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Recycling 14kt white gold


#1

I have been trying to “Recycle” pieces of white gold (prongs, pieces
of shank, earring backs etc.) and remelt them into a billet for
sizing stock. I can do this with yellow gold scrap but when I try it
with the white, I end up with cracks and fissures in the piece when
I roll it out, making it suitable for only 1 thing-a trip to the
refinery. I have tried keeping solder-glopped, or questionable
pieces from the melt, as well as watching the temperature so it
doesn’t boil, but I keep coming up with the same problem. All in all,
I feel the time I have wasted would have been better spent, just
calling up the supplier and ordering the piece in the size I needed
in the first place.

Has anyone else encountered and mastered this roadblock?

Thanks
Timothy Goodwin
Glenn’s Jewelry and Loan
Colorado Springs, CO


#2

There are a whole host of issues with re-melting white gold alloys.
If you have 14k white from different sources then you will most
likely have different alloy compositions. Then the nickel makes for
a problem called fire cracking that seems to get worse every time you
melt the stuff. Investment, solder and other contaminants make it
even worse. Unless you have very strict cleanliness procedures in
place and a single source alloy you may be best off with just
refining it.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#3

There are a whole host of issues with re-melting white gold alloys.
If you have 14k white from different sources then you will most
likely have different alloy compositions. Then the nickel makes for
a problem called fire cracking that seems to get worse every time you
melt the stuff. Investment, solder and other contaminants make it
even worse. Unless you have very strict cleanliness procedures in
place and a single source alloy you may be best off with just
refining it.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#4

Hi Timothy;

I end up with cracks and fissures in the piece when I roll it out,
making it suitable for only 1 thing-a trip to the refinery. 

I don’t even try making stock out of old white gold. Most of the
time you get cracks. In fact, I usually don’t even try making white
gold stock out of new casting grain. Pain in the you-know-what. If
I’ve got some kind of unusual alloy of white and need a piece of
stock (which is rare), I will cast a piece of wax sprue wire. From
that configuration, it’s a little easier to roll it out or draw it.
Any more, I find it’s not really a savings to make any kind of stock,
wire, sheet, etc., since I can get better returns on my time doing
other things. FYI, there’s an additive called “Magic Cast” which you
can add to yellow gold which will freshen up the color,
maleability/ductility and casting characteristics of yellow gold. It
drops the karat a bit, so you need to add a bit of 24K also, but it
really works. I’ve gotten nice castings even using customer’s old
chains. Too bad there’s nothing like that for white.

David L. Huffman


#5

Hello,

your problem is depending on what kind of white gold you are
processing.

White gold made out of nickel will do this. Nickel is very brittle
and causes cracks when you work with it. You can anneal it and let it
air cooled but it will workharden very fast.

Have it refinned and go for palladium. You will be amazed how
beautifull this works.

Best regards


#6
All in all, I feel the time I have wasted would have been better
spent, just calling up the supplier and ordering the piece in the
size I needed in the first place. 

Right! Your time is more valuable than the small anticipated
savings. That aside there is also an ethics question. Is your
customer, be it new sales or repairs, entitled to virgin stock
particularly if you are planning on charging full price for the
sizing?

There is no ‘right answer’. But I’ll refer you to my First Rule of
Retail…always work to your customer’s best interest. In the long
run your own best interest is to cater to your clients’ best
interests.

I will however, concede that in some markets its so dog eat dog that
a few pennies on each job might be make or break. Ughhh, what a way
to live.


#7
I don't even try making stock out of old white gold. Most of the
time you get cracks. In fact, I usually don't even try making
white gold stock out of new casting grain. 

Whenever the subject of white gold and the horrors inherent, I
recommend David Fell’s Winter White alloy. First mentioned by Andy
Cooperman, I have used this alloy for over 5 years and it is easy to
cast or fabricate with. I do not have problems with cracking when
rolling and the cast metal is malleable.

Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised when I anticipate having a
problem, and everything goes smoothly. I recently poured a wire
ingot, rolled out bezel for a customers triplet opal, and had someone
less experienced doing gold work than I am fabricate the bezel. The
bail was fabricated as well. The piece came together easily, the opal
was set without incident.

I seem to be of the opinion that if you try it you will like it, more
than any other white gold, and it does not have to be rhodium plated.

Do not think about mixing it with scrap white gold. You will end up
with crap.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#8
don't even try making stock out of old white gold. Most of the time
you get cracks. In fact, I usually don't even try making white gold
stock out of new casting grain. Pain in the you-know-what 

this is because you need to use an alloy designed for rolling i use
the 100nd from pmwest and i dont get cracks i also cast with the
100nd rolling alloy and it makes beadand channel setting easy, like i
am working w/18KT yellow, when you cast you have to use ransom and
randolp investment for white gold and the paragon computer controlled
kiln from armstrong tool set at 850 degrees post burnout and an
electro melt set to 1809 degrees to control the temp spike but you
have to sprue to the opposite side of rings because the low temps to
avoid porosity dont always allow the white gold to go to the whole
casting - best regards goo


#9

Yea,

I’m always thinking of the customer, as well as my future sanity,
after all I feel a corner cut now is one I may need to “Stand on” in
the future. There’s nothing more maddening to me (except rock-hard
brittle shanks that don’t want to bend.) than polishing a ring and
discovering a pit from solder or porosity, let alone the thought that
I might have done something to cause it. I only have so much hair
left!


#10

Hi Richard and Everybody,

As Richard wrote, I really like the DHF Winter White. I use it for
casting, rolling, forging and fabricating. It’s still more finicky
than yellow alloys but it is hands down the best nickel white that
I’ve used.

I still continue to quench at black heat (800 F) in denatured
alcohol. This relatively slow and gentle quench doesn’t seem to
shock the metal.

One more thing: there are easier to use nickel whites out there but
Winter White is whiter to my eyes. The others are light/pale yellow.

Happy Holidays, Andy


#11

I have always melted scrap (no solder, of course) from Rio’s 14K
white nickel as well as their 14K palladium white. If I do proper
rolling, I don’t get cracks. This is what I call ‘proper rolling’:

  1. Cast an ingot like a pencil i.e., long, thin, squarish/roundish.

  2. Whatever surface is the top face of the ingot (where any ‘bad
    stuff’ in the pour collects), mark it with a file and don’t let that
    surface become the surface of the sheet or wire you are making.
    Rather, it should end up as the edge of the sheet or the tip of the
    wire, either of which is easily removed.

Clarification: If you cast a horizontal ‘pencil’, the marked surface
will run down its length; if you cast a vertical ingot, it will be
the top end/tip.

Janet in Jerusalem