Great tip for fusing--thanks! But--why must it be fused? I
recently bought some 24k to use for bezels--would this also have to
be fused? Is there a reasom NOT to use 24k?
With both 22 and 24 K golds, while you could make, and maybe even buy
(though high karat solders like that are not common) a solder for
these karats, which are virtually the color of pure gold, the solder
won’t match the bezel in either color or importantly, the hardness.
it will be a noticably harder spot. Thus fusing is quite superior.
Besides, it’s easy to do, and costs you less that solders. You don’t
HAVE to fuse anything ever, of course. But when you DO fuse, be it
platinum, or high karat golds, the color and hardness then match the
parent metal, which they don’t always do otherwise. And with high
karat golds, since oxidation isn’t a problem, neither is porosity once
you get the hang of doing it. So there’s little down side. However,
there are at least two reasons not to use a 24 K bezel, in some
instance. First, although the color is wonderfully yellow, 24K gold
is soft as butter. This makes it very easy to set the bezel, but it
also may, in some designs, mean that the bezel may not be as secure,
since leverage or pressure applied to the stone can then push the
bezel away. Not commonly a problem, but with high cabs, for
example… And though it will wear better than it’s softness may seem
to imply, it will still wear away faster than might some of the harder
alloys which are still quite gold rich. A 20K or 22K gold bezel will
last a lot longer than a 24 K bezel will, with almost the same color.
And aside from simply noting that 24K gold is more costly to use than
lower karats, the other argument against it is again based on the
softness. In wear, it will get more deeply scratched, more deeply
dented and dinged, and will generally look a lot more beat up, a lot
faster. With some designs, this end look to the bezel may be desired.
But not always. Keep it in mind.