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Economical Tips for Casting with 14K Gold

Hi there!

I have been lost wax casting for a year now and I have not been able to wrap my head around the casting limitations of 14K gold. I am referring to the rule that you can only cast with a precious metal (in my case it is 14K gold) two times then you have to add at least 50% new gold to the mix to avoid porosity and heavy darkened film (not sure what this is, its not firescale/firestain but a dark orange color and a huge pain to get off when polishing).

My issue is now all my cash is tied up into my old gold that cant be casted anymore (already casted it 2x or more) and I cannot afford to buy new gold for upcoming orders because all my money has been casted into gold sprues, buttons and casting trees. What do people typically do to be more efficient and economical with casting gold?

I have seen those “gold refreshers” or a special additive to get more casting out of the gold. Are these reliable and can you still make the claim for 14K purity? Or is there a way for me to refine the old gold myself to yield more castings?

Thanks everyone!

1)buy deox gold grain, use for casting only, it cannot be rolled. be careful what casting flux you use (ask your gold supplier what flux to use)
2) i cut my recast ratio to 30 to 40%, to stretch the gold (that means 30% old to 70% new) i can recast my old gold for longer that way
3) start charging more $ to cover your costs of inventory being tied up
4) buy really good pickle ( or make your own from sodium bisulfate)
5)i do not buy gold refreshers or refine gold (i let the experts do that stuff)

Hi Brittany

There are many things you can do to clean up old buttons to be recast. I almost never send in what I know to be clean metal for refining. Here is what I do with old buttons to be cast again. Please be sure to have adequate ventilation and were a good respirator.

  1. Ultrasonic in it’s own container.
  2. Stream
  3. Pickle
  4. Stream again and the use a brass brush in flex shaft all over button.
  5. If there is any defect left then use a burr to remove.
  6. When possible add fresh metal.

As and aside.
Casting like many things in this trade and life is not a perfect. So it’s all about learning what your equipment can do for you.

Hope I have added something.

Thanks goldwolff123!

What is deox? Is it special anti-firescale gold? I see hoover does it with silicon.

Wow thats a lot of new gold in the mix. How do you not have tons of gold lying around? Do you end up using all your gold? Do you do smaller batches of castings to keep the amount of gold for sprues and buttons low? Or is it once you hit a certain point of your reserve gold then you just buy new gold for all your orders? How do you know when the gold is worn out? Do you mark it how many times it has been casted or can you just see it?

What brand of pickle do you use? Does the RioPickle work well or is Sparex better?

I charge the cost of the finished gold weight, + other materials + time x2.20 for wholesale then x2 for retail. Is that still not enough? Should I be charging the cost of the sprues? My pricing is competitive with my peers and if i double or increase I fear I will have a huge price resistance.

Thanks again for your insight!

Just a thought on markup of gold as it balances out with eventual scrap to be refined: a while back I started an analysis of cast gold jewelry on the internet, particularly ebay. Looking at the gram weight of finished pieces & what the spot market for gold was at the time, a lot of vendors were marking up the gold material 8×. That covered labor, materials, waste /recycling, production, etc. These were pendants, charms etcetera and certainly nothing FABULOUS (imho) as far as design. That formula have me a holistic perspective on the economic life cycle of gold within my studio.

Yes, deox gold has silicone deoxidizers in the mix. Makes it much more recast-able. Most major refiners carry it in several karats and colors.

Yeah, I have some buttons that get mixed and recast 4 and 5 times.

I buy gold by the oz, and just let it hang out til I need it. I’m a small shop, but it just ends up being a part of the inventory mix. Keep the deox and traditional grain separate, that way you can roll and fabricate with the traditional, and cast with the deox.

Your pricing seems ok, but I don’t know how that compares to mine, I price differently, mostly depending on the job.

Some jobs are repair, some are custom.

I do not charge for sprues, only finished gold weight.

You can buy deox sterling also, but then it if your design requires oxidation, it gets much trickier.

I keep track of how many times I pour, most of my pours are small, one or two rings, so no long center thick sprue. I can easily reuse a 1.5 dwt button on the next pour. If my buttons were 15 dwt’s that would suck. Guess I would just refine more.