Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Workability of Gold


#1

Well, I recently learned a “hard” lesson. I am fabricating a ring that will have bezel-set and flush-set stones. I decided to use 10k, but found it was so hard, that I had a terrible time even getting a round shape for the band. Once I started drilling holes for the flush-set stones, I gave up, and decided to use this metal in another way.

So I am moving up to a higher composition gold.

How does 14k compare to 18k in terms of workability? I don’t think companies share their specific alloy compositions (do they?). So are 14k or 18k golds from different sources equally workable?

I have a lot of experience working with sterling silver. Which gold is most like sterling silver, in terms of workability?


#2

IN my experience, 18k rose seems to work in a similar fashion to sterling. Maybe it’s because they are both alloyed with copper?


#3

Annealed gold, to someone who works primarily in silver, will seem hard. The only holds that come close to sterling in terms of hardness are maybe some high silver green golds, or high copper rose golds as it is the balance of silver and copper that lends hardness. Generally green golds are the softest of the lot. Gold alloys that come close to sterling would be 18k rose or green gold, or maybe a 22k yellow. The truth of the matter is gold is going to be harder than silver. I would reccomend a different method of setting the stone or using a higher Karat for the setting, otherwise you must learn to deal with the extra hardness. Hope this helps :slight_smile:

  • Argentum Moon

#4

You’re both saying 18k rose gold approaches the “softness” of sterling, and for this project, that would be a beautiful choice.

But how can I determine which sheet fabricator has a softer product, or do you think I’m safe with any of them?

Goldsmiths flush-set in gold all the time. It has to be do-able for me, just not in 10k (I’m curious what metals ratio that one is made up of).

Side question, why, if both fine silver and copper are very soft, does the mix create hardness? :thinking:

Thank you both very much for your input; I appreciate it.


#5

I am not a metallurgist, But I have read parts of The Theory and Practice of Goldsmithing. In the book it gives you the recipes for and shows the hardnesses of various Rose, Yellow and Green golds. The rose and greens are softer. Must be something to do with the crystal structure.


#6

In terms of a sheet fabricator, most state the hardness in vickers or brinells.


#7

@ArgentumMoon thank you, that’s great information!


#8

A way of looking at it is that silver and copper atoms move in between the gold atoms when melted into an alloy, and depending on how it solidifies, locks the atoms together in different crystal structures, which changes the malleability (how much you can deform with out cracking) and ductility (how much you can draw before breaking) of the alloy.


#9

I just looked and here are recipes for gold that have the same hardness as sterling silver. They will yield a green shade of gold (I hope that is ok)

14K Pale Green (585 Au, 382 Ag, 33 Cu)

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.653 gram silver
  • 0.056

18K Bright Yellowish Green (750 Au, 215 Ag, 35)

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.284 gram silver
  • 0.046 gram copper

#10

Creating my own alloys is definitely on the horizon! Thank you for these recipes. In the first example, the bottom number, 0.056, would be copper?


#11

This makes sense, and in talking about it with a non-goldsmith, but a smart guy, we figured it had to do with the particular crystal structures!


#12

Yes it is copper. Sorry about that. Here are some more recipes with their hardnesses in Brinells (HB = Hardness Brinells) the Alloys state the amount of “Master” to use, a specific amount of copper and silver pre-alloyed and meant to be mixed with their respective amount of gold. If you don’t understand something, just ask.

Silver alloys:

Reticulation silver, 80 HB, (800 Ag, 200 Cu):

  • 1 gram silver
  • 0.25 gram copper

Sterling silver, 60 HB, (925 Ag, 75 Cu):

  • 1 gram silver
  • 0.081 gram copper

Brittania silver, 52 HB, (958 Ag, 42 Cu):

  • 1 gram silver
  • 0.041 gram copper

Yellow Gold:

22k Deep Yellow, 60 HB, (917 Au, 49 Ag, 34 Cu):

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.09 gram master

18k European Greenish Yellow, 70 HB, (750 Au, 188 Ag, 62 Cu)

