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