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Mixing gold and platinum


#1

Was mis-used jewelry terms, let’s open it up…

I am not certain if this is aimed at me but since you quoted one
of my posts 

No, Jim, there was another comment, way back. And thank you…

gold soldering 19 itsy pieces of PT to make a threestoner, 

Bingo. I’ll say, since people here don’t know things unless you tell
the m, that I have actually been trained in platinum. Worked in a
platinum shop (factory) with platinum people making platinum jewelry
the way platinum is made. That doesn’t make me special, just trained

  • not guessing.

Throughout the past discussion, I’ve been sitting here wondering,
"Why are demonstrably intelligent people disputing a matter that is
platinum 101 - ‘If you don’t know this then you need to learn it’?"
Then Tom Arnold (certainly demonstrably intelligent) and some of what
Jim (ditto) said gave me a clue - they talked about gold.

To use Neil’s example above if you build a platinum piece with gold
(gold family) solder you’re going to have nothing but trouble, and
that trouble will follow the piece everywhere. My comments on that
topic were about platinum, not gold.

When you talk about mixing gold and platinum you have an entirely
different beast - and Neil is correct - I talked about gold soldering
a diamond ring, because diamonds can’t handle platinum heat. When I
realized what is largely just crossed lines of commucation, last
night, I looked down at my wedding band, which is a platinum center
band with two 18 kt. trim pieces.

I’ve worn it everyday for 20 years…

Now, I have witnessed platinum bands soldered together with gold
solder that just cleaved and broke apart upon being hit on a ring
mandrel. But when you have gold and platinum you have two things:
First, you don’t have a choice, and second the solder is made for
the gold to begin with. Jim knows, and others probably have figured
out, that I am a pragmatist - I leave it to him to try to figure out
and explain the why’s of it, all I want to know is what works and
what doesn’t. I’m smart enough to find out, I just don’t want to…

Everybody knows that soft solder, like Tix, has no strength on
silver, but if you were to sweat solder two pieces of silver
together with it, it would be strong enough at least to make a point.
And to some degree the same is true on my wedding ring - maybe the
bond isn’t terribly strong, but being soldered all around gives it
plenty of area to hold. And the fact that one of the metals is gold
is terribly significant.

So, just a discussion - perhaps I’ve been a bit cantankerous but I’ll
tell you - we all have pet peeves and one of mine is people who work
platinum as though it were gold. Then it gets dumped on me to
fix…About the only thing platinum has in common with silver work
is that they are both metals, and goldsmithing has more in common but
not that much more. So, when somebody tells me that they want to use
gold solder in platinum construction because (if it’s because) they
just don’t know how to properly work the stuff - well, the hairs on
the back of my neck just start prickling and I can get a little
short…


#2
we all have pet peeves and one of mine is people who work platinum
as though it were gold. Then it gets dumped on me to fix.... 

Think about it as job security. Those folks are adding to your
customer base, and sometimes, repairing other peoples screw ups can
make you more money per hour than some “original” jobs… As Mr.
Geller points out, repair is trust sensative, not price sensative, so
when someone finds out that their original source couldn’t be
trusted, and they find you and realize you CAN be trusted to do it
right, well, that’s not a bad thing. And as we all get older, that
whole bit about loosing hair over difficult repair jobs that
shouldn’t have been needed in the first place becomes less an issue.
No hair left…

About the only thing platinum has in common with silver work is
that they are both metals, 

Oh, I think you can find more in common than that. The differences
in working are significant and important to success, but sometimes
subtle. Different rules, but the same underlying principals and for
the most part, the same sorts of tools and processes…

and goldsmithing has more in common but not that much more. So,
when somebody tells me that they want to use gold solder in
platinum construction because (if it's because) they just don't
know how to properly work the stuff - well, the hairs on the back
of my neck just start prickling and I can get a little short....... 

Like I said. Job security. Or a teaching opportunity. That’s also a
good thing. Every one of us owes our knowledge in part to the
generosity of those who helped us learn our skills. We have, I think,
a certain obligation to “pay it forward”. Those beginners, not
knowing any better now, will some day be the ones remembering those
who helped them become tomorrows experts.

