I have found white gold rings to be particularly problematic
when sizing or repairing. Especially old gold. Hair line
fractures and breakage seem to be much more prevalent in the white.
Any feedback on this would be much appreciated.
Laverne That is why high grade 18K white gold is no longer on the
open market. If your white gold is done right age has nothing to do
with it. Over heating and burning it is the cause from day one,
This is a copy of a report I wrote up in 2001; people had problems
with the color of white gold and the rhodium cover up used to fool
the customer. This is a very interesting expose covering all that
platinum junk being done as well. Read on and you will know why your
white gold cracks, and platinum too.
I guess nobody likes the truth be known. This is a professional
report; Plating can be controlled by painting nail polish on the
parts that you don’t want to plate before dipping the item into the
Electro plating bath, usually a small beaker the size of a coffee pot
is used. Those brown spots are low voltage electric burns likely from
several rings at a time on the copper hook in the rhodium bath as the
hook is shaken around in the bath to expose all parts to get a good
coating. those burn spots are where the rings shorted out (ouch).
I have been a top jewelry craftsman for 40 years. I know exactly
what you are all going through, and this is the reason the jewelry
business is struggling with this problem. White gold is the poor
man’s platinum look. Money is the problem, it costs too much to use a
good high grade nickel content to be bright on it’s own.
Because we can only re-melt white gold 2 times to be safe as the
nickel inside the white gold becomes very brittle when over heated
and gives lots of problems during fabrication, cracking (referred to
as dry gold) and then there is pin holes, air pockets caused from
over heating where oxygen is left in the metal as it is cast.
Jewelers hate that as they have to block them up to get a job out as
they usually pop out at the last minute when the job is all finished,
and then there is what we call frosting (hundreds of tiny tiny air
holes in groups that leave a dull spot that never can be brought up
to a shinny surface) When casting parts we must use more gold than
necessary then the scraps (trimmings) are used to melt again for
another cast, usually they should try to go half used gold with half
fresh gold that is to help tenderize the mix so as to try to avoid
cracking gold. (Sound familiar)
Why do claws fall off a diamond with hardly any force? Some people
buy old gold and even dump it in to the pot and prey that it works
out. (Not knowing how many times it was melted when it was made say
30 or 40 years ago and then you end up with a patched up mess of a
job) Because the gold was melted too many times or was over heated
right from the start, that makes the gold brittle, I have seen claws
that were holding on by a prayer that I could crack off with my
fingernail. It is a big cover up as they know what the problem is
but can’t afford to use fresh gold every time. The half way effort is
to lower the nickel content to tenderize the gold, hence the
yellowish white gold that has to be rhodium plated to cover it up.
Cartier of Paris started a trend oh 30 years ago where they set
their diamonds in 18K yellow gold trying to convince people that it
was a style, but I knew exactly what the reason was that they started
that. It was to avoid going to white gold, as they didn’t always use
platinum for cost reasons. You see 18K yellow gold is like butter it
never cracks when working with it, it is alloyed with copper and
silver, both very soft malleable metals, The nickel used to alloy
white gold is the same as in stainless steel that is why it is very
hard to work with
The jewelry store sales people would not know anything about this.
Platinum is also a big problem these days as every body is casting
things they shouldn’t be doing, just to follow the trend, a lot of
platinum castings are cracking as the metal was not hot enough when
cast (Platinum is different it cannot be burnt you could sit on it
with a big welding torch for a whole day at over 3,000 degrees and it
would only get more pure and more beautiful, There is also the
problem of people buying old platinum jewelry to get platinum at a
bargain, then sometimes if that was platinum with some
contamination85 then bingo there goes the whole lot when it is mixed
in, and that is another way where you may find cracking appear as
But the shops that are out there are greedy as anybody would be, and
the process to cast items is overloaded by putting too many pieces in
each cast. A good cast should not go over 1 or 1 BD ounces of
platinum to be abl e to blast the hell out of it so it comes out
tender and good to work with. But the society we live in says hey we
could get more in and I’ve known some to go for 3 or 4 ounces at a
time, the result is the temperature at the center of the melt is not
consistent and by the time the metal gets into the cast some parts
are not hot enough, and those parts give trouble such as cracking (we
call it crumbling) Hey it happened to me too “that” is how I know.
Even small amounts like I did if not heated enough cracked and had to
be re processed at a higher heat.
Platinum in it’s real use should be hand wrought to be at it’s best,
but under the pressure of the cost of living short cuts are used. Hey
the same goes for the big carmakers these days a lot of junk is out
there in the name of cost. Now we see that the batteries in the smart
bombs were no good, but were told to pass them in the name of
profits, now there is a case where it looks like that may be the
reason the solders were killed by friendly fire.
Only the rich have the access to the (possibility) of getting the
real thing, if they know the right guy that knows what he is doing
and not just talking. Walk the walk and talk the talk. Hope you
appreciated my effort, but I cannot change the world alone.
Allan Creates Perfectly Fabulous Fit Arthritic Shanks P.O. Box 51 Cote
St-Luc Montreal Quebec Canada Tel: 514-488-7553 Fax: 514-489-7299