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Apple watch 18kt


#1

Anyone else following the Apple 18kt transition and the effect it
may have on jewelry? From what I am understanding, the new 18kt they
are making the watch out of is based on volume and not weight.
Perfectly legal. Their alloy will be some kind of ceramic alloy
rather than a metal alloy. Scratch proof, lighter, 28% gold by weight
rather than the 75% we are accustomed to.

Until the patent is released we will not understand how. There are
some from the jewelry industry involved and I expect it will change
our market.

"In sum, Apple has found a technically useful loophole in the way we
typically grade the shiny yellow rocks. “In addition to using as
little gold as possible while maintaining a specific karatage,” the
patent states, “a gold metal matrix composite can be formed that has
selected aesthetic properties well-suited for providing a favorable
user experience.”

Charlie


#2

That’s interesting. For $10,000 it better be gold. Maybe it’s just
certain components that are 18k and the rest is ceramic.


#3

Apple had always been really good at ripping people off no shock
there but sad days when the general public is hood winked like that
at the expense of an industry that Apple should just stay the heck
out of. JMHO

Teri


#4
Scratch proof, lighter, 28% gold by weight rather than the 75% we
are accustomed to. 

If it’s a mix of gold and ceramic, you could then have a total
material with 28% gold by total weight. But if they are marking it
as 18K gold, then the metal content of that mass will still have to
be 75% gold by weight, but it’s only the weight of the metal that’s
involved. If the major part of the material is ceramic, then that
ceramic won’t be part of the metal alloy, only intermixed with it. A
comparison would be that you can make a piece of jewelry out of 18K
gold and You could have 10 grams of gemstones set in 2
grams of 18K gold, but the whole thing can still have that 18K mark
because the weight of the gems isn’t figured in. Their patent won’t
be about making an 18K gold that only has 28% gold by weight,
because unless they change national and international metal marking
rules, it’s the by weight ratio that matters, not by volume. Their
patent, however, could easily be a new composite material that’s only
28% gold, but retains the appearance of gold while adding the
advantages of the more durable, and presumably lighter, ceramic. Some
of this, of course, is bound to be marketing hype. After all, it’s
now easy to take a ceramic or steel or whatever material and use a
vapor deposition layer of some suitably hard material to make almost
anything look like gold, even if it isn’t. So just getting the look
of gold is worth a nice big yawn. Getting it able to be marked and
marketed as 18K gold, and charging accordingly for it, is their
trick. While getting greater durability than 18K gold filled stock
might give them (another way to get 18K look with only a small
percentage of gold, but because what it’s bonded to is also metal,
you can’t mark it as 18K…) It should be interesting to see what
they’ve actually come up with. Just remember that if it sounds too
good to be true, and is marketed as some unbelievable new advance in
material science, then there is a significant chance that is is
neither quite true, nor quite that believable. Certainly not the
first product from Apple or many other companies where the marketing
double talk exceeds the actual product by at least some margin…


#5

28% gold by weight rather than the 75% we are accustomed to.

How can it be called 18K when it’s only 28% gold? There may be some
legal loophole, but 18K means mostly gold. 28% gold is mostly
something other than gold. It doesn’t matter what else that is (even
if it is magical Apple dust), it isn’t gold. So it shouldn’t be
called 18K. Even if it IS legal, it’s deceptive and assumes that the
public is stupid. And maybe the public is.


#6

wrong way around… 75% gold by weight, but the remainder is a very
low density (around SG=3) ceramic - its a metal matrix ceramic
composite.


#7
Anyone else following the Apple 18kt transition and the effect it
may have on jewelry? From what I am understanding, the new 18kt
they are making the watch out of is based on volume and not weight. 
Perfectly legal. Their alloy will be some kind of ceramic alloy
rather than a metal alloy. Scratch proof, lighter, 28% gold by
weight rather than the 75% we are accustomed to. 

No it is not based on volume. It is mass fraction just like any
other karat gold alloy. By weight it is 75% gold the balance is
other materials. Exactly like any 18k alloy, the stamping act does
not differentiate or specify what the remaining 25% is. People are
making a big deal about this without any understanding of the issue.
As long as it is 75% by weight gold IT IS 18K.

James Binnion


#8

No it is not based on volume. It is mass fraction just like any
other karat gold alloy. By weight it is 75% gold the balance is
other materials. Exactly like any 18k alloy, the stamping act does
not differentiate or specify what the remaining 25% is. People are
making a big deal about this without any understanding of the issue.
As long as it is 75% by weight gold IT IS 18K.

OK. That makes sense. The original posting made it sound like they
found a way to legally call 28% gold 18K, and there’s no way to make
that work.


