Many goldsmiths think making your own stock is a complete waste of
time, but I have been making my own for years, and you might want to
consider some of its advantages.
I find that the metals I use the most in my custom work are 18K and
14K yellow, and 14K white, as well as sterling silver. I exclusively
use alloys from David Fell Co. (located here in CA.), and highly
recommend them. I buy a beautiful deep yellow_ rolling_ alloy for
14K and one for 18K, and I buy a soft _rolling_ alloy for 14Kwhite
gold. I never ever buy casting alloys, because although they will
cast nicely, they will not roll or draw into stock.
As far as white gold is concerned, if you want it really white, why
would you want to put more (yellow) gold into it?? Make it 14K, and
with a good soft alloy like the one I use, it is so white, I don't
need to rhodium plate the finished work, which is easier to produce
and polish again later if needed. To my way of thinking, I see
absolutely no good reason to go to a higher carat white gold when
the visual attributes of gold ( the rich yellow color) will not be
seen. Gem setting should not be an issue with the 14K soft white
rolling alloy, as it is sufficiently easy to move with gravers or
If you have a combination ingot mold, small melting dishes for
white gold, yellow gold, and another for silver, as well as a
rolling mill and a few drawplates, you can easily and quickly make
your own stock. An accurate scale is important, as well. It just
really isn't that hard to do, if you learn how to do it. In fact,
when you get proficient at it, you should be able to alloy and roll
out the stock you need within the length of time it will take you to
locate the catalog, find the right page, figure out the min. order,
call the order dept., and place the order. Plan on being put on
hold while you are placing your order. I'm not even talking about
the time you will wait for the order to arrive. Call me impatient.
I enjoy the idea that with a few bags of 18K and 14K yellow alloy,
perhaps a nice 14K rose, and one of 14K soft white alloy, all I
need is 24K gold, and I am ready to create whatever I need for the
order at hand, and I have very little left-over stock, as it is
remelted into the new stock I am making.
Yeah, I'm one of those dinosaurs who like to make my own stock, but
with all the different shapes of stock I use, specific to each job I
am working on, I simply can't find what I need in catalogs. If I
need large sheets of silver or findings, I'll order those, but it's
faster, easier, and cheaper for me to make what I need as I need
If this helps inspires a discussion on the relative advantages or
disadvantages of stock making, then that's great!
---Jay Whaley UCSD Craft Center
Jay has made a believer out of me. I originally bought reticulation
silver. No more! I take a pure silver coin and to the ounce add .
copper, melt and mold, roll out and flame. I love it! No waiting for
a shipment to arrive.
Works for me.