Strange black on X-1 white gold alloy

Hi All;

I’ve been working with Stuller’s new X-1 white gold alloy for a
client. Didn’t realize they had solders formulated for it until
after I’d struggled with standard stuff. But that’s not what my
question is about.

Anyway, I was assembling cast components, and had a peculiar
problem. First, cleaned and firecoated with boric acid and alcohol.
Then fluxed with Battern’s flux. As soon as I put the torch to it, a
black soot formed on it. Pretty much overwhelmed the Batterns so I
resorted to Handy Flux, and suffered the ensuing discoloration
problems that are typical of that stuff. Anybody know anything about
this? Haven’t gotten the requested call from Stuller’s tech help

I wonder if casting/quenching temperatures are affecting the
distribution of one of their proprietary alloys to the surface where
it’s outgassing or something. I’ve got to get a handle on this
problem because I need to do more with the X-1. Thanks in advance.

David L. Huffman


I use X-1, boric acid and alcohol mix, and Batterns flux and have
not yet seen the black you have experienced. Knowing others working
with X-1, I made some calls to see if anyone else I know has seen this

I was discussing your problem with a jeweler I do work for in
Montana yesterday and he said he saw the same thing happen when
assembling X-1 components after pickling in citric acid. That was the
one variable different from my processing of castings/assembly with
X-1. I use Sparex in my pickling solution. He told me that he has to
make sure the citric pickle is thoroughly cleaned off and neutralized
before soldering. He is assembling with standard white gold solders
instead of the X-1 solders and seems to have no difficulty other than
the less than perfect color match.

Call if you’d like to talk about this more.

Paul D. Reilly
The Paul Reilly Company
Phone: 719-598-9307
Email: @Paul_D_Reilly1

Hi Paul;

I’m using sodium bisulphate, in the form of a pool chemical called PH
Down. It’s 98% pure, which is, I believe, a cleaner version than
Sparex. It’s cheaper, and you don’t get the brown scum floating on
top that you get from Sparex. Another jeweler has contacted me from
Orchid, has seen the same problem, and is using a different flux to
solve it. Yesterday I was working with a component from a different
client. She couldn’t identify the specific alloy, but it had the
characteristic stark white like the X-1. I had the same black soot
problem when I attempted to solder it. That makes me think that it
probably isn’t a casting issue. At this point, this is enough of a
drawback, in my opinion, to discourage my continuing to use X-1.
Hear that, Stuller? I’m still waiting for a call.

David L. Huffman


What can I say but that I am at a loss to explain the black soot that
you are experiencing during soldering the X-1 alloy; especially
considering that we seem to be using very similar processing, albeit
that my pickle (Sparex) is of a less pure form of sodium bisulphate
than yours(pH Down). To date I have used the 18K and the 14K
versions of X-1 in numerous assemblies using exclusively Batterns
flux and have not experienced any difficulties, so I really don’t
think the flux is the issue, per se. It would be interesting to know
what alloy your other client’s component was made from. I don’t think
that Stuller carries a large line of X-1 components yet, so she
should have had to special order it if it was in X-1. Maybe we will
hear from Stuller about this since you issued your challenge in
Sunday’s post.

Perhaps the difference in our results lie in the metal preparations
we do, the torches/gases we use, the degree or duration of heating we
do, or the evil fairies which haunt all jewelry studios. I have two
more rings to assemble this week using the same alloy (cast
components) so I’ll let you know if I experience anything similar to
what you are seeing.

If you find anything out about this mystery offline, please post it
online, I’m very curious about this.

Paul D. Reilly
The Paul Reilly Company
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Phone: 719-598-9307