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.33 gram master

18k Greenish Yellow, 97 HB, (750 Au, 167 Ag, 83 Cu):

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.33 gram master

18k Bright Yellow, 120 HB, (750 Au, 125 Ag, 125 Cu):

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.33 gram master

18k Reddish Yellow, 125 HB, (750 Au, 83 Ag, 167 Cu):

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.33 gram master

14k Greenish Yellow, 130 HB, (585 Au, 280 Ag, 135 Cu):

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.709 gram master

14k Medium Yellow, 130 HB (585 Au, 188 Ag, 227 Cu):

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.709 gram master

14k Reddish Yellow, 145 HB, (585 Au, 135 Ag, 280 Cu)

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.709 gram master

10K Medium Yellow, 110 HB (417 Au, 263 Ag, 320 Cu):

  • 1 gram gold
  • 1.4 gram master

10k Reddish Yellow, 110 HB, (417 Au, 190 Ag,393 Cu)

  • 1 gram gold
  • 1.4 gram master

Green Gold:

18k Deep Green, 32 HB, (750 Au, 250 Ag):

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.33 gram silver

18K Rich Green, 40 HB, (750 Au, 232 Ag, 18 Cu)

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.33 gram master

18k Bright Yellowish Green, 60 HB,(750 Au, 215 Ag, 35 Cu):

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.33 gram master

14k Pale Green, 65 HB, (585 Au, 382 Ag, 33 Cu):

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.709 gram master

14k bright Yellowish Green, 80 HB, (585 Au, 365 Ag, 50 Cu):

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.709 gram master

Rose Gold:

18k orange, 135 HB (750 Au, 250 Cu):

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.33 gram copper

18k Peach, 130 HB, (750 Au, 40 Ag, 210 Cu):

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.33 gram master

14k orange, 110 HB (585 Au, 90 Ag, 325 Cu):

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.709 gram master

14k Red, 80 HB, (585 Au, 415 Cu)

  • 1 gram gold
  • 0.709 gram copper

10k Red, 60 HB (417 Au, 583 Cu)

  • 1 gram gold
  • 1.4 gram copper

There are the gold and silver Alloys. Here are the master Alloys. Simply match the master with the alloy (they should have the same name) and get melting.

Master alloys for Yellow Gold:

appear white-ish pink in colour until mixed with gold

22 Deep Yellow Master (600 Ag, 400 Cu)

  • 1 gram silver
  • 0.65 gram copper

18 European Greenish Yellow Master (752 Ag, 248 Cu):

  • 1 gram silver
  • 0.33 gram copper

18 Greenish Yellow Master (668 Ag, 332 Cu):

  • 1 gram silver
  • 0.497 gram copper

18 Bright Yellow Master (500 Ag, 500 Cu):

  • 1 gram silver
  • 1 gram copper

18 Reddish Yellow Master (332 Ag, 668 Cu):

  • 0.497 gram silver
  • 1 gram copper

14 Yellow Master (674 Ag, 326 Cu):

  • 1 gram silver
  • 0.483 gram copper

10-14 Medium Yellow Master (450 Ag 550 Cu):

  • 1 gram silver
  • 1.2 gram copper

10-14 Reddish Yellow Master (326 Ag, 674 Cu):

  • 0.483 gram silver
  • 1 gram copper

Master alloys for Rose Gold:

appear red in colour until mixed with gold

18 Peach Master (160 Ag, 840 Cu):

  • 1 gram copper
  • 0.16 gram silver

14 Orange Master (220 Ag, 780 Cu):

  • 1 gram copper
  • 0.27 gram silver

Master alloys for Green Gold:

appear white in colour until mixed with gold

18 Rich Green (928 Ag, 72 Cu)

  • 1 gram silver
  • 0.078 gram copper

18 Bright Yellowish Green master (860 Ag, 140 Cu):

  • 1 gram silver
  • 0.162 gram copper

14 Pale Green Master (920 Ag, 80 Cu)

  • 1 gram silver
  • 0.088 gram copper