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The present invention refers to a textile product, such as for example a thread, a strand obtained by twisting a plurality of threads, a cord obtained by laying a plurality of strands, a fabric obtained by weaving a plurality of threads. Said textile product is particularly suitable for use in the jewellery sector for the production of items of jewellery such as bracelets, necklaces, ornamental objects, decorative coatings and the like, as well as in the clothing sector, for the production of particularly precious articles, lingerie, swimming costumes and the like.
The present invention also refers to a manufacturing method for such a textile product.
As is known, in the sector of goldsmiths' wares, the purity of a noble metal, such as gold, platinum, rhodium and the like is measured in carats. Carats define the percentage in weight of noble metal present in the finished product. In goldsmiths' wares, commercial carat weights that generally range from 8 to 24 carats are used, that is to say form a percentage in weight of noble metal ranging from 33 to 99.9%.
The traditional precious metals for jewellery are generally alloys consisting of a noble metal such as gold and metals defined as base metals such as copper, nickel, zinc and the like, which generally serve to make the precious metal stronger. The carat weight of the precious metal is defined according to the percentage in weight of noble metal in the alloy.
As is known, precious metals can be drawn into threads. However, said threads obtained from precious metals, although they have a good pliability, cannot be processed with machinery typical of the textile sector, such as looms and the like.
Moreover, it must be considered that the threads obtained from such precious metals have a high specific weight. Consequently said threads, for reasons of weight and cost, are not suitable for the production of goldsmiths' wares having a large volume.
The object of the present invention is to overcome the drawbacks of the prior art by providing a product for goldsmiths' wares that is extremely pliable and versatile and particularly suitable to be processed with machinery typical of the textile sector.
Another object of the present invention is to provide such a textile product which has the carat weight usually employed in goldsmiths' sector.
Another object of the present invention is to provide such a product for goldsmiths' wares that has an extremely high volume/weight ratio so as to obtain precious products having a large volume and a very low weight.
These objects are achieved according to the invention with the characteristics listed in the product according to appended independent claim 1 and in the process according to independent claims 13 and 14.
Advantageous embodiments of the invention are apparent from the dependent claims.
The textile product, in particular for the goldsmiths' sector, according to the invention comprises at least one precious thread comprising a base thread coated with a coating of noble metal according to the desired carat weight.
The base thread consists of a core of plastic material or synthetic fibre covered with a coat of metal material. The coating of noble metal is obtained by means of electroplating on the coat of the base thread.
The advantages of the textile product according to the invention are obvious. In fact the base thread, having a core of synthetic fibre, can be processed with machines typical of the textile sector to obtain textile products such as yarn or fabric. The semi-finished textile product thus obtained is subsequently dipped into a galvanic bath to obtain a coating of noble metal that adheres to the coat of the base thread.
The galvanic procedure is controlled so as to obtain the desired percentage in weight of noble metal or carat weight. In this manner a textile product particularly suitable to be employed in the field of goldsmiths' wares is obtained, for example for the production of necklaces, bracelets and fabrics for covering objects.
Further characteristics of the invention will be made clearer by the detailed description that follows, referring to purely exemplary and therefore non-limiting embodiments thereof, illustrated in the appended drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a cross sectional view of a base thread for the production of the textile product according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a schematic view illustrating the manufacturing process of a cord starting from the base thread of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a schematic view illustrating a galvanic process applied to a cord to obtain the textile product according to the invention;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating a first embodiment of the textile product according to the invention, in the form of a cord;
FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view, enlarged, along the plane of section V-V of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a plan view schematically illustrating a loom with some base threads to obtain a textile product according to the invention;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view illustrating a fabric obtained from the loom of FIG. 6, according to a third embodiment of the invention.
The textile product, particularly for the goldsmiths' wares and clothing sector and the relative manufacturing method are described with the aid of the figures.
FIG. 1 illustrates a base thread, denoted as a whole with reference numeral 1. The base thread 1 comprises a substantially cylindrical core 2 made of plastic material or synthetic fibre. Nylon or polyamide may preferably be used as the plastic material. Other plastic materials such as PVC, silicone and the like may also be used.
The core 2 can be made, for example, by extrusion, and its diameter can vary from 20 microns to 2 mm so as to be suitable to be processed in the textile field.
The core 2 is covered with a coat 3 of metallic material, such as silver, for example. The coat 3 is a few microns thick and is deposited on the core 2 by means of an electroplating process.
Base threads 1 consisting of a nylon core 2 and a silver coat 3 obtained by a galvanic bath are commercially known. Said threads are coated with silver to make them electrically conductive and are used in the field of conductor products to conduct electricity.
The applicant, following various experimental tests, has surprisingly discovered that such a base thread 1 is particularly suitable to be used in the textile field to obtain textile products such as yarns, cords, fabrics and the like suitable to be coated with a precious metal by electrolytic processes, such as electroplating for example. In fact the positive ions of the precious metal dissolved in the galvanic bath tend to migrate onto the silver coat 3 of the base thread 1 which forms the anode of the electrolytic cell.
A first embodiment of the invention is described hereunder, with reference to FIGS. 2-5.
