Many of the new, red gold commercial production rings I've seen
lately have porosity in their shanks. Is this typical of modern
red gold pieces or just a coincidence?
I've had pretty good luck with the red gold pieces I've cast so I
wouldn't say it's typical, but it's not unusual. The high copper
content definitely makes it a more difficult alloy to work with,
harder to cast and harder to solder. I know some people who refuse
to work with it. I prefer not to but will use it when someone asks.
It's just weird to use a gold alloy that oxidizes, it's tough to
solder with hard red solder because of that. Another weird thing is
that 18K red must be quenched. I remember someone heating up an 18k
band, setting it on a soldering block to air cool and as it cooled
you could hear it pinging as it cracked. When it was cool it was
covered with tiny fracture lines. It was a bummer, but also a
learning experience. I try to use medium pinks, like Hoover and
Strong's Peach Gold rather than true reds because they behave more
like the yellow gold alloys plus they are usually red enough to
please the customer.