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Red Gold Problems for the Forum

I am looking for some advice. I am a novice to the jewellery
profession and have just received my first red gold commission. It is
to make an old Portuguese rose gold wedding band one size larger
(sizing). It had no stamp but from the weight seems like 18k.

I tried hammering it bigger but a tiny pit appeared in the join So I
realised I would have to size it properly, which I had wanted to avoid
because of colour variations. I couldn’t purchase any 18k red soldier
(apparently it doesn’t exist?) so tried so 9k red soldier. Well, the
ring was fine but the joint warped, bulged and pitted.

In desperation, I was then advised to size it, with the small piece of
new red gold, using 18k medium yellow soldier and use a porosity
hammer to burnish the pink gold over the two yellow soldier joins.

What is a porosity hammer? The ring is half round, surely I will file
or polish all the burnishing off? in my final clean up.

Then I tried to smelt the newly bought 18k red gold (I decided that I
would have to try 18k) for the little filler piece in the sizing. It
smelted really quickly and when I tried rolling it through my mill, it
cracked fairly shortly into the whole process. Time and time again.

I am at my wits end, as the same rules that seem to apply to white
and yellow gold don’t appear to work here.

My crucible is clean. My mould is clean/ I dont over heat the melt. I
anneal painfully regularly. (perhaps too much / too hot?) The pressure
I apply when making my passes through the mill increases only
fractionally.(what is a good percentage between anneals?)

I am now in the situation wheRe: I am not sure what karat I am even
dealing with; the ring is still not sized bigger; the previously
perfect soldier join has created a large moonscape; the new red gold
for the sizing won’t even allow me to roll it into a manageable strip;
Even if I could, I would have to soldier it with yellow soldier
leaving two yellow stripes and I have been advised to use a hammer I
have never heard of, in a manner I am not at all familiar with. And the
wedding day is fast approaching and the starved bride is is very
cranky about this sentimental old ring. Which still has to be engraved
and that apparently takes a week.

Does anyone have any advice on how I should treat this ring, and what
such a hammer looks like. Is this normal?

Thank you


Hi, You can get 18k pink gold solder at Hoover and Strong. Hope this


Caroline, Stullere, (800-877-7777), lists a 14K Red Easy solder, flow
point 1350F, on page 18 of their metals book.



I have purchase 14K and 18K Rose Gold Sheet, wire and Solders from

Hoover and Strong. (804) 794-3700.

I also purchased 14K Pink Easy solder from Swest 1-800-527-5057. But

I haven’t used the Easy solder yet.

Hauser and Miller also carries rose gold. Their formulation is

different from Hoover and Miller, so is the color.

My (limited) experience with Rose gold is that it is more difficult

to solder than yellow gold. One of my rose gold solder joints frayed
like lace when I rounded up the ring. So I sent it to a friend with
more experience than me because it had to be sized and welded. He said
the hard solder was very hard and didn’t want to flow. One half round
rose gold ring started to reticulate and melt before the solder
flowed. The other one came out perfect. I soldered all 3 with hard

Maybe the answer lies in the welding v. soldering process. Can

anyone help with that question.


Hello Caroline,

I’m sure that you will get several responses to your questions.

    What is a porosity hammer? The ring is half round, surely I
will file or polish all the burnishing off? in my final clean up. 

Also known as a margin roller. You can use a screw eye of about 3/8"
outside diameter. Chuck it in your flex shaft and spin as a medium to
high speed. Bring the outside sedge against the metal and it will have
in effect a high speed power hammer/burnished.

    Then I tried to smelt the newly bought 18k red gold (I decided
that I would have to try 18k) for the little filler piece in the
sizing. It smelted really quickly and when I tried rolling it
through my mill, it cracked fairly shortly into the whole process.
Time and time again. 

A common problem with 18k red gold. There have been a few threads on
this. You will find them in the archive. I think you need to quench it
before the red fades, but I’m not sure.

For solder, you can make your own. Just add a small amount of silver
to some of the 18k red and you should get a good match. I have done
this with 14k red in a pinch.


TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
e-mail: @Timothy_A_Hansen

What is a porosity hammer? 

I hadn’t heard of the screw eye but that is just a different version.
A friend of mine uses a bent nail. Just a common nail with the head
cut off, the end polished out, and then bent at about 10 degrees or
so. I have a tool I’ve had for years called a porosity killer. It
is basically just a square steel piece, about 5/8" square and 1/8"
thick with rounded corners and a center hole to allow mounting on a
mandrel. My friend’s tool whacks the target once a revolution, the
screw eye get it twice,mine gets it four times. A recent tip on one
of the magazines suggested using a piece of Allen wrench which is
polished for bezel settings. This is the same idea but with this, the
metal gets whacked six times per rev. With more steps per rev, the
more gentle it becomes.