#9
People are making a big deal about this without any understanding
of the issue. 
As long as it is 75% by weight gold IT IS 18K. 

It seems to me that if the remaining 25% is not a metal, but a
ceramic, and the only actual metal is gold, then there isn’t an alloy
that is 18K, but only the 24K gold intermixed with the ceramic stuff.
I’m not sure such a mix would be called 18K, even if it’s a fairly
intimate mix, such as some sort of sintered ceramic trapping the
gold. How, for example, would this differ from taking a certain
weight of gold chunks, mixing with 25% of that weight of beach sand,
and giving it a light stir so it’s mixed, but easily visible as
seperate particles?


#10

so why all the fuss?

The density of the MMC is less than an all-metal based alloy - hence
you use less gold for the same volume of watch frame, saving money.

The material is also more wear resistant than normal gold alloys
too, as an added benefit.

so yes - it’s an exercise in saving money on a prestige fashion
accessory - contradiction much? yep…


#11

I have found several definitions of 18kt, and other karats, as a
percentage of gold with the remainder of 100 per cent another metal
or metals.

BUT - I also found that alloy means a mixture of metals or of a
metal and a non-metal.

It seems to me that the first definition, speaking of metals only,
excludes the use of ceramic in mixture with gold.

Could it be that this distinction has not been seen by the
manufacturers?


#12
People are making a big deal about this without any understanding
of the issue. 
As long as it is 75% by weight gold IT IS 18K. 
It seems to me that if the remaining 25% is not a metal, but a
ceramic, and the only actual metal is gold, then there isn't an
alloy that is 18K, but only the 24K gold intermixed with the
ceramic stuff. 
I'm not sure such a mix would be called 18K, even if it's a fairly
intimate mix, such as some sort of sintered ceramic trapping the
gold. How, for example, would this differ from taking a certain
weight of gold chunks, mixing with 25% of that weight of beach
sand, and giving it a light stir so it's mixed, but easily visible
as seperate particles? 

It is a composite matrix not a mixture, the gold is holding the
ceramic not the other way around. And FWIW most ceramics are metal
compounds like metal oxides which are present in most alloys anyway.
It is a new concept but it is not that far away from other jewelry
materials. Tungsten carbide rings are ceramic (tungsten carbide) in
a metal matrix (cobalt and or nickel) so it is not like jewelry is
not made from such materials. No you will not melt it down and make
a new item from it but trying to argue it is not 18k when all that
is required to be 18k is a particular mass fraction gold is silly
unless we want to follow Leonid down the rabbit hole of “real” gold
is at least 50% atomic fraction gold. Then even many 18K alloys
would not qualify as “real” gold. The value of the gold or other
precious metals in a piece of jewelry is a small fraction of its
selling cost so you cannot argue that somehow the consumer is being
defrauded by this product.

James Binnion


#13
so yes - it's an exercise in saving money on a prestige fashion
accessory - contradiction much? yep... 

Nope not in the least, fashion accessories are totally devoid of any
linkage between their intrinsic value and their selling price. How
many $300-$600 or more sterling silver rings have you seen in the
fashion accessory market? It is branding, branding, and more
branding it has zip point doodly to do with intrinsic value. Until
you get to the absolute bottom of the barrel commodity jewelry does
the value of the intrinsic materials have much impact on retail
price. The cheapest 4mm size 10, 14k wedding band is retailing for
over 3 times its gold value at the cheapest online merchants so not
a lot over the wholesale price. And damn near the only time human
hands touched that thing is when the customer put it on. And the
same thing is true at 18k selling for close to 3x the gold value in
the absolutely cheapest no name retail. But if you put a "name"
brand on those rings they will sell for at least twice as much and
maybe more depending on the name. So getting all worked up over
whether Apple by using a MMC 18k gold is some how cheapening the
prestige fashion jewelry market is a joke.

James Binnion


#14

Hi James,

thanks - you are absolutely correct. and I should have worked that
out for myself…


#15

Hi Gang,

A friend of mine forwarded me the following link, which is a
production designer’s analysis of the apple "how we made it’ videos
for the iwatch. This is actual manufacturing steps for the various
versions. Well worth reading.

While I was digging around on the same site, he did a similar
analysis of how the MacPro (Trashcan version) is made, involving
deep drawing.

The videos for the watch can be found here:

No idea where they hid the videos for the MacPro, but somewhere on
apple.com, for sure.

Enjoy.
Brian


#16

the other videos are on the apple watch website - linked in the
article…

click “explore” then Films


#17

Thanks Brian - I really enjoyed that - and it may have changed my
mind about the nature of both apple and prestige…

Who says you can’t learn new things…