What Karat Gold to use for Bezels

Hi everyone, I would like your opinion. I started out in silver and do my bezels with fine silver and don’t have any problems getting a nice tight fit to my bezels by hand. I have been practicing in yellow gold and purchased 14kt yellow gold bezel wire and solder. I can do the bezel by hand on larger stones, but not as tight and smaller stones under 10mm I need to hammer set. Hammer setting is fine for hard stones, but I have some adorable small opals that I want to set in yellow gold. So my question is, would 18kt yellow gold be soft enough or should I go all the way to 22kt yellow gold for bezels for smaller and softer stones so I can set them nice and tight by hand. Thank you everyone in advance.

Oh, I should mention that I use 28 ga fine silver and 30 ga 14kt bezel wire so for. I plan on sticking with the 30 ga with a higher karat.

I would use 22k. The cost difference is minimal, the look is ten times better and they will only be slightly harder than fine silver.

Thank you. I have read that folks fuse 22K bezels. Would I be able to do that with 30 ga bezel wire. Thanks again for your advice.

You can fuse, sure. I prefer soldering, but 22k solders are hard to find. I do however have recipes for easy, medium and hard 22k solders without cadmium. I was looking for some 22k solders and, by luck, found an article on orchid about cadmium free solders from 9-22 karat. Here they are if you want.

22k solders:

22K Hard Solder, 970 Pt (917 Au, 42 Ag, 30 Cu, 11 Zn)

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.09 gram master

22K Medium Solder, 880 Pt (917 Au, 4 Ag, 29 Cu, 50 Zn)

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.09 gram master

22K Easy Solder, 810 Pt (917 Au, 10 Cu, 73 Zn)

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.09 gram master

Master alloy recipes:

22 hard solder Master (506 Ag, 361 Cu, 133 Zn)

  • 0.506 gram silver
  • 0.361 gram copper
  • 0.133 gram zinc

22 medium solder master (48 Ag, 357 Cu, 595 Zn)

  • 0.048 gram silver
  • 0.357 gram copper
  • 0.595 gram zinc

22 easy solder master (120 Cu, 880 Zn)

  • 0.12 gram copper
  • 0.88 gram zinc

Thank you for all the recipes, but that is way beyond my capabilities right now. Rio Grande does have 22k gold plumb solder in hard, med, and easy. I might try fusing, but I think I will buy the solder too, just in case. I seem to be good at melting gold for some reason. Thanks again.

No problem. :slight_smile: