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Inlaying silver in gold and vice versa


#1

Hello all,

I am working on a project where I plan to engrave a floral design
into a gold band, and wanted to fill the engraving w/ silver. Not
being a jeweler, I only have what I know to go on. I thought I’d
flow solder into the engraving, then sand/polish the rest of it back
off. This seems labor intensive to me though, so I thought I’d ask
if there was an easier way. I was going to practice the technique by
making a matching ring of fine silver with gold in the engraved
areas.

Thoughts?
David


#2

G’day; My suggestion is that you do the engraving fairly deeply then
have the ring fairly heavily silver plated. The non required silver
plating would be abraded off and the revealed gold carefully
polished, leaving the engraving silver.

Cheers for now,
John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ


#3

David, I think you may be VERY disappointed with the results of the
inlay ring. The colors of the metals will not be what you expect in
contrast. You would have to use pure silver, and very high carat
gold to have it seen, providing that the carving is wide enough to
show at all.

My answer is based upon my own effort to do the same thing… and the
gold solder was swallowed up, in this case, into the middle of the
two layers that I laminated… having sawed out the name of my nephew
on one thickness which was then applied to the other, and gold
solder put into the void. It took LOADS of solder, and in the end,
didn’t really show up. Would never do that again! I am, however,
glad that I did it once, to know not to do it again… Nothing teaches
like experience!!

Happy designing! Frif…


#4

David and All, The problem with this project lies in the inherent
properties of the metals - gold and silver. They are mutually
soluble, especially at melting temps or close. However, it is not
impossible. Kuem-boo is a process that could be made to work,
utilizing this property. John Burgess’s suggestion of plating is
do-able but only if the plating is very thick or if a barrier plate is
laid down first (copper - nickel) to stop molecular migration through
the plated metal. A thin plating of gold over silver will eventually
disappear even if there no wear to blame it on. This is the gold
dissolving into the silver. (yes, this happens at room temp.) To
attempt to inlay silver and gold into each other with heat will not
work because as the melting point of the eutectic alloy of Au-Ag. As
it is approached the solubility is greatly increased. One just
disappears into the other. This process does work (as far as I know)
on gold melt-inlayed into platinum. The very high melting point of
platinum and the relative insolubility makes it possible. As far as
the color contrast is concerned, gold and silver have plenty. The
lack of contrast you saw, Frif, is also due to the solubility
problem. Essentially, what you ended up with was Electrum (50-50
gold-silver alloy) inlayed into silver - not much contrast there!
Gold can be inlayed into silver by mechanical means. (hammer inlay -
but that is another process and would require some design
modifications from the original post.) HTH, Mark

Mark Thomas Ruby
SunSpirit Designs
Loveland, CO
970 669-7075


#5

Can you just solder the gold onto the silver and then run the piece
through a rolling mill to embed the one into the other? I have done
some gold into silver this way.