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Sizing joints in the 'new' white gold

Hi, All in Ganoksin! I have been a subscriber, and a lurker only, for
several months now. I’ve gotten so much good infor from reading the
postings & answers when I have the time. Okay, on to my first posting
& wonderment:

I was away from the Bench for about 8 years, and went back to work
this past January. In my ‘time off’, white gold changed, as you all
must well know. So now I find myself having an issue with my sizing
joints in the white gold rings- verrrrry frustrating! I use an
acetylene/oxy torch and Hoover & Strong solder. I used to use 20K
white hard for sizings, but am having a bit more luck now with 14K
white hard. But, a certain percentage of them still show up after
polishing. I’m using the same technique I always did, but don’t
remember having this much trouble with them ‘popping up’. My seams
are flush & clean, my heating of the piece even, good flux
application…I m perplexed.

Anyone have any tips? I’m open to any & all suggestions. Thanks in

Tracy Brown

I’ve had great results with the 20K solder so I was surprised to see
you are apparently not getting the result you want. Hoover and Strong
also makes palladium white gold solder if that’s the alloy you have
trouble with. I’m not thrilled with it but that’s a subjective

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘popping up’. If you mean it doesn’t
show til final polish you might try lapping with really fine abrasive
paper and polish 90 degrees to the joint with a hard wheeI. I don’t
have room for a split lap machine (oh, and I’m cheap) so I just put a
splitlap wheel on my buffer and its OK. Not the easiest to use but
gets the job done.

I have this small bit left of 16YH solder I got from somebody in
Chicago. It is fantastic at hiding a seam. Really invisible, even
bridges a sloppy joint, polishes out perfectly. Hot though, close to
the ragged edge of melting the piece. I wish I could remember who it

Hi Tracy;

Although some new, whiter white gold alloys are on the market, I
doubt it’s the white gold that’s changed. It may be the solder that’s
different. Eight years ago, there was still a lot of solder on the
market that contained cadmium. Most solders now don’t. And I can
clearly see a difference in color between the cadmium free and the
whiter cadmium bearing solders. But I would rather not use cadmium
because of its carcinogenic risk.

When you say the solder seams are visible, is it because of the
color or is it pits in the solder seam? Pits will be a problem if
there is not a good fit in the joint. And the old fluxes used to
contain fluorides whereas many now don’t. But I don’t know that this
would cause problems unless you had oily contaminants at the time of
soldering. Fluoride fluxes clean better, but again, they are
carcinogenic. I too used to use 19K white weld to size white gold
rings. But it’s cheaper to use 14K, and I don’t have problems with
solder seams showing. The 19K weld is tricky to use too, because of
it’s higher melting temperature. The main reason I used to use 19K
weld was because it was less likely to drag out of the seam during
polishing. I think better polishing technique has removed that
problem for me. Whenever I polish a sizing area on a ring, I always
polish across the seam, never in line with it. Sand with a 320 grit
paper, then lap with a hard felt lap charged with tripoli, then a
quick buff with tripoli just to “read” the area for scratches the lap
didn’t remove, then a final polish with rouge on a buff. If the
problem realy is about the color, you may have to make a choice,
either live with it, or get a rhodium pen plater to touch up the
seam. Forget the old, more dangerous materials, there are enough
health hazards in our trade.

David L. Huffman

I am a contractor for Zales corp and others. I use 14kt hard and
solder lots of white gold rgs a day. Do not use a hot flame. Let the
solder melt into the sizing. Do not use easy or medium solder. When
I fabricate I use only hard solder. I use sandpaper and a brown
rubber wheel before polishing and all rings are lapped on sides.
Zales requires all white gold rings that are sized to be Rhodium
plated.White golg is not WHITE!

Hope this is helpful.
Eric Coleman

I always felt that Rhodium on white gold rings was just a step in
the process. I must say though if I have a white gold ring and the
casting came out “white enough” I won’t put Rhodium on it. Eric- Does
Zales let you charge extra for the Rhodium? I used to manage a store
for them but quit on bad terms. Apparently, among other things, I
was supposed to get HR approval before firing a thief who gave me a
signed confession. lol.

Stanley Bright
A&M Jewelers

My seams are flush & clean, my heating of the piece even, good
flux application.....I m perplexed. 

There is much good advise on this thread. I’ll just point out the
essential problem: Anytime your seams are well-soldered, and they
show after polishing, it’s because the metal and the solder are two
different hardnesses under the polisher. Almost always the solder is
softer, and it’s just pulling out of the seam enough to show. The
real solution is to use a solder that’s harder. I do what someone
else suggested, too - when the seam shows, I’ll rework it flat,
carefully lap it, and then use white rouge on a soft lap just on the
seam, and stop. It’s mostly the soft wheels that pull out the