Two-component epoxy resins are used to manufacture jewellery and to bond different sized pieces, materials and compositions.
Another use for epoxy resins in jewellery manufacturing is that they can be used for coating and casting amongst many others applications thanks to its properties and the wide variety of formats available.
The formulation of Araldite 2011 provides a liquid resin, which is easy to mix and can be poured into moulds, gaps and diverse shapes.
Features of Araldite 2011
- Good adhesion to a wide variety of substrates
- Good chemical and mechanical resistance to impacts and sudden temperature changes
- Transparency and resistance to aging
- Low shrinkage
Faster cure times are available with Araldite 2012
Types of epoxy resin for manufacturing jewellery and security
Jewellery Manufacturing Epoxy adhesive resins are mainly used for bonding stones, but can be used for coating applications by providing reinforcements and different properties that are important to the final piece.
Safety in the manufacturing of jewellery with epoxy resin
The best precaution you can take when using any adhesive for the first time is to check the safety data sheet and to read all the safety instructions that accompany the product.
Product packaging can also display a web address with additional downloadable security guidelines and information.
Most epoxy resins are non-toxic, organic compounds, that once cured, do not irritate the skin.
However, in a liquid state, both resins and hardeners are highly irritating to the skin and eyes.
You should wear nitrile protective gloves and safety goggles, and ensure the room is well-ventilated. Always handle resins carefully, and follow the directions for use and disposal methods as recommended by the manufacturer.
Working with epoxy resin
Epoxy resins come in two parts: the resin and the hardener.
The two parts must be homogenized in some cases and mixed in the precise proportion given in the manufacturer’s instructions and following the correct removal.
Inaccurate measurements and mixing prevents the resin from solidifying or curing properly, which can affect the result.
Other adhesives for jewellery and precious stones
In comparison to bonding automotive or aeronautical components, you might think a bonding application in jewellery making is simple – surprisingly this is not the case.
Consider the wear and tear of a ring where it could be subjected to hot soapy water, or a set of earrings that is shampooed on a regular basis.
As the adhesive surfaces are small, the glue line becomes exposed to water, soap, hand cream, cleaning liquid, detergent, etc.
It is important that the jewellery manufacturer use the appropriate adhesive for exposure to these agents; Otherwise they will have dissatisfied customers, returns and repairs.
Common adhesives used for bonding glass and ceramics to metal for jewellery
Gemstones like rubies, diamonds and sapphires are held firmly in place by claw gold plated settings, which last for hundreds of years with minimal maintenance. This method of manufacture is highly complex and carried out by expert jewellers.
For costume jewellery where there are high volumes, low cost solutions are needed. These are often basic adhesives such as a solvent based adhesive or hot melt adhesive. Cyanoacrylate adhesives also provide a fast solution for attaching crystals and rhinestones. These types of adhesives will not stand the test of time compared to the claw setting used on a gold ring, however it could be that the wearer will lose interest in the item over time and move onto the next fashion piece.
In some cases, these semi-precious crystal jewellery items can be worth hundreds of pounds and the loss of the stones or the discoloration of the adhesive that binds them can be disappointing.
Whenever possible, bigger stones or decorations may be better in this regard, as they have a larger bonding area and as a result a lower proportion of the adhesive is exposed.
Is there a better adhesive?
The answer is yes. Epoxy adhesives have better environmental resistance meaning they can withstand hot soapy water without degradation.
Permabond offers the two-component, transparent and colorless adhesive ET500; As well as the mono-component heat-curing epoxy ES560 that can be used for jewellery making applications.
These are ideal for use in thin gluelines for bonding glass, precious stones and for the majority of plastics and metals.
It should be noted that they are not the best product choice aesthetically if you need to produce a thick dome coating.
In this scenario, UV adhesives offer the best aesthetic appearance with excellent resistance to chemicals and the environment, while having a very fast manufacturing process.
For clear crystal bonding, a UV curable transparent adhesive such as Permabond UV670 can be used, but often the imitation diamond crystals have an aluminum backing, in which case UV light may not penetrate.
The Permabond UV7141 anaerobic adhesive offers a bonding solution for gems and metal where shadow areas could be an issue. The product can be cured immediately using a UV light (which will cure around the edges and hold the crystal in place) and then the adhesive beneath the gem will cure anaerobically.
For cladding and doming applications, Permabond offers UV681 and UV683 tack-free. These offer a resilient, colorless / clear and durable / resistant coating.