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Enamels on white gold?


I am asking advice from all you knowledgeable people out there! I
have been asked whether I can enamel on white gold. I have never
tried it, I don’t know the components added to make the gold white or
what its melting temperature is. Also I believed that white gold is
actually grey and normally is plated. There will also be some yellow
gold in the pieces. What is the best solder to use to withstand kiln
temperatures of 750 - 800 degrees Celsius?

Thanking you in anticipation,

Jenny, in South Oz, where we are experiencing heat in the low
forties c.


Hi Jenny,

I’m an enamelist and I firmly believe there is no reason what so
ever to enamel on anything but fine silver or copper. You can alway
place gold foil under your enamel. Your customer will never see the
metal you are using because it will covered with enamel on both sides
and then you will set the piece in a bezel setting. So, instead of
wasting money on white gold or yellow gold, just use fine silver and
get the colorations you desire that way.

If you are enameling a ring in yellow gold, then you must use green
gold. I do not think your enamel will react properly with white gold
there are too many different materials in the alloying of it.

Jennifer Friedman


Hi Jenny, enamelling on white gold is a dream - providing it is one
of the non-tarnishing alloys. Alloy and Gold Supply in Sydney have a
lovely 18ct palladium alloy white gold which enamels beautifully.
Matthey Johnson had an 18ct white gold equivalent which they used to
call their No 5 alloy, but you’d have to contact them to see if they
still produced it. It was a platinum-palladium-gold alloy and would
be perfect for enamelling. I’m sure you’ll get lots of good advice.
Caroline Delzoppo and I were tutoring together at the recent
McGregor Summer School. She may have some good advice too. Kind
regards. Rex Steele Merten

  I'm an enamelist and I firmly believe there is no reason what so
ever to enamel on anything but fine silver or copper. 

Perhaps you might change that belief if you were to attempt
something a bit more adventurous Jennifer ? There’s more to
enamelling life than bezel-setting little cloisonne buttons .



I have just enameled opak coloures on 750/- white gold. It even was
a casting alloy (!) including 15% palladium. It worked fine. The
Rhodium plating was no problem but I used lead containing enamels so
far. The Rhodium is acid based on only (I think) 3 % Sulphuric acid.
the piece will be in the cold tankonly for about 2 minutes, so it
might work anyway. You will have to try with the enamel you want to
use to be sure, but there is a good chance. Use 750/- gold with some
good part of palladium. And try if the enamel is acid proof enough
for the Rhodium, or leave the white gold natural brownish if it goes
with the colours of the piece.

Good luck ! Ortwin


Hello Jenny,

I’m sure there are Orchid members who have more experience enameling
on white gold than I do, I’ve not tried to enamel on white gold, I
use mostly 24 kt. and Fine Silver. However I have read some
about enameling on white gold in two books, which you
may find useful. You may already know about the pages of information
on white gold in the “Thompson Enamel Workbook,” always a good
resource. And there are also a couple of pages about 18K white gold
alloys suitable for enameling in a new book “Enamelling On Precious
Metal” by Jeanne Werge - Hartley. If you haven’t already seen it,
you can read a bit about the book in the eNAMEL Newsletter.

Good book, I recently purchased it, and find it a very useful

In Werge - Hartley’s book there is mention of an… 18K SW White
Gold Content: 75.1% gold, 7.9% silver, 17.0% palladium. Melting
Point: 1300 - 1315 degrees C ( 2372 - 2400 degrees F ) It’s noted
that it’s a good high karat gold, & malleable, and gives good enamel


18K MW White Gold Content: 75.1 % gold, 11.85 % silver, 13.0 %
palladium. Melt Point:1180 - 1235 degrees C ( 2156 - 2258 degrees F
) also good for working & enameling, but metal looks darkish when

The Hoover & Strong Catalog also has a page or so ( 298 - 299 ) of
info. regarding gold alloy’s for enameling, and the undesirable
effects zinc & nickel in the alloys, can have one the enameling
process. But I found little on solder for white gold & enameling
applications. Sorry.

Everything I’ve been told about soldering on white gold and
enameling it suggests that it may be challenging to achieve the
desired results with out some specific preparation, and
experimentation. But based on the in the books I’ve
mentioned, and a couple of the recent Orchid posts to your question,
I think it’s do-able. I certainly look forward to other posts on
your questions, and hope you get some helpful

Wishing you have great success with this project! Happy Enameling!

Best Regards SScalise @Ornamental_Creations


Thanks to everyone for your great I’ll pass it on to
the jeweller who is interested in me doing this. He wants the tiny
pieces of white and yellow gold, components of a complicated piece of
jewellery, partially covered with enamel before setting diamonds by
them. I guess it would have to be counter-enamelled,(?), and that
would make it thicker and heavier. Rex, could you also suggest
suitable solders for the metals you suggested please? Jennifer, I have
been enamelling on foils for years and have taught many workshops on
this subject and on the reticulation of gold and silver foils on the
surface of the enamel, and of course this is ok for many
applications. However, it’s another story on fine jewellery. If you
are interested there are pictures of the reticulation work on this
site, click on ‘current issue’
I’ll let you know how it works out if we go ahead with it. Jenny Gore.