Drawing gold wire and hardness

I have a lot of practice hardening sterling silver wire by drawing
it. I like the harder wire for making unsoldered chains. I’ll take
18 ga sterling soft and draw it down to 24ga, with no annealing to
make it slightly harder than full hard. I know that works well for my
designs. I want to try my same designs with gold. I’d like to try it
with both 14K and 18K yellow gold. Can anyone provide me with some
guidance as to what gauge of dead soft yellow gold I should start
with to end up with a hard 24 ga wire? I’m assuming that a hard 14K
or 18K will be about as stiff as hard sterling, but I could use some
guidance on that, too.

Thanks- Ari

Hardness in terms of wire temper is a strictly relative term. You
can get spring hard lead if you draw it down enough, but that’s a
very different thing than spring hard steel.

With that said, my experience has been that half-hard 14K gold is
springier than hald hard sterling silver. That makes sense to me,
since the 14K gold is more heavily alloyed than sterling silver. No
clue about the 18K though, and I couldn’t tell you HOW much springier
the 14K is.

Someone on the list will probably come up with exactly the figures
that you need, but if not - here’s your plan B… Check the chart
that I have on my site for % wire area reduction and resulting wire
temper: Spiderchain Jewelry – Precision jump rings for chainmail jewelers. You can use
that to get a good idea of what temper you’re giving your sterling
wire. Then ask a refiner what would be the equivalent working temper
for 14K and 18K. Use the chart to work backwards to your starting
wire diameter.

It’ll be a bunch of plodding math, but at least it’s a option if
none of the Fine Orchid Folk have a magical answer.

-Spider (wire and chain lunatic)

with gold at 560.00 + an oz, why not just purchase some full hard to
spring hard 24 g. 18 kt wire…unless you have a lot of time for
drawing it down from say 18g…i think three-four passes of 24" of
wire in a decent draw plate should render just about any 18kt wire
hardened if you don’t anneal it, but do use some oil of wintergreen
or other liquid lubricant on your draw plate ( try to avoid wax on
the drawplate if possible and particularly if it is a sapphire
drawplate) as you proceed so the Au doesn’t become brittle and break.
24g is pretty small.Remember if you’re buying 14kt, you are paying
for wire that is only about 50% gold…, it is harder naturally due
to the Cu and Ag, and the higher the karat the softer the gold…i
recommend going with 18 kt for chains- due to the richer colour, and
14 karat for the clasps- due to the integral strength if you’re just
begining to play with gold. however, 20-22 karat looks beautiful and
adds value to the piece.Another consideration is the style of chain
you’re after. If it is byzantine or the like, and you are using a lot
of jump rings for the construction, 18-22 gauge will give you enough
strength, but also weight…which may or may not be desirable…there
is no pat answer to your question as it is essentially one of
design…have fun, but take shortcuts to makeyour production time
minimized if this is to be your sole means of support…