Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Rose gold solder and cadmium


#1

I am considering using Rose gold in some of my jewellery pieces

I was creating a 14 kt Pink Gold order with Rio Grande and could not
find any Pink (Rose) gold solder. Note that Rio calls their Rose Gold

  • Pink Gold

Rio has a note on their website stating that they do not stock Rose
Gold solder because it contains cadmium.

Link to Rio Grande comment on Rose Gold Solder

One of Rio’s suggestions is to use yellow gold solder sparingly and
hope that the yellow solder colour does not show much

This is could be a reasonable answer for me as I will be working
primarily with 16 and 18 Ga rose gold wire, so the solder seams will
be very small.

Does anyone know of sources of 14 kt Rose Gold solder that do not
contain cadmium

Alternatively, any suggestions on how to get around this problem

Regards
Milt


#2

Hello Milt

David H. Fell & Co. Inc. stocks red solder sheet in all karats and
repair solder as well. Please see our website,
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep827e and call for a quote.

Thank You
Ken Babayan
dhfco.com


#3
Does anyone know of sources of 14 kt Rose Gold solder that do not
contain cadmium 

It turns out to be quite difficult to make a solder that retains the
rose gold color because you’re starting with a high copper alloy, and
needing to then add something to lower the melting point. The things
you’d add, like zinc, silver, cadmium, all rather quickly bleach out
the rose color, leaving it a yellow gold color instead of rose.
Cadmium is used because it does this less, perhaps because it doesn’t
take as much to lower the melting point enough. Even so, the rose
gold solders I’ve seen are all “hard” solders. They tend to be
somewhat “sludgy” to flow, and not that easy to use. Even they don’t
have perfect color match. Perhaps the best solution is to use another
technology, like a pulse arc or laser welder, since then you weld
with the same alloy you’re working with. But those are not
inexpensive options. The other way is to cast your items in one piece
so they don’t require soldering. Or place the joints such that the
color difference from just using yellow gold solders, but used
carefully so as little as possible is used, is not that visible. If
you work neatly so the solder stays in the tightly fitted clean
joints, and the seams are set so as to be at a fold or crease or
something, instead of just a line right across an otherwise flat
surface, then you may find the color differences not objectionable.
You might also try some of the easy white gold solders. I’ve found
that sometimes the colorless white solder lines are less obvious than
the brighter yellow colors from yellow gold solders, especially with
18K. It varies with solder types though. Some are very white, and
those show up, while the ones that are not as bright white color can
be an acceptable color against the rose.


#4
Does anyone know of sources of 14 kt Rose Gold solder that do not
contain cadmium 

It turns out to be quite difficult to make a solder that retains the
rose gold color because you’re starting with a high copper alloy, and
needing to then add something to lower the melting point. The things
you’d add, like zinc, silver, cadmium, all rather quickly bleach out
the rose color, leaving it a yellow gold color instead of rose.
Cadmium is used because it does this less, perhaps because it doesn’t
take as much to lower the melting point enough. Even so, the rose
gold solders I’ve seen are all “hard” solders. They tend to be
somewhat “sludgy” to flow, and not that easy to use. Even they don’t
have perfect color match. Perhaps the best solution is to use another
technology, like a pulse arc or laser welder, since then you weld
with the same alloy you’re working with. But those are not
inexpensive options. The other way is to cast your items in one piece
so they don’t require soldering. Or place the joints such that the
color difference from just using yellow gold solders, but used
carefully so as little as possible is used, is not that visible. If
you work neatly so the solder stays in the tightly fitted clean
joints, and the seams are set so as to be at a fold or crease or
something, instead of just a line right across an otherwise flat
surface, then you may find the color differences not objectionable.
You might also try some of the easy white gold solders. I’ve found
that sometimes the colorless white solder lines are less obvious than
the brighter yellow colors from yellow gold solders, especially with
18K. It varies with solder types though. Some are very white, and
those show up, while the ones that are not as bright white color can
be an acceptable color against the rose.


#5

Peter

Thank you for you detailed explanation about the reasons that
cadmium is used in rose gold solders and your suggestions on
alternatives to avoid using rose gold solders

I am planning to utilize the rose gold in filigree work, where the
frames are made of rose gold, but the filigree filler wire is fine
silver, hence casting is not an alternative for me.

Also I do not have access to laser or pulse arc welders, so I think
my best option is to use yellow gold solder sparingly and have small
clean joints.

However, I did do a bit of a web search and found that Otto Frei has
a pink/rose gold high copper content hard solder which they say is
cadmium free.

Do you know anything about this solder. Does it flow well and does
it maintain its pink colour?

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep827f

Thanks in advance
Milt
Calgary, Canada


#6

Hi Ken

Thanks for your suggestion of using David Fell red solders.

