I don't know if you have any ideas for what I'm looking for or if you could point me in the right direction. I'm a jewelry artist. I just started coating my jewelry with a silver lacquer to keep it from tarnishing. The problem is that I have to scrape the lacquer from the gemstones. This causes other problems like damage to the gemstones by scratching or marring. Do you know if there is some kind of easy to be removed material for masking gemstones? Thanks for any help. P.V.
There are many ways to mask areas of products to be painted. The following are commonly used: strippable coatings, tapes, as well as masking devices such as caps, discs and plugs. Strippable coatings are used to mask large and small areas of objects. Adhesive tapes are used on larger small objects and sometimes in conjunction with sheets of paper or plastic on large objects. Caps adhere by friction and are used to cover openings on the ends of or protrusions on products. Adhesive backed discs are used to cover spots on the surface of objects. Plugs adhere by friction and are used in holes of objects. The latter three mask types are manufactured to fit specific masked areas. They are used on objects manufactured in large production runs.
You can find suppliers of maskants on the Suppliers page at www.pfonline.com or in the 2001 Products Finishing Directory and Technology Guide. Suppliers of strippable coatings are listed under Coatings, strippable-plastic on page 410. Suppliers of masking tape are listed under Tape, masking for plating and painting on page 587. Suppliers of masking caps, disks and plugs are listed under Masking Caps, Discs, Plugs on pages 465 and 466.
Since gemstones vary in size and shape and you do not have a high-speed production line making similar products, the best masking technique for your jewelry would be application of a strippable coating. I recommend that you first clean the jewelry to remove oily soils. Because of the nature of your product, apply the strippable coating on the gemstones using a small brush. After the strippable coating is dried, apply the silver lacquer. Once the lacquer is dried, remove the strippable maskant by peeling.