I have had 4 commissions where I have used the 3.5%
platinum/sterling alloy from ABI. I wanted to give ABI some praise
for this alloy, I have enjoyed using it very much. The four pieces I
have made were all cast rings two plain textured band rings, one
band ring with flush mounted stones all around the band and one with
a 22K gold bezel set with turquoise (Landers).
This alloy is whiter than sterling and was pure joy to set the flush
mounted stones in. The contrast in color between the high karat gold
and the alloy was magnificent. ABI gave me tips for casting, that I
couldn’t burn the alloy so go hot, I am torch melting, and to cast at
a higher flask temp than regular sterling. I cast at 1050 flask temp
in a centrifugal caster.
The one criticism I have with ABI on this alloy is the lack of name
to give this alloy. I stumble through an explanation to my clients
about this material and even had them some of them look at the ABI
website because I just had so little in the way of marketing material
to use. I talked to ABI about this at the '05 Tucson gem show but
them don’t seem to have done anything about it.
This is not a material I would consider using in my production line
for a couple of reasons, primarily the cost of the alloy which by
percent sits right between karat gold and sterling silver. I was able
to sell it by saying it is a very white metal and special because of
the platinum in the alloy. This set it apart from “regular” sterling,
making it more special than “regular” sterling in the client’s minds,
and like platinum , not something that everyone will have. The second
problem I have using this material in pieces I was not selling
personally is that due to lack of a name I would have a hell of a
time explaining to anyone what the hell this material is and why they
should pay ten times the cost of regular sterling for it. I feel with
a name from ABI it could be successfully marketed more generally.
The other problem I had is with identifying the alloy on the inside
of the rings. If I used what ABI told me to use I would have had no
room left for my own hallmark let alone any engraving the client
wanted to do, the two bands I made were wedding rings. I simply
marked it as .925 which is at least the absolute truth. My clients
have been satisfied with this marking.
So to conclude the only problems I have with this are in the realm of
marketing, the is the area which I see as a stumbling block for me as
a small producer of custom jewelry and a wholesale production line. I
love working with it and will continue to strongly offer it to
clients who want something special, something new and unusual and
something I really enjoy using. I have some casting grain left over
from the commissions and plan to cast an ingot and mill it to sheet.
I’ll let you know what I do with it, I can’t wait to do this but I
don’t have a project in mind. If I were to make myself something
these days I would use this alloy, I would personally love to wear
Sam Patania, Tucson