Well why don’t you mix a little of the rose gold and some easy solder
and then roll out for your solder joint. Your making to big of a deal
of everything. Your almost there. When you do your sizing deal, are
you making a bar out of it or rod first? All outer edges of metal
need to be smacked to compress the molecular structure or you will get
cracking. Always roll in same direction and go for it when you crank
down the amount you want to reduce when rolling. I used to tease my
metal down and used to get tons of cracks. Now I compress it as much
as I can of coarse it is very ennealed. You can take big hammers and
beat the shit out of the metal too… Be mean to it. I use nothing but
18k and higher. I’ve done tons of it. Be mean. If it gives you too
much grief on the first roll then maybe it wasn’t resting gently
enough when cooling or melted enough or it has solder in it
and contaminated …

Hi Caroline: First off, older red gold alloys can be tempermental
indeed. You can get a pretty good rose or red gold solder from
Stuller Settings ( You can also get some
configurations of rose gold stock from them. If I were you, I’d cut
out the offending section entirely, well outside the solder joints,
and start over by fitting a new piece of stock sufficient in width
and thickness to be finished down to match the existing shank. Now
to the perticulars of rose gold:

  1. anneal the ring, if you can (assuming there are not heat sensitive

  2. gently twist it up the mandrel slightly past the size you are
    seeking, so that when it springs back, it fits without tension where
    you want it to be. If the ring is putting pressure on the sizing
    piece, since the temperature of the solder is relatively high to the
    older alloys, you will have the ends of the ring smoosh up before the
    solder flows.

  3. use a paste type flux, since the liquid self pickling types can’t
    seem to absorb the oxides of the high copper content rose gold
    quickly enough before they’re maxxed out.

  4. you can melt together a chip of rose solder and a chip of yellow
    "ultra easy" solder to lower the melting temperature of the rose
    solder without ending up with a color that is too far off.

  5. be sure to heat a ways down the shank, as these copper/gold alloys
    are better conductors than most yellow alloys and you’ll overheat the
    joint and solder while the shank is sucking away heat.

  6. try not to have to hammer too much on the joint, so as not to
    imbrittle it and start a crack.

  7. if you have porosity, you can use a hammer hand piece to burnish
    it down. The “porosity hammer” you’ve been told about is probably a
    reference to a old trick of taking a worn out bur, cutting off the
    business end, bending the last 1/8th inch at a right angle, and
    polishing the bent out tip of the little “L” to a mirror finish.
    This gizmo is then put in your handpiece and the little end of the
    "L" whips around, this being brought to bear on surface of the metal
    wherein it pounds away, smearing closed the little pits.

Good Luck,
David L. Huffman

hello Caroline,

You have what I see a difficult problem. If the band is cast . Than
the gold alloy is of a bad quality, this is to see in the joint where
pits occur. If you do not have to enlarge much ,try the last bit with
hammering. The pits you can drill out and melt some solder in it.

If all kind of bubbles and pit occur during soldering this can be due
to micro cracks and boiling out dirt. Or in the solder is a lot of
cadmium used, This you can be over heated easy, and evaporate. You
will be left with bad melting lumps of solder. It is important to cover
very good. Lot of borax.

I had ones red gold solder with should be soft, but did not melt. the
whole ring starts to melt but not the solder. I have send the solder
back to the supplier for investigation. And I was right. it would not
meld due to included oxides in the solder.

Normally what I found is that red and rose gold is very ductile. you
should ad a lot of borax and sugar on top. It seem you have oxidized
your melt. Copper oxides created high tensions and micro cracks. also
raise the melting point. Always use blue point of the propane burner
(more reducing than the inside and edges of the flame) Or when you use
a gas, oxygen burner use an overdose of gas. Alos never dump it hot
into pickle, it cools to fast. Also gold copper alloys are sensitive
for crystal grow. You should head up very short to dull red. and with
higher carats a certain amount of pre tension should be brought in.
10-25% this will help if you anneal to brake larger crystals into
smaller ones.

But if you need only some to fill up a ring. Something like 3 to 4
mm. Just melt 1 gram on a stone with borax. like a drop. maybe add
a little piece of zinc to it (0.05 gram) . this you can melt in and
burn out and is used than as a deoxidizer. you will see the borax gets
brown black . now let drop cool. Pickle it. Hammer this a bit flat and
file the two necessary ends flat. Solder this small piece in the
ring. Reshape the extending insert with a file etc. when you do it
like this it is not important if the gold is of a good quality.

I can advice more but than I need more details

good luck,

Martin Niemeijer

    I hadn't heard of the screw eye but that is just a different

There is an added bonus with the screw eye as a porosity hammer. You
can see your work right through the center of the screw eye as it