The exceptional colors of the Colorit range manufactured by Inovis in Schaan, Liechtenstein has enabled innovative goldsmiths to explore new creative possibilities for the past three years. Colorit is designed for applying decorative details on metal, ceramic, synthetic and organic surfaces. Stability of the substrate is requisite. Colorit has its origins in dental research. Therefore, the properties of this ceramic-reinforced composite are of a lasting high quality.
Colorit is easy to use and economical. All the colors can be mixed to produce very creative effects. Two color assortments demonstrating different intensities are available. The materials are light cured one layer at a time. The basic colors are built up in layers of at least 0.8 mm. Colorit deep features a higher pigmentation. Therefore, layers of 0.2 mm already produce a bright intensive color. The following tips and tricks will help you to use Colorit successfully.
Mixing the colors
The best results are achieved if the colors are mixed on the glass mixing plate preheated to 80 °C/176 °F on the Colorit hot plate. Both the glass plate and the Colorit hot plate are included in the set. When the colors become liquid, they are easier to mix and the formation of bubbles is avoided. Nevertheless, if some bubbles are visible after mixing, they can be pushed from the mixing well in the glass plate using a pointed instrument.
Application of the colors with an application instrument
Once the pieces have been degreased, Colorit link is applied and allowed to dry for five minutes. A thin coat of Colorit bond is applied and cured for three minutes with the Colorit light (hand-held curing light).
Next, the desired Colorit colors are placed in layers using an application instrument. Each increment is light cured. Brushes are not ideal for applying the material, as they sometimes in-corporate air bubbles or fine fibres, which become visible after curing.
The Poretta instrument allows Colorit colors to be applied without forming bubbles. The brush vibrates as a result of an eccentric weight inside, allowing the colors to be applied to large surfaces economically and without trapping air. The colors are applied in the number of layers desired. The increments are precured with the hand-held curing light. About five minutes of curing per surface is needed to permanently cure a completely built up Colorit inlay. Rings that are inlayed all around require about 20 minutes. The light probe must be held as closely to the color surface as possible in order to make the best use of its intensity.
If the surface of the colored material is larger than that illuminated by the light probe (8 – 10 mm), the distance between the light probe and the surface and the curing time are increased to achieve even, stress-free curing of the Colorit colors. The increase in the distance to the light probe considerably reduces the depth of cure of deep colors in particular. Consequently, the shade intensity must always be coordinated with the depth of the color inlay.
Mixing of intermediate shades
All the colors can be diluted with Colorit clear to achieve heightened translucency. As a result, the light transmission of the colors is in-creased, which reduces the curing time. Opaque colors and pastel shades are achieved by mixing in some white material.
An undesired surface structure or color is masked by mixing some white material with the initial Colorit layer, applying and curing it. This provides a neutral background for translucent colors. Special effects are achieved by combining the colors with other materials, such as gold and silver particles, thin foil pieces and cut stones. Cured layers incorporating foreign materials can be coated with Colorit clear to protect them.
The application of Colorit clear as the final layer provides optimal protection and the best polishing properties of the finished piece.
Mixing of specific colors
The mixing ratio of different colors depends on several factors:
- The color of the material used to create the piece
- The size of the inlay or overlay
- The thickness of the layers
- The translucency or opacity of the colors
An original color sample is requisite if specific colors have to be mixed again. Generally, the dominant color serves as the basic color to which suitable colors are mixed.
If a jewellery piece is damaged, it is advisable to repair the damaged area with Colorit clear, as it is very time-consuming to remix individual colors at a later stage.
Finishing and polishing
After the final curing step, an inhibiting layer forms when the surface comes in contact with oxygen. This layer must be completely removed with a cloth before finishing.
Permanently cured pieces on which a smear layer has developed are immersed in warm glycerine (approx. 60 °C/140 °F) and light cured again with the Colorit Light for 1-2 minutes (or 5 minutes in the Colorit Power). Consequently, a highly lustrous, polished surface is achieved with ease.
When the smear layer is removed with a cloth, a matt surface, which is not 100% cured, is produced. This surface can be filed, ground and polished. The entire surface should be evenly ground to ensure that no scratches are visible after high gloss polishing with a polishing machine and a fine paste.
