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First time Gold work

I need to make a pair of 9ct gold bezels for some stone (Blue
John) I am cutting and have never worked gold before. Any major
differences in technique required compared to sterling silver? The
thought of repeating in gold some of the mistakes I made when
first working sterling frightens me silly - especially in the
wallet area. I am fabricating from sheet and bezel strip and will
probably put a fine twist surround on the freeform cab bezels
which be about 20x30mm.

Andy Parker, Ulverston, Cumbria, England

Hi Andy,

Although I am sure others will give you better tech answers than
I could, I thought you might appreciate a comment from someone
else who has almost exclusively worked in silver. The first
time I soldered gold was sizing my own wedding band…the glow
was so red & strong before the solder flowed that I kept thinking
I was going to collapse the ring. The only thing that kept me at
it was a friend at my shoulder saying “it always looks like that,
keep going”. He told me the first time he went from silver to
gold the color difference in soldering really threw him too.
After I got past that part I found it easier to work with than

Karen in Northern Illinois


Beginning of thread:

I need to make a pair of 9ct gold bezels for some stone (Blue
John) I am cutting and have never worked gold before. Any major
differences in technique required compared to sterling silver?..


I’ve never used 9ct, however, gold does not conduct heat as
quickly as silver, therefore, the area where you are soldering
gets hotter, quicker, making it easier to melt. The solution is
to use a cooler flame than you are use to for silver. Start out
smaller and softer than you think you need. Patience here can
save you $$$. Heat the area around the joint (not the joint
itself) until your solder flows. If you are not already doing
it with silver, be sure to dip your gold into a solution of
50%/50% boric acid and alcohol (denatured, gin is too expensive)
prior to soldering. Ignite the pieces after dipping to leave a
protective coating of boric acid on the pieces. This will
prevent fire scale. Flux, solder and pickle.

Hi Andy,

I have soldered countless bridges and crowns not to mention
jewelry. In some dental golds the melting point of the metal
and the flow point of the solder is about 100 deg. F at about
2600 deg. F. When you solder be sure to romance the work,
“kiss” the work with the torch flame. Treat it like a beautiful
woman ( a shy but handsome guy, for the ladies :slight_smile: Take your
. Remember that old adage,"There is never time to do it
right, but there is always time to do it over! Be sure to use a
softer flame too.



My mother brought me some Blue John home from England for me to
cut, and I found out what a brittle stone it was! 9 karat gold
is pretty hard, even if it is annealed and will be a bear to push
over the stone and close the bezel even if you use 30 guage bezel
strip. I would talk the customer into using at least 18 karat
gold for the bezel and 9 k for the rest. This would give you a
better chance of not cracking or chipping the stone. You might
try putting a shock-absorbant material behind the stone. I
sometimes use 2mm gasket rubber. You could always use your 9k
bezel wire with no intention of rolling the bezel over, the color
would be the same, at least. If you plan to epoxy the stone, make
the bezel lower or even with the point where the stone starts to
curve, and make sure your stone has a press fit. I know this is
easier said than done! Good luck!

Wendy Newman

Gold is like butter. The problem is not so much how to work
with it, but will you ever want to go back to silver? It’s easy
easy easy. I love gold. It takes so much less heat, you can do
tiny chain links while holding the link in tweezers and you never
burn your fingers on hot tweezers.

I first worked in gold while in college – no one gave me any
extra instruction, I just did it. It worked.