Cheers
Peter


#3
To use Neil's example above if you build a platinum piece with
gold (gold family) solder you're going to have nothing but trouble,
and that trouble will follow the piece everywhere. My comments on
that topic were about platinum, not gold. 

I am in complete agreement here. Gold solders, silver and in fact
some so called platinum solders should not be used for straight
platinum fabrication. Once you start talking about repair work all
bets are off and you do what you must and try to do the best you can
within the constraints of the clients desires, and budget along with
the practicality of and your willingness to rebuild the item.

When you talk about mixing gold and platinum you have an entirely
different beast - and Neil is correct - I talked about gold
soldering a diamond ring, because diamonds can't handle platinum
heat. When I realized what is largely just crossed lines of
commucation, last night, I looked down at my wedding band, which is
a platinum center band with two 18 kt. trim pieces. 

My comments were primarily aimed at mixed metal fabrication as that
is what I do day in day out, so crossed lines indeed. There are
solders / techniques to make mixed platinum and other metal joints
work and also some that are just about guaranteed to fail.

Regards
Jim

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#4

Hi all

I followed this post with interest and would like to add my 2 cents
to it. There are some rules to this game: The lowest temperature
metal in a piece determines the highest temperature solder to be
used.

When assembling a piece that is all platinum, I recommend (in this
order) Laser, Welding, Soldering. When building structure, Pt hard;
when building add ons, Pt med and when adding components, Pt easy. I
prefer the so called "Plumb solders "as they have high Pt content.
Traditional solders used for platinum contain very little platinum
and that only in the 1500 to 1700 C range. This is done without flux
of any kind.

Now when adding gold components to Pt, then it becomes a gold
project. No longer a platinum project, but a gold project. This means
flux, gold solder, fire coat etc. The gold solder needs to have flux
to guarantee flow and the gold component needs fire coat to prevent
fire scale and oxidation.

It is never a good idea to assemble a platinum project with gold
solder. I agree with Jim Binnion that one is setting oneself up for
failure.

However to add a component or do a repair near a diamond one has but
three choices.

1- use a laser
2-use gold solder
3-remove the stone and use Pt solders

Because Pt has no tolerance for purity standards i.e. 950 -0 ( in
gold there are three parts per 1000 allowed for soldering and seven
parts per 1000 at solder seams, Pt has no such provision) For this
reason, Pt 950 alloys are actually Pt952 alloys, with the two parts
per 1000 additional Pt in the mix to allow for solders with out Pt
content.

The best way to make a gold component stick to a Pt component is to
make a small divot in the platinum, melt the gold solder into it.
Then hold the gold piece in position and re flow the solder,
transferring it over and make a good seam.

Hope that helps
kind regards

Jurgen J. Maerz, CMBJ
Director of Technical Education
www.platinumguild.com


#5
However to add a component or do a repair near a diamond one has
but three choices. 
1- use a laser
2-use gold solder
3-remove the stone and use Pt solders

Let’s not forget condenser discharge welders and TIG welders.


#6
factor in that for a strong join you're likely to need filler wire
and that has to fit somewhere. When things are tight together
lasering brings a risk too, miss by a quarter mm and you may burn a
stone. 

With stones other than diamond, yes. But diamond can take a certain
amount of laser energy, just as it can take torch heating. A
predictable amount. So you figure out the maximum power settings on
your laser that you can use around diamond, and stay below that. If
you’ve got trouble getting good welds at those power levels, use
smaller filler wire. With practice, lasering around white/near white
diamonds is pretty routine and possible without damaging the
diamonds. The big risk I’ve found, other than highly included stones
that can’t take laser, and probably won’t take any other heat either,
is if working around diamonds which are set so they’re not drilled
through underneath. You can get some black “smoke” on the metal or
the stone under the diamond, and if not drilled through, that can be
difficult to impossible to remove. Again, lower power settings, and
making sure everything is very clean first, are the ways to avoid
most such problems with a laser when working with platinum. The
problems I’ve had with the laser around diamonds generally have been
with stones set in yellow gold, especially higher karat yellow gold.
That metal often requires higher power settings than does
easy-to-weld platinum, so then you’re running more of a risk.

Peter