I too, felt intimidated by all the technical expertise on this
Orchid forum, but everyone has something to contribute, no matter
what your experience level.
Regarding alloying your own metal, I wholeheartedly endorse the
idea. I do it all the time in my studio, and teach my students to do
the same. It is not rocket science, by any means, if you have a
calculator and an accurate scale. If you have a supply of pure silver
and 24K gold, and assorted alloys, you can make as much (or as
little) of a specific amount of any carat and color of gold, or
sterling silver, with which to cast or fabricate. Lots of advantages.
What you will need to consider is the type of alloys you use.
Basically, there are 2 types of alloy. One is for casting, but
generally, in my experience, it doesn't roll or draw well. The
"rolling" alloy is designed for rolling and drawing, and it casts
well, too. So I only buy the rolling alloy, so I can do everything
with it. If you are determined to just buy the casting grain, I would
check to make sure it is an easy working alloy, if you do decide to
pour an ingot and make your own wire, as an example. I once cast a
ring in a gold "casting" alloy, and the metal was so tough, my stone
setter couldn't raise beads in the metal to set diamonds...
---Jay Whaley UCSD Craft Center