[Beginners' Corner] Gold Tie Tac

I have a request from a friend to do a 14k gold tie tac for him. I
have not worked in gold (only silver) but I do know how soft gold can
be. My instinct is to do the prong on the back in brass. Is this
correct and will I have any trouble soldering the brass to the gold? I
would use gold solder and would purchase the catch for the prong in
brass from one of the supply catalogs. Am I on the right track?
Advice, ideas, will be appreciated! Dolores
New Jersey —

Re the gold tie tac Dolores, 14K gold is not as “soft” as you think.
It takes a lot of pressure to bend a gold prong and after it is bent
the first time, it hardens. I do not know the design you are
intending to use but I would not, rpt not solder brass to the gold tie
tac. Use 14K gold!
Don at The Charles Belle Studio where simple elegance IS fine

Dolores, You should not have any trouble soldering brass to gold. You
can also purchase the tiack back in 14K gold.

Joel Schwalb

Dont use brass… a nice quality 14 kt tie tac pin will do. Melt a
little solder in the middle , where the pin will attach. Heat from
underneath ( if possible), gently. When solder starts to melt, place
pin on. Leave it in place for a second; if you move it too soon, the attachment might fail.

   My instinct is to do the prong on the back in brass. 

G’day: NO NO NO!!! Please don’t! Brass will ruin the integrity of
the item. 14 carat gold is at least as hard as sterling, and you can
make lasting prongs in this at least as easily as in brass. Just make
your prongs reasonably sturdy and give a little twist to the prong(s)
left and right. This will harden the gold still further. PLEASE don’t
mix gold and brass! Cheers, –

John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ

By all means, Dolores, use gold. 14K gold should be plenty hard
enough for a tie tack pin. I’ve been using them, albiet not
frequently any more, for the score and a half years I’ve been
goldsmithing. Consider the miniscule extra expense in the
perspective of the value of the entire piece, and you’ll see it’s an
appropriate investment. By the way, brass doesn’t solder nearly as
easily as does alloyed gold. It oxidizes much more easily. Hope it
comes out much to your liking.
David L. Huffman

Hi Delores, I’ve just discovered Orchid so I’m a beginner in this
arena but I’ve been working with gold in all karats for years and
have made many many gold tie tacs. First of all choose the karat
gold you want to use. Gold color and karat will determine what sort of
gold solder you should use. 14k is durable a good choice and least
problematic I think for a beginner. Get some medium 14k solder and
solder on a piece of 14k 16ga.round wire . You can then file the
length to 11mm and taper the end to a sharp point. Test it by
putting it through some fine fabric to make sure its sharp enough to
pierce a tie. You will need to file a very thin notch around the pin
about 1.5mm down from the pin point. Make sure you position the pin
above the center of gravity on the back so that the tac doesn’t twist
around when its being worn. You can order tie tac backs in gold plate
very inexpensively. My very favorite findings supplier is Stuller.
ph# 1-800-877-7777. Once you get the back you may need to thin the
wire a bit to fit with fine file or sandpapers. My philosophy is never
use base metals with real gold in a piece of jewelry unless it is
being done for art’s sake. To use base metal parts just destroys the
value and makes the piece look cheap and unprofessional. It also
opens up a world of headaches just in pickle contamination and
tarnish. Have you thought of what a tarnished brass pin and back
would do to a fine tie? If this is your first venture into gold,
enjoy, enjoy, working with gold is wonderful. If you don’t have a
14k stamp yet get one so you can mark your gold jewelry, and you
should always put your makers mark on your work too. Good Luck.
Barbara Gillis

Hello Delores, Use 14k for eveything except the clutch. The post at
the back should definitely be 14k. Good luck. Tom Arnold

Delores Hello, I would suggest if you are working with 14 karat gold
to use a 14 karat gold post for back of the tac. You can get a
goldplated back clutch for the back of the post to secure it. These
items are available through finding companies like Stuller. Let me
know if you need more


If you want to harden your 14k tie tack post after soldering it in
place, take a smooth pair of parallel pliers. Grip the post and give
it a quarter turn. That should work harden it considerably. This
technique works well with earring posts, too.

Donna Shimazu

       My instinct is to do the prong on the back in brass. 

I have a tie tack design that I cast in 18k yellow gold, with the post
in place. It works just fine. The reason I do this is so that the
piece can be enameled.

Rick Hamilton

Gold and Platinumsmithing
Jewelry Photography