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Inlay 24k gold into black onyx


I am looking for infromation on how to inlay 24k gold into black
onyx stone. I have seen many rings with this type of inlay but I can
not figure out how to cut the channel and inlay the gold I know it
can be done with a lazer but this would be to expensive for
individual pieces. If you can find anyone who knows the process or
even the tools used it would be very helpful


Normally it is vapor deposited, that is that a depression is carved
out and then the gold is sputtered or vapor deposited in a vacuum
into the recess and any excess polished off. best Charles

Charles Lewton-Brain/Brain Press Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta,
T2P 2L7, Canada Tel: 403-263-3955 Fax: 403-283-9053
Email: @Charles_Lewton-Brai1


Hi, Depending upon the kind of pattern you are aiming for it could
be, should be, might be - possible to hammer set the gold (22k or
more for softness) into carefully carved, smooth sided, slightly
undercut, grooves and even perhaps into small areas in the stone.

I say this because I’ve just done some hammer settings of small
transparent Mexican opals into carved agate using fine silver as the
"surround" for the opal and with the whole assembly set in a dish of
cold dop wax.(I think a picture might be helpful here; email me
offlist if you’d like me to mail you a jpeg of the result).

The logic is that if hammer setting can be done with something as
fragile as a transparent Mexican opal, it should work in onyx which
is typically black-dyed agate, hence tough, and much less inclined
to chip than opal.

I might add that I tried the same thing with obsidian. No go. In
each case the opal survived but the obsidian split.

Hans Durstling
normally Moncton Canada
presently and appreciatively in snowfree Sunland California


Hi Kathy; I’m going to take a shot at this, but expect better
informed answers from the others. The “channel” could be cut with an
ultrasonic cutting system, whereby a die is sunk slowly down into the
stone as it cuts it’s way with ultrasonic vibration. (sound
plausible?). Diamond bits could also be used to carve the cavity.
As long as the walls went straight down, you wouldn’t need much
undercut, as the rough texture of the cut stone would give enough
"tooth" to hold the metal in. To inlay the gold, you would aquire
24 karat gold leaf and by packing it down into the cavity, it would
actually weld itself into solid material (I’ve heard dentists used to
fill teeth that way). An alternative would be to make up a mercury
amalgam with gold, and although I actually know how to do that, I
don’t think you’ll want to go that route.

David L. Huffman
David L. Huffman Studios, Inc. in Central NY where we’ve got ours and
everybody else’s snow.


When setting, make sure your 24 gold is thoroughly annealed, that
is, as soft as you can get it. The reason: as you expand the gold
downward into the surrounding stone, this avoids exerting too much
pressure on the side channel, which can crack the stone.

I would recommend something aside from onyx, as 1) onyx can "peel"
and is soft and 2) when you are done, you still have omnx. Usually,
a dense, black nephrite is great (russian, wyoming, australian) for
color contrast.

  • Mark Zirinsky Denver

Mark Zirinsky