Hello! I have a client who wants a 14 k yellow gold bezel around a
piece of sea glass, and soldered onto Argentium back plate (to reduce
costs). Then a mix of Argentium and 14k yellow gold for the band. I
bought some easy gold solder (wow! pricey even for the solder
hahahah!), to close the seam of the bezel, but am now rethinking
whether I should use Argentium solder (as planned) for the
bezel/backplate seam or whether it should be gold? I’m worried about
a sloppy seam (the client wants the stripe alongthe bottom - silver
with gold on top, filed flush, despite my best attempts to suggest a
thin silver wire along the bottom to hide the seam). Which solder
would you suggest - Argentium or gold? I have some gold coloured
silver solder which I think would be a bad idea (having visions of it
tarnishing?) Also, for the band, I am planning to solder a thin strip
of 14k yellow gold onto Argentium bands and was planning on using
gold solder there too, but am thinking that I need more than one type
of solder (easy). Since I am using Argentium, do I also have the
option of FUSING the gold onto the Argentium? That would be ideal if
I could manage not to mangle things. And if fusing of the bezel onto
the back plate is the way to go, will the bezel seam, closed with
easy gold solder open up?
Thanks so much!
You can use either gold or Argentium solders with Argentium (silver
solders work, too, of course, but the color match and tarnish are not
so desirable.) With any gold solders, the thing to do is to pay
attention to the melting temperature—this is true whether you are
working with AS or SS.
I do not recommend that you fuse 14K to AS. The melting temperatures
are too close, and it can be very easy to turn everything into a
puddle. I suggest 18K and higher karats for fusing to AS.
I do not recommend that you fuse 14K to AS. The melting
temperatures are too close, and it can be very easy to turn
everything into a puddle. I suggest 18K and higher karats for
fusing to AS.
Good advice, Cynthia. The higher karat gold bezel will also be
softer - much easier to set over the stone than 14K.
Gee Ros, to be blunt, I believe that I should use whatever you have
the most experience with both in method and in material when making
something custom. Making something custom for a customer isn’t the
time to try something new. That’s for my experimental pieces on my
bench – if it works, it might be for sale; if it doesn’t well…
we all have those, don’t we? Those are what I call my challenges -
it’s a challenge to turn it into something that works and is
I take it she is looking for a bangle? What about plated gold onto
silver in that case?
Have fun making lots of beautiful things!
Barbara on a sunny day on Prince Edward Island (let’s not mention
the black fly and mosquitoes since it is a day for me to finish the
It’s a little tricky to solder gold to silver because gold tends to
"melt" into the silver. Fusing is not an option, unless you mean keum
boo. I have the best results using easy silver solder to “tin” the
gold where it is to be soldered to the silver. Flux as usual and
heat the joint. Argentium should be a benefit here, as it is not
necessary to heat the entire piece of silver to achieve flow. Then it
is important to keep an eagle eye on the joint and remove the torch
ASAP when you see the solder flow. It IS a delicate balancing act to
flow the solder and keep the gold intact.
I will be eager to see what others suggest - Orchidians are the
Hope this helps,
Judy in Kansas, where the rains have been falling and the strawberries
have been producing. Asparagus just about done.
Nope! Not a bangle, Barbara, but a ring. Plated and I don’t get a
long and this particular client doesn’t want anything that will rub
off. Client is WELL aware that this is a new adventure for me and
she is sitting back, waiting patiently as a I melt everything in
site. If I stayed within my comfort zone, I would never have picked
up a torch ALL: Many thanks for the responses and for Sessin’s
help (at Rio) - my plan of action is to close the bezel with medium
14 k solder, then use easy Argentium solder for attaching the bezel
to the back plate. I think that I will try tacking the gold wire (10
k in this case) for the band, to the Argentium, using either easy 14
k solder or easy argentium solder…hmmmm. Then will resist the
temptation to glue the band to the backplate in an attempt to avoid
messing everything else up - bahahahahaha! I think that I might use
Extra Hands to coat part of the band to protect the gold from me
Ros, I don’t stay within my comfort zone either (Lord know I will
try just about everything once) but I don’t jump off the cliff with
the client - I do it by myself until I feel I can fly alone.
It is my understanding that only 22k gold can be fused to Argentium,
not 20k, not 18k. Anything less than 22k has to be soldered.
It is my understanding that only 22k gold can be fused to
Argentium, not 20k, not 18k. Anything less than 22k has to be
I often fuse 18KYG to Argentium Sterling and teach my students to
successfully do so. 22KYG might be a bit easier, and might have a
better color contrast. 14KYG is possible to fuse, but because it is
so very easy to overheat, and turn the gold granule or wire into a
yellowish blob, I do not recommend trying to fuse 14KYG.
Hi, I really appreciate both the advice given here on Orchid as well
as a really helpful chat session with Rio’s Sessin. To recap, I was
asked to make a sea glass ring for a client, using a gold bezel.
Have never worked with gold and had a bit of a rough learning curve.
It took me three times (or was it four?) to make the 14 k yellow
gold bezel. The first attempt, a portion of the gold ‘disappeared’,
then I burnt a hole in it. Second attempt, managed to fling the
bezel off its Argentium base (skidded on the solder) and then poked
a hole it in (I was able to salvage thebezel and make the drusy
ring, pictured below). So, for the sea glass ring, I closed the
bezel with 14 k yellow gold MEDIUM solder. Then I soldered the bezel
to the Argentium backplate with EASY Argentium solder. For the band,
I tacked the 10 k yellow gold wire to the Argentium silver bands in
four spots, using a wee bit of EASY 14 k yellow gold solder.
Then I attached the band to the backplate using EASY Argentium
solder. I had to resist fussing with the bezel more - I think that it
looks a bit rough. But after poking a hole in attempt number two by
overfiling, I’ve left it be (for now). The client wanted the
backplate filed flush and a brushed finish on all. For the drusy
stacking ring that I made for myself, I plan to add a gold band to
the combo, once I am feeling less annoyed with myself. I have no
idea why I thought that gold would be easy to work with. I found it
delicate! Maybe bec I’m using a lower karat? It certainly heated up
differently than Argentium, solder flowed very quickly but
relatively easily. I have no idea how to avoid overheating the
bezel, and avoiding raising the copper (I’m assuming that copper is
raised with a pink hue visible?? Then again, the pink was also onthe
Argentium backplate…hmmm) All this to say thank you
Sea glass ring:
My new stacking ring set:
Good job for a first job with 14K to silver. It is a surprise how low
the melting point of 14k yellow is if you are not used to it, lower
James Binnion Metal Arts