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14k Gold too pink

Hello from a new subscriber,

I’m American but live and work as a silversmith in London. I admire
this instinct for sharing and techniques. I hope I’ll be
able to contribute something helpful some time.

I have a problem with an experiment I’ve been doing “painting” with
14k yellow gold on silver as per an article by John E. Cogswell in
tech news in Metalsmith mag. The gold “paint strokes” keep turning
out too pink instead of yellow and aren’t showing up well. I’ve
tried annealing and pickling a couple of times to try to enhance it
and am using fresh safety pickle but results are still too subtle.
The design precludes using sulphides for contrast. Maybe I’m
expecting too much… Has anyone had a similar experience? Any
suggestions for improving the color?

Also, I’m not very swift in the computer department and haven’t got
the hang of finding my way around the site. I’ve spent far too many
happy hours meandering through the archives and wonder if you have to
scroll through all the month’s pages to find if there are any replies
to your question?

Don’t laugh.
Thanks, Kay I.

Welcome, Kay.

Are you using a “pink” (reddish) gold? The color results may vary
depending on the color and karat of gold used and of course on the
thickness of the gold layer bonded to the silver which actually
alloys with the gold at the contact, further affecting color. Using
a higher karat gold could intensify the yellow and “writing” more
slowly to leave a heavier mark should increase the contrast. Be
cautioned that 18kt or higher karat gold will require more heat on
the gold “stylus” than the 14 karat so practice a bit to get a feel
for the flow and motion speed.

To search the archives for posts of a particular subject or poster
(yourself), scroll down the archives page past “Orchid Resources” to
"Search Orchid". Enter a keyword from your question or your own
name and the pages that match will be returned. Look for those that
pertain to your question. When you find and open the right thread,
you can follow any responses to it by clicking on “thread next” in
the navigation bar across the top of the message.

Hope this helps.

Pam Chott

Hi all–

I was once cautioned that using paste flux with 14k gold will result
in a pinkish surface. Using Batterns (or some other non-paste) flux
will help eliminate the problem. The copper content of the gold
being what it is, the heat will tend to bring it up, don’t you

Good luck.

Thank you to those nice folks who have replied to my query about
"painting" with gold on silver and made suggestions. One especially
interesting one was that the gold is forming an alloy with the
silver, hence the coppery pink tone. If so, perhaps I’d have better,
i.e., yellower, results if I used Argentium which has no -or is it
minimal- copper content soon as I get some time to play. I tried
using 18k gold but the heat balancing act was too tricky for me and
it partly fused.

Incidentally, I used Pripp’s flux which I mixed up with,
surprisingly, none of the gloop problems I’ve read about people
having and it work brilliantly in preventing firestain. Argotect
(ingredients unlisted on the container) mixed with methylated
spirits which is great for making it adhere to surfaces,is what most
silversmiths here (England) use against firestain if they can be
bothered. Trouble is,it sure adds time to a job. It is admittedly
well worth it though if you have a surface treatment, like etching
or chasing, which would be spoiled by polishing.