Mechanical processing of surfaces
Colorit is easy to turn, mill and engrave. Inlays around the entire ring are turned using a lathe at high rpm and low feed. Sharp instruments should be used for this purpose. The blunt cutting angle of ceramic and diamond instruments applies excessive pressure and may cause chipping. Consequently, the pieces have to be processed carefully and cooled. Grooves can be cut in inlays to apply other colours or contours. Cured Colorit materials can be shaped by milling, filing or grinding.
Lapping of surfaces
Straight surfaces are smoothed out on a grindstone. This procedure is continued until the finest grain is reached. Subsequently, the pieces are lapped by hand or with a polishing machine on a suitable surface of wood, leather or felt using a fine paste.
Hardness of Colorit compared with metals
The finishing and polishing properties of the base materials and of Colorit are compared below:
Platinum and white gold are tougher, yellow gold is comparable and silver is softer than Colorit. Consequently, grinding has to be adjusted according to the alloy used to ensure a short, effective polishing process. In addition, a suitable polishing paste for the alloy in question must be used.
Restoration of jewellery and watches
Colorit offers a number of benefits for restoring antique enamel jewellery pieces compared with conventional materials. The mixed color does not change when it is cured. It is absolutely color-fast and stable. Light-curing without pressure or heat prevents tension from building up in the existing material. The material is easy to use, as it is built up in increments, which are cured in seconds.
The damaged surface is cleaned and degreased before Colorit primer is applied and left to dry for five minutes. Next, a thin layer of Colorit bond is applied and light cured for three minutes. The desired color is mixed and applied in thin layers, which are individually precured. Once the desired intensity of the color has been achieved, Colorit clear is added until the required amount of material is reached and then light cured. If the surface cannot be ground or polished, it must be permanently cured in a glycerine bath. Damaged glass and porcelain is repaired in the same way as enamel.
To achieve very smooth and shiny surfaces, work should be done on a glass plate or firm sheet. Watch faces, for example, are coated with even, thin layers of Colorit, which are individually precured. A thin layer of basic clear is applied over the entire surface as the final layer. Next, a prewarmed and glycerine-coated glass plate is placed on the surface. This plate can be removed from the cured Colorit material without any problem after the light-curing process. The longer light-curing lasts, the easier it is to remove the plate. A surface that is as smooth as glass results.
When a transparent silicone mould is used, the curing depths of the individual colors must be taken into account to ensure successful curing results.
Colorit on synthetic, organic and mineral substrates
To achieve optimal bonding to the surface, the substrate must be sandblasted or ground. The surface is degreased and Colorit bond is applied and cured for three minutes. Colorit is applied in the customary manner and permanently cured.
Electroplating of jewelry pieces with Colorit
Colorit can be immersed in cyanide and other acid baths. The baths, however, must not be hotter than 100 °C/212 °F.
Working with dispensing equipment
Large amounts of Colorit are easier to apply with dispensing equipment using cartridges and compressed air. The colors are heated to 60 – 80 °C/140 – 176 °F until they become liquid, as it is easier to fill them into cartridges in this state. Transparent cartridges must be proteced by orange foil. Cartridges that block UV rays are unsuitable for Colorit. The best solution for the light-sensitive Colorit colors is a black cartridge. These cartridges, however, do not allow the contents to be monitored.
Completed surfaces may also be left with a matt finish. An even matt finish is achieved by sandblasting the surface with fine corundum. Glass beads may also be used. The final result depends on the pressure applied and the impact angle of the medium used. The most superior matt finish is achieved with Micro-Jet (mixture of glass beads and water). Colorit acquires a shiny or slightly matt appearance and the metal surface obtains a matt gloss, which does not tarnish when it is touched.
Color range and other news
Twenty-four colors can be mixed as desired. Four new eye fect colors are used to achieve unusual color details. The new curing light, Colorit light 2, was introduced in the 2nd quarter of 2002. The unit is characterized by its high light performance, strong ventilator and large curing surface. The heightened performance enables jewelry pieces to be light cured more efficiently in 10-minute intervals.
The Colorit light power unit is recommended for curing large batches, as it allows several jewellery pieces to be permanently cured at the same time.