As shown in FIG. 2, the base thread 1 is wound in spools 20. The base threads 1 coming from a plurality of spools 20 are unwound and made to pass through a machine for making strands 21. The machine for making strands 21 twists the base treads 1 together so as to obtain a strand 4 consisting of a plurality of twisted base threads. According to the desired overall diameter of the strand 4, an adequate number of spools 22 of base threads is used. The strand 4 is wound onto a bobbin 22.
The strands 4 coming from a plurality of bobbins or cops 22 are unwound and made to pass through a machine for making cords 23. The machine for making cords 23 performs the laying of strands 4 so as to obtain as the output a cord 5 which is wound on a bobbin 24. According to the desired overall diameter of the cord 5, an adequate number of bobbins 22 of strands is used. Consequently a cord 5 comprises a plurality of strands 4 and each strand 4 comprises a plurality of base threads 1.
With reference to FIG. 3, the cord 5 obtained with the process described previously is immersed in a galvanic bath contained in an electrolytic cell 30 to be subjected to an electroplating process.
The galvanic bath comprises positive ions 31 of a noble metal, such as gold, dissolved in a solution. Even if specific reference to gold is made henceforth, it is understood that instead of gold another noble metal such as platinum, rhodium, silver or the like may also be used.
To be precise, the cord 5 is wound on the side surface of a cylindrical cage 32, consisting of a plurality of conducting bars 33. The cylindrical cage 32 is supported by a hook so as to be able to rotate around its own axis.
In this manner the cathode C of the electrolytic cell 30 is represented by the cylindrical cage 32 and the anode A of the electrolytic cell is represented by the electrolyte solution. By giving an adequate difference in voltage V between the anode A and the cathode C there is a passage of electrical current in the bars 33 of the cylindrical cage 32 and thus a migration of the positive gold ions 31 dissolved in the solution towards the cord 5. Consequently the gold ions 31 are deposited on the metal coats 3 of the base threads 1 which are the components making up the cord 5. During the process, the cylindrical cage 32 is made to rotate in one direction and in the opposite direction to make the deposition of the layer of gold on the coats 3 of the base threads uniform.
At the end of the galvanic process, as shown in FIG. 4, a textile product, indicated as a whole with reference numeral 50, is obtained. The textile product 50 is in the form of a cord which contains a certain amount of gold. Each strand 4 of the cord has a plurality of precious threads 7. As shown in FIG. 5, each precious thread 7 consists of the base thread 1 coated with a layer of gold 6. The layer of gold 6 is deposited on the outer surface of the silver coat 3 of the base thread 1.
According to the control of the galvanic process the amount of gold contained in the textile product 50 according to the invention can be regulated. In this manner the textile product 50 can meet different commercial carat weights from 8 to 24 carats.
The textile product 50 according the first embodiment is particularly suitable to be used in the goldsmiths' field for jewellery products, such as bracelets, necklaces, rings and the like obtained from a single cord or by intertwining a plurality of cords 50.
The galvanic bath to obtain the gold coating 6 on the outer surface of the coat 3 of the base thread 1 can be done on the finished product or even on the semi-finished product, such as the strands 4 or even the single base threads 1. In the latter case, the semi-finished product with the coating of gold obtained by means of a galvanic bath is processed with textile machines to obtain the finished product. In fact the core of plastic fibre 2 in any case ensures the necessary pliability for processing with textile machines.
Moreover an item of jewellery obtained with the textile product 50 has a considerably greater volume than an item of jewellery obtained with metal alloys having the same carats and the same weight. In fact it must be considered that the volume/weight ratio of a cord 50 according to the invention is about ten times greater than the volume/weight ration of a cord of precious metal alloy having the same carat weight. Consequently, with the textile product 50 according to the invention items of jewellery having a high volume and at the same time a reduced weight can be obtained.
A second embodiment of the invention will be illustrated with the aid of FIGS. 6 and 7. As shown in FIG. 6, the base thread 1 can be disposed on a loom 9 according to a warp and weft so as to obtain a textile product 10 in the form of a fabric, according to a second embodiment of the invention.
The fabric 10 is then immersed in a galvanic bath of gold, so as to obtain the desired carat weight. In fact in this case also the gold ions in the electrolytic solution migrate onto the outer surface of the coat 3 of the base threads 1 that make up the structure of the fabric 10.
The gold-coated fabric 10 proves particularly suitable to be used in the goldsmiths' sector, for example as a decorative coating for objects, such as for example pens, cigarette lighters, trays, candlesticks and ornamental objects in general typical of the goldsmiths' sector. In any case the fabric 10 can also be used in the clothing sector, for the production of particularly precious designer clothes or also for the production of lingerie, swimming costumes and the like.
In FIG. 7, by way of example, a right-angled loom is shown diagrammatically, it being understood that the base thread 1 can be processed with other types of textile machines, such as ribbon machines, knitting machines, Rashel looms and looms for ladder-proof fabrics.
In the present description specific reference has been made to the fact that the base thread 1 is processed in textile machines and the textile product obtained is immersed in a galvanic bath for gold plating. However, according to an alternative of the present invention, the base thread 1 can be immersed directly in a galvanic bath so as to obtain a precious thread 7, gold plated, according to the carat weight desired. Said precious thread 7 can subsequently be used in textile machines according to the desired product.
Numerous variations and modifications of detail within the reach of a person skilled in the art can be made to the present invention without departing from the scope of the invention set forth in the appended claims.