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Fusing gold wire onto fine silver (fusion inlay)?


#1

The September 1995 issue of Lapidary Journal pp 30-34) had an
articleabout the work of Diannah Beauregard. The artist
described a technique called “fusion inlay” in which she takes
22K gold wires and forms them into various designs, sets them on
fine silver (e.g., a disc shape) and torch heats the piece on
charcoal. The article says “since fine gold melts ata higher
temp than fine silver, the design in gold remains intact as
thefine silver reaches the point at which fusion successfully
takes place.”

My questions:

  1. Does the technique require 22K and fine silver. Or can other
    combinations such as 18K and fine silver be used?

  2. Should the piece be on a charcoal block? I tried the process
    with some small scrap and found the when heating above the gold
    (which is so small relative to the silver base) heated up to
    quickly and melted. Is it possible to just do this on a mesh and
    heat from beneath?

Any other advice about the technique would be greatly
appreciated. Thanks in advance, rd


#2
  1. Does the technique require 22K and fine silver. Or can other
    combinations such as 18K and fine silver be used?

Sounds similar to reticulation- though using fine silver does
eliminate the possibility of firescale ;<)

  1. Should the piece be on a charcoal block? I tried the process
    with some small scrap and found the when heating above the gold
    (which is so small relative to the silver base) heated up to
    quickly and melted. Is it possible to just do this on a mesh and
    heat from beneath?

That or in combination with a trinket kiln- though heat contol
is very critical.

Rick

Richard D. Hamilton

Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography

http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton


#3

Hi rd,

I recently made a bracelet that was 1" x 1/2" slightly dapped
pieces of 18G sterling silver with tube hinges appliqued in
freeform type patterns of 22G hammered 10kt gold. The dapping
was done after each section was finished before pinning the
hinges. First I fluxed and flowed my easy silver solder to the
back of each gold piece. Then I fluxed my silver and flashed it
dry, then lightly fluxed my gold pieces and set them while the
piece was still warm. The gold dried to the silver and nothing
floated when I came back with the flame to solder. What worked
for me was to keep the flame away from the gold and just bring
the silver slowly to temperature holding the torch (I use a
mini-torch) at a fair distance and keeping it moving. I didn’t
heat from the back and I didn’t use charcoal. My soldering block
is a very porous one which lets me set pins to hold my pieces
firmly in place.

Maybe it was formally untaught fool’s luck - but I only had to
redo one piece out of the six; and that was the first one I tried
where I got a bit too eager with the heat and the gold flowed
slightly on me. Nothing lost though, I just flowed the gold a bit
more - did another piece similarly, didn’t dap, and put posts on
the back. A very nice pair of earrings.

Don’t laugh at me you mob - some of my fastest-selling pieces
have been recycled mistakes.

Nina