I checked their website and found that all of their red solders
contain cadmium

I prefer not to use cadmium, so I am searching for a cadmium free
approach to soldering red (rose) gold.

Regards
Milt


#7
However, I did do a bit of a web search and found that Otto Frei
has a pink/rose gold high copper content hard solder which they say
is cadmium free. 
Do you know anything about this solder. Does it flow well and does
it maintain its pink colour? 

I haven’t specifically used Otto’s rose gold solder. But they are
not direct producers of solders, and carry that of various
manufacturers, so I’d bet theirs is similar to the rose gold solder
I’m familiar with, which is also “hard” grade, and cadmium free. As I
noted, the color match is decent, not perfect, but probably about as
good as you’ll get. And it’s a higher melting point solder so needs
some care/skill. The stuff I have tends to be a bit sludgy, not
flowing so easily, but it’s important to note that this property of
how well a solder flows in a joint has a lot to do with the metal
you’re soldering, not just the solder, so slight differences in the
rose alloy of the metal you’re working with can affect those
behaviors a lot. Specifically, if you add a little of the parent
metal to a little of the solder alloy, would the result have a
higher or lower melting point than the beginning alloys. Solders tend
to flow better when the resulting alloy melts slightly easier, but
not much so, or the volume of melted metal would increase. If the
result of adding the solder alloy to the parent would raise the
melting point, that will tend to inhibit the solder flow a little.
That is still better than if the solder causes the parent metal to
slump into the molten pool. But anyway. With these high copper
alloys, and given the copper is one of the metals who’s percentage is
varied to create solders, slight differences in the amount of copper,
or silver, can have dramatic effects on the performance. However,
with skill, a good flux, and careful control of the heat, remembering
that solder will flow towards the heat in addition to along a
capillary seam, you can get almost any solders to work with
practice…

Hope that’s of use.
Peter


#8

Milt, some solders are made the way they are so they flow, otherwise
you getslushy metal that lumps up.


#9

Following up on this topic…
I finally ordered the cadmium free Rose Gold solder from Otto Frei and used it with my Rio Grand Pink 14kt gold. The rose gold solder looks very yellow against Rio’s pink gold. In fact it looks almost as yellow as my regular yellow gold solders look. Also, since the rose solder has a high copper content it does not flow as well as my yellow gold solders.
I am going to go back to using yellow gold solder with my Rio Pink gold. Since my joints are very small, the yellow solder barely shows on the finished pieces
Thanks to everyone who provided suggestions to me on this topic
Regards
Milt
Calgary, Canada


#10

Try Stullers medium pink. Flows fairly easily and is a pretty good color match. The hard lives up to its name and is difficult to flow at a low enough temp for your fine wire.


#11

I’ve been working with Stuller’s cadmium free 14K medium pink, and I find that it doesn’t flow very well. However, I’m using very small components – 3mm bezels and 22g wire – so they heat up really fast. 14K yellow EE works beautifully on 14K rose gold, but of course it is not a good color match.


#12

Rose in general is a pain. It bubbles and is tough to flow. Gets close to
melting the base pieces. It’s finicky but usually works. Use paste flux
maybe


#13

This may sound a bit tacky, but is bath or pen plating the joints an option to consider?


#14

Frankly cadmium is a wonderful thing unless you are breathing it. Good ventilation, an airflow away from you and the occasional use of cadmium. I also miss asbestos carbon tet. , phosphates. Cyanide based plating solutions work better too. Lots of dangerous stuff in this business. I think using it wisely and carefully is better than getting rid of it.


#15

Thanks for saying that John. Yes jewelry making can be a dangerous business. However as a craftsman I am interested in tools that will do the best job for the task at hand.
I’ve been in the trade longer than many folks here have been alive. Most of the old timers I learned from and worked with lived to ripe old ages regardless of the asbestos, cadmium, lead, nitric and sulfuric acids, boric acid, and cyanide. The few that died young or middle aged died from non job related causes. Mostly from lifestyle choices.
My late mother was a chemist. Education in chemistry was pretty much a requirement in our home. I learned as a small child how to handle chemicals. I would so love for jewelry educators and institutions to teach basic chemistry. We fear those things we don’t know or understand. I have a deep abiding respect for dangerous chemicals as well as dangerous machinery but do not fear them.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#16

I have 40 years now sitting here at this bench 8 to 10 hours a day 5 days a week. I believe I have worked with all that stuff and managed to not eat or inhale too much of it.


#17

Always trying to learn something new about our great industry, I was talking with our metallurgists and they told me about an exciting new item we have: Rose Gold solder! It’s a 14k rose gold cadmium free, easy flow solder with a nice pink color. If you’re in need, please check it out at this link. #rosegold #prettyinpink -Randi B.