22 k Gold?

I have not often worked in gold but now have a nice green square
tormaline to set in gold. I have been given a broken 22 K chain to
melt and permission to add more gold if needed. I don’t think that the
pendent itself will be a problem but I need help with the stone. What
do I bezel it with or if I set it in prongs, where and what do I
order? I’m hoping for lots of advice from all you goldsmiths in the

Thanks, Marilyn Smith

Dear Marilyn If you have enough 22k use that, it is wonderful for
bezels, sets well and has a great color …good luck with the piece

Marilyn hello! By all means if you need help setting your stone; make
your first stop a discussion of your design with a stonesetter. That
way your design works with the method the gem will be set by the
setter. So draw out your design or designs and go see how a good
stonesetter advises you to proceed. Good luck!

Marilyn, If you want to use a prong setting you need to know the
dimensions of the stone in order to order an appropriate size prong
setting. Is your stone a standard calibrated size? I don’t think that
you will find or want to use a 22K prong setting. It would be too soft
to use for prongs. You can find 18K ready made prong settings. If you
decide that you prefer a bezel setting, again it depends on the size
and shape of the stone. If the stone is not a standard calibrated
size you will have to fabricate a bezel. You can purchase seated bezel
wire from a number of suppliers. If you need on suppliers
email me off line and I will be happy to suggest a few.


Dear Marilyn, I work in gold everday and make everything by hand. If
you use a small ledge inside your schedule and then saw the corners of
the schedule you will have no problems setting the gem straight. To
set a bezel set it is easy to use a curved plass and start from the
corners of the schedule and work your way into the centre. Do the
opposite side and then the two remaining sides to ensure the gem is
straight and that you do not have to reset it. If you are setting a
square or baguette cut tourmaline slightly sand paper the corners on
the girdle only and your chance of breaking or cracking the gem is
very little. Gold is not to difficult of a jump if you work in silver
now. If you work in other metals it will take time for you to master
this . Gold is a lovely metal to work in and if you make the piece in
the 22 kt from the chain it will be very easy to work, but
unfortunently more easy to damage after the piece is finished.
Eighteen karat is the optium percentage for gold as it is both high in
percentage and not so tough to work with. Hope these comments help you

Hi Marilyn,

If you are going to cast this piece be careful. Chain usually has
quite a bit of solder on it and in castings, this is usually like
dumping a half of a box of pits into the crucible.;o) All kidding
aside, this will usually cause pits in the casting, also 22kt is
kinda soft for prong setting but you may slide because it is a


Skip Meister
Orchid Jewelry Listserve Member
N.R.A. Endowment
"No man’s life, liberty or fortune is safe…while our legislature is in session."
Benjamin Franklin

Hi Skip & Marilyn,…Skip, I have had good success casting with scrap
gold as people are always asking me to cast using Grandma’s colection
of broken and scrap jewellry. Your caution is VERY appropriate but
there is a way to greatly increase your chance of success. When I have
a small pile of scrap I ultrasonic it then I make sure the little
metal spring is out of all the spring rings. Next I sort it according
to karat and do some math either to add some gold to bring it up to
the desired karat or add some silver (and, or copper depending on
which way I want the color to go). Don’t mix white and yellow gold. At
this point I use a clean crucible with a long handle on it and melt
the mix using a neutral flame with enough flame to cover the crucible,
stiring with a carbon rod (don’t use carbon with white gold, use a
quartz rod) I use just a little borax. I get the molten mass hotter
than I would for casting. This is “dribbled” into a deep pot with
clean cold water. The flame should be "shared " at the lip of the
crucible so it is on the metal and you can pour through the other half
of the flame into the water at the same time. You should be about 4"
from the top of the water. Caution! wear protective clothing including
eye protection and don’t drop the crucible water! As you pour, sway
your body so the torch and crucible stay in correct relation to each
other and you are able to get a circular motion going. Don’t pour all
at once but see if you can make it “dribble” and you’ll get nice small
shot. I like to dry the shot on a doubled paper towel under a warm
light bulb. All of this said, you can still get porosity without
proper spruing, weight, and temps for your casting. I only use this
method when customers are really insistant and understand that I add
an alloying fee…John J.A.Henkel Co. Inc., Moldmaking, Casting, &

Skip, thanks for warning me about the pits. I don’t think that I can
not use the chain. I’m doing it for my doctor’s wife and she seemed to
take it for granted that I would use the chain. Perhaps in India this
is normal. If I add more gold, will this help? If so, what is my
easiest source for the gold? I don’t believe that Rio carries it.
Would it be better to cast an ingot, roll out the metal and fabricate
the pendent?


Marilyn, where was the 22k chain made? The links could have been
fused, which would rule out any solder. Heat it and see if a solder
line appears on the links. Rio does have 22k in many different
forms. jars

While reusing old gold from chains often has it’s drawbacks, and can
cause more pits from burning solder and lack of deoxidants, I’d guess
that with 22K gold, this won’t be much of a problem. Such high karat
gold is seldom cast with, nor needs, deoxidants, and even the bit of
solder contaminating it probably won’t contain enough really volatile
metal to cause problems with pitting beyond what would occur with new
22K. Just be careful to melt with a somewhat gentle flame so reducing
atomosphere is maintained. Or, if you’re worried, premelt before
casting, and add some ammonium chloride to the molten metal, stir
well, then pour into an ingot, or just let cool again in the crucible.
Do this with good ventilation, as you’re generating some rather nasty
blue smoke which contains some chlorine gas. The ammonium chloride is
a refining flux. it will convert some of the baser metals that might
be used in making up a solder, into chlorides, which generally are
insoluable in the metal, and will slag off. Won’t do this to your
precious metal content, since chlorides of these metals aren’t stable
at the melting temp your working with, and won’t remain chlorides, but
will return to the metallic state. The result is that this flux will
clean up traces of cadmium, iron, lead, zinc, etc. Ordinary table
salt added to a melt will do some of the same. Don’t do this with
your actual casting pour, since the flux floating around will be
sometimes rather thick, and can get incorporated into the pour. And
do this with an old scrap crucible not used for actual casting.
Pickle the button or ingot well to remove all flux before remelting
for the real casting operation.

And if your design allows, fabricating high karat gold from sheet and
wire will always give you a far superior end result in terms of the
metal quality. Rolled and drawn high karat gold will be significantly
denser and harder if not overly annealed. Even annealed, it will be
better, and won’t be prone to pits. In fabricating it, if you don’t
have a higher karat solder, use 18K hard solder sparingly, and it
should look fine. Or mix half 18K solder with half gold from your
chain. The result will be closer in color, about 20K, and should
still function as a usable hard solder for the 22K. Check to be

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe