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22K gold is hard to form

I alloyed 22k gold, using 1part copper, 1 part silver, for a pair of boat earrings. I milled my sheet to 25/26 ga. and I am surprised that it’s quite a bit harder to form than the fine silver I milled to about the same gauge when I made a trial pair. Is it because there’s more copper than traditional gold recipes for 22k yellow gold; or simply that fine silver is by nature more malleable at this gauge? Thank you.

Are you annealing the metal after milling it? Milling work-hardens alloys quickly and usually requires that they be annealed to regain workability.


I work exclusively in 22 karat gold and it is very malleable. As mdbiscay stated above it work hardens quickly. I prefer annealing in a beehive kiln rather than using a torch.
Anneal, pickle, work… and repeat.
For 22 karat gold I use a lot of wood tools, they don’t scratch the surface and nylon players.
Have fun. Be happy to share my alloy formula.
Are you sure you started with pure 24 karat gold?


What do you mean, 1 part silver and 1 part copper? Half silver and half copper? That is way too much copper if you want it to be malleable. The classic 22k recipe is more like 33 grains of fine silver to 11 grains of copper for 1 troy ounce of gold. More silver in the recipe makes it malleable with lighter (green) color, more copper makes it redder in color and much less malleable.


I’ve used the recipe you give, thank you for that, but I find the colour too green. I will have to figure out how to work with less malleable metal. The colour my recipe produces is lovely. I appreciate your reply, thank you, you answered my question.

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Thank you. Yes, I am certain I started with 24k gold. I buy from Toback in New York. I was wondering if it required more frequent annealing because of more copper than the usual yellow gold 22k gold recipe.

Would you say more, please, about the advantage of a beehive kiln over torch for annealing, and which type or brand you use? (I cannot have a full torch in my apartment.)

I’m always happy to learn about other recipes, thank you, I’m interested to hear yours.

Yes, I’m annealing and pickling after each round of forming (I’d already milled the metal to the gauge I wanted before beginning to form the earrings).

How long do you anneal in the beehive? And yes, I’d love to learn about your alloy! I took a class at Jewelry Arts during Gold week a few years back and I’ve been getting the itch to give it another go!

Do you quench the metal while it’s still hot? With that much copper the alloy may behave like rose gold. With red-ish golds quenching while hot is important.

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I use this beehive kiln:

I am not sure if there is an advantage to using it except that I teach workshops and it is safer to anneal in the kiln because there is no risk of melting the gold.

I don’t have any experience with the alloy you are working with. I use the same formula as Makena.
But my hunch is anneal more often.

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The gold will let you know when it is annealed. It will have a lovely glow. The time depends on how big the piece is. Five minutes usually does it for a small piece.

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Thank you for the kiln information and your reply. You are right, annealing more frequently has helped. I have to make alloy using the standard recipe which is what I first learned. I need more for a chain to go with the pendant I’m making from the remainder. I have the original recipe; the colour should be close enough that any difference will only be seen by an expert eye.

Do you use the kiln with a torch to fuse 22k bezel joins or just the torch?

That little beehive kiln is awesome!
I wonder if it gets hot enough to fuse mokume billets? (ideally gold, platinum, and silver)
I need to look up what the fusing temperatures are for those.