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Low-end electrum - color, durability, or warmth?


#1

All,

I want to do something to differentiate my silver castings from other
peoples’ in the area.

Other than expense, would adding 20% gold to my sterling during a
melt to create low-end electrum make any significant difference in
terms of color, durability, or warmth?

Thanks,
Andrew


#2

Andrew,

Other than expense, would adding 20% gold to my sterling during a
melt to create low-end electrum make any significant difference in
terms of color, durability, or warmth? 

I suspect that there won’t be any significant differences. BUT in the
US you cannot call it either silver nor gold. Low end Electrum maybe
but you couldn’t legally tell people what that even is. Less than 10K
and it isn’t gold. 800 silver is getting to the point of being on
really thin ice, Mexican coin coin silver on a good day, maybe.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#3

Check out the link: http://tinyurl.com/dbydoj, they are producing a
line of new alloys similar to electrum.

Richard Hart G.G.
Jewelers Gallery
Denver, Co.


#4
I suspect that there won't be any significant differences. BUT in
the US you cannot call it either silver nor gold. Low end Electrum
maybe but you couldn't legally tell people what that even is. Less
than 10K and it isn't gold. 800 silver is getting to the point of
being on really thin ice, Mexican coin coin silver on a good day,
maybe. 

I guess that leaves me with a few choices then:

  1. Alter the mix slightly so that it becomes a legally recognizeable
    trade name for silver.

  2. Put a tag on every item made of this metal labeled “Metallurgic
    Facts”, with an composition analysis, analogous to the “Nutrition
    Facts” tag on every food item I buy today?

  3. Put a hallmark of it called “EL20” and let people scratch their
    heads and figure it out what it means.

Anything else?
Andrew


#5

Andrew,

  1. Call it silver if over 925, get a trade name and a bigger
    house/boat for your all of your IP lawyers :slight_smile:

  2. In the US you can’t mention the word GOLD if less than 10K, not
    on a label nor even whispered over the counter.

  3. You can stamp whatever you want but not explain (see 2.)

Learn to cast better than the morrons down the street, and charge
more $$$. Fixing a bad casting costs far more than a premium casting
charge. Do good work and people will remember, or they are not worth
dealing with.

Also check the spot prices and do the cost numbers for an alloy
which is legally neither silver nor gold. I haven’t had the pleasure
of US metal cops but at one job in Canada I did (boss picked a good
day to stay away). One miss stamped ring which I re-stamped while
they watched other wise they would have seized and destroyed it on
the spot. A really bad day which will never be forgotten, with your
funny alloy it would have been far worse.

jeffD

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#6
In the US you can't mention the word GOLD if less than 10K, not on
a label nor even whispered over the counter. 

Jeff, I agree you can’t simply refer to it as a type of gold or
silver. But I’d be pretty certain that if you explained exactly what
the whole alloy is, ie “this is an alloy containing 79 percent
silver by weight, 19 percent gold by weight, and 2 percent copper by
weight”… Or a similarly precise and total description of the
alloy, whatever it might be, that you’d not be violating any laws.
You’re describing it as an “alloy containing” rather than calling it
"silver" or “gold” or some version of either. I’m no lawyer, but
that just seems common sense to me… Am I wrong in this?

Peter


#7

Andrew, I’m sure you have thought it through, quality-wise, but do
you realise you are moving from a $15 per ounce casting material to a
$200+ per ounce casting material? Are your customers willing to
absorb a 1,300% increase in materials price for what will look not
much different than what you are using now?

Your manufacturing cost for a 5 gram (the weight of an American
5-cent piece) casting will increase by about $30 at today’s precious
metals prices. I guess if you are doing high-end art pieces
wholesaling for $20 per gram or more, you would do just fine;
otherwise, it would be like Wendy’s adding white truffle and beluga
caviar to it’s burgers to differentiate them from McDonald’s.

Lee Cornelius
Vegas Jewelers


#8
rather than calling it "silver" or "gold" or some version of
either. I'm no lawyer, but that just seems common sense to me... Am
I wrong in this? 

Me neither, Peter, but it’s clear to my knowlege, too. You can CALL
it macaroni if you want to, what you can’t do is stamp it.


#9
Put a hallmark of it called "EL20" and let people scratch their
heads and figure it out what it means. 

This has been somewhat covered, I guess, but the above is the essence
of it… No, you can’t stamp it EL20 (not legally, that is). Unless
it’s 10kt. gold or sterling silver you can’t stamp it, period. You
can make 925 silver and 75 gold and stamp it Sterling, yes. It’s the
law…