When soldering gold balls to silver, I have the best results when I
"tin" some easy silver solder to a flat spot on the gold ball. Flux
as usual and place the gold ball (solder bit down) where you want.
(If the ball rolls around, file a flat spot on the solder.) Heat and
when the flux melts, watch the joint between the gold ball and the
silver. When you see the shiny line at the joint, pull the heat off.
If you are using standard sterling, yes, you'll need to heat the
whole pendant. If you're using Argentium, the heat can be directed
primarily to the area where the solder is to flow.
Hope this helps.
Judy in Kansas, where someone just said to me "This has been the
nicest May yet, and it's still March." Can you believe temps in the