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Palladium White Gold Survey


#1

I’m gathering for a series of articles on white golds.
Could a few of you who have cast and or fabricated in palladium white
gold share some experiences with me? This will be shared
at a variety of sources including Ganoksin of course. I’m also trying
to get a consensus on Pd white gold shortcomings and the common
workarounds. For instance some folks use high Pd mixes and resort to
special investments. Others say they use the same old stuff. Many are
not sure how much Palladium is in the metals they buy so some of this
is not clear. What makes the difference? Is it just the temperatures
or is some subtler factor in play. If I can I am going to clear up a
bunch of these issues and publish. So, no secrets just share what you
can. Thanks you all.

Daniel Ballard
WWW.Pmwest.us


#2

Hi Daniel, I use two palladium white alloys. Both are 14k.

The alloy from AAA metals in Portland, OR is a “low” palladium
alloy. It melts higher than 14k nickel white and is very close in
color to a “super white” nickel. It forges, solders and welds
beautifully. It may or may not have nickel in it (I don’t sell in
Europe), but I believe contains Ag. I also believe that it is made by
United Precious Metals.

David H Fell in CA sells a palladium white that is quite different.
It is a so called “high” palladium white. It melts at a noticeably
higher temp than AAA’s pw and is much “gummier” to file etc. (More
palladium) Welds very nicely, solders, etc. The color falls somewhere
between gun metal gray and brownish (perhaps the “brown gold” from
several threads ago).

I do not cast either of these metals. I tried many years ago to
cast the AAA alloy, but after partial fills and porosity I gave up.
Most of my work is forged and fabricated these days anyway.

I’m not sure how all these metals hold up in the long run. I have
always assumed that the palladium whites were great setting metals–
which they are during the act of setting. It seemed that they acted
like platinum in that they were more likely to deform, compact and
"densify" rather than wear away. But I have seen considerable wear
on large diamond bezels that I have made using this metal though.
(To be fair, all big, prominent bezels/ tube settings look a bit beat
down over time…) I start with quite hefty bezel walls of .7mm to
1mm.

I hope that this helps. I look forward to reading others’ feed
back.

Andy Cooperman


#3

Hi Daniel;

I have bought PdW gold from a couple of sources and find it a dream
to fabricate no matter where I’ve gotten it. Although I normally
use 18K exclusively, I have switched to 14K PdW for the whiter
color, especially to enhance the color contrast when producing a
two-tone piece. My only complaint with PdW of either karat is the
color match of the solder, which ranges from bad to worse.

Linda in MA, looking forward the Orchid gathering today


#4

Hello Daniel;

I’ve done several castings using Stuller’s palladium white alloy,
alloying it myself with 24K grain. It’s difficult to get it to melt
and mix with the gold, but I’ve gotten it to work. I’m vacuum assist
casting and find I have to use much heavier and elaborate sprueing to
get the mold to fill, and need to cast at a higher flask temperature,
around 1000 F. Since I’ve done this with conventional investment,
I’ve gotten a somewhat grainy surface where it appears there’s been
some reaction of the palladium with the investment, but it’s not deep
and although porosity is there sometimes, its minimal. If I find a
pit or two, I grind out the area and fuse a bit of metal into it to
fill it. I’ve only used this where I’ve have to use heavy prongs on
expensive, fragile stones, but I do a lot of classical bead setting
on antique filigree mountings where the original stone has been cut
out, and it’s great for that and other types of thread setting. I’ve
made my own stock and solder the plate on after grinding away the old
plate. I’ve also used palladium white gold for customers with nickel
sensitivity. The color isn’t as white as 14K nickel white, but it’s
not bad. I rhodium plate the bright cutting, but seldom wish to
plate an entire article since it means a customer will be back for
subsequent re-plating, ad infintum. I spoke with you on the phone
once when I found Rio discontinued their QuickVest high temp casting
investment, but not having a DVD player, I haven’t seen the DVD you
sent me about your investment options. SuperVest, was it? I really
don’t wish to have to go through the business of casting with
conventional platinum investment, with the paper towel routine and
the “wicking off” bit. I’d love to continue using palladium, but I
refrain when I have the option to use nickel white because the
palladium alloy is expensive and the difficulties of casting it mount
up, but for the thread work and bead setting, it’s the way to go, as
long as you don’t mind taking out the pen plater once and a while.
It’s more or less traditional to plate that kind of setting work
anyway, at least from my background.

David L. Huffman


#5

Hi Linda,

For a very hard solder with a good color match melt some of your Pd
white gold and add 5% fine silver by weight, roll or draw it to the
appropriate size and use this as your solder. The only draw back is
it is not plumb solder so you have to watch the amount of the solder
in a piece and possibly over karat your bulk metal slightly if you
are needing to conform to strict quality marking laws. But it is a
very ductile and workable solder with as good a color match as you
can get in any other alloy system

Jim Binnion

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160


@James_Binnion
Member of the Better Business Bureau


#6

My experience with palladium white golds has been positive, overall.
I have used DH Fell’s alloy, and I like it. Handles much like
platinum or maybe 18Y. Great for bezels. Steely white color.
Rio’s alloy seems more like a standard white gold in color, very
slightly warm, and not quite as malleable as Fell’s. I usually use
19WW solder for my initial soldering.

-BK in AK