14K bleeding onto silver

Hello everyone,

I’ve been making a series of mixed metal rings of hammered sterling
silver flanked on each side by a narrow raised band of 14K. I don’t
have pictures online but can email one to anyone who asks, plus one
such ring of mine is illustrated on page 88 of the May 2004 Lapidary

My procedure, after hammering the silver, is to file a narrow
uniform “track” all the way around each edge of the shank, make up
the 14K band such that it fits tightly into this track, and solder
with medium silver solder. The bezel is usually also 14K.

In the course of this the gold will sometimes alloy with the silver
solder and flow into the hammer textured silver surface leaving this
gold colored also. It’s not normally all that visible but did become
very evident the other day when I nitric acid etched the ring in
trying to give the silver a still more matte texture.

The phenomenon is exacerbated by the nature of the hammer texture:
sharp deep lines running across the band. Solder flows into these
sharp valleys the same way it does into an etch line.

Has anyone else encountered this sort of gold creep? Is it typical
and unavoidable? Can anyone offer any hints how it might be
prevented or minimized? The obvious one would be to keep the
duration of heating at a minimum but in the real world that is not
always possible. What else might I try?

Cheers & thanks
Hans Durstling
Moncton Canada


Try a higher melting point silver solder and a lower temp gold, with
your ring of gold absolutely hard soldered and the shank hard
soldered then turn the joints away from your heat source and move
the solder by flow to that point of join. Silver has a need to be at
almost a uniform temp for the solder to flow quickly, what is
experience is knowing when to stop the heat.


Has anyone else encountered this sort of gold creep? Is it typical
and unavoidable? Can anyone offer any hints how it might be
prevented or minimized?

Hi Hans,

My suggestion is to apply an anti-flux, such as yellow ochre, Liquid
Paper (the water-based version only) or Rio’s Stop-Flo to the silver
side before you begin your soldering. You probably already know that
a dirty surface will not allow the solder to flow, just make the
silver side “dirty” before attempting to join them and avoid putting
it on the “track” area you want to join.

That reminds me, I’m out of Liquid Paper and I have to make a hinge
tomorrow…off to the office supply store for me…

James in SoFl


I suggest you try using easy flow gold solder to join the two
metals. It seems to work for me. :slight_smile: .

Jerry in Kodiak

I expected someone else to say this, so I didn’t answer the first

It has been my experience that gold and silver “like” to mix
together, and will tend to alloy at the point where they contact each
other. This produces theit eutectic alloy-- the mixture with the
lowest possible melting point-- which then runs all over. This not
only leaves the colors different from what you had in mind, but the
areas with the mix will melt very easily and ruin your creation.

I think the solution is to use as little heat as you can to make the
join, and the suggestion of anti-flux such as wite-out can’t hurt
either. But my personal advice is also to stop using 14k and go to
higher karat gold such as 18. Not only do you get a stronger
contrast with silver, but its higher melting point is a little more
forgiving. The difference in cost is, IMO, made up for by

  1. fewer ruined pieces,

  2. better contrast, i.e., better-looking pieces, and

  3. greater perceived value by the customer, i.e., acceptance of a
    higher price.

If your experience is like mine, the 18k gives you the experience
(with success) working with the combo, and, after a while, you’ll do
better with 14k if you want to go back to it.


Use low temp solders either easy 14k or medium or easy silver. The
melting point of most 14k yellow alloys are very low and if you have
extra silver and copper available at the solder interface (your
sterling silver for example) it can get as low as 1450F (787C) with
no problem whatsoever. and you will have this bleed over problem.
This is why I don’t use 14k yellow in my gold mokume it makes it a
pain to solder and the layer definition gets fuzzy.

Anyhow use a low a flow solder as you can and you should have less
problems with it

Jim Binnion

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160

Member of the Better Business Bureau

Hello Hans,

Several have suggested using low temp solders. I’d also advise
melting bits of the solder to the back of the gold piece, clean all
areas of the joint, flux, and heat the silver from below. The
advice to use white-out or ocher is also very good.

Best wishes and let us know how it comes or came out.

Judy in Kansas