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Working palladium white gold


#1

Hi Folks,

I’ve been asked by a colleague who is not an Orchid member about
working palladium white gold. I have have heard that it is fearfully
hard and brittle but have zero personal experience with it. I
therefore turn to your collective wisdom.

The object is to make a size 10 ring 2mm thick and 5mm wide in 14K
palladium white, then lightly hammer pattern it. In my state of
ignorance I’d be inclined to buy an appropriate length of 2 x 5mm
rectangular stock, bend it with the half round pliers, solder, and
round it on the mandrel in the usual way. But can this be done at
all or is the material perhaps too hard and brittle for that? How
would you do it? How about the hammer finish? Surely that must be
do-able?

Cheers and thanks
Hans Durstling
Moncton, Canada


#2

I use 18 k palladium white gold exclusively, and it’s the most
forgiving white gold allow I’ve ever worked with. It is great using
really hard solders, 19 K white weld and or 18k palladium white
solder alloys. Both work very well. The metal color is better than
standard nickel/gold alloys, is more ductile and casts reasonably
well and not prone to stress cracking.

Love it.
Tom


#3
I have have heard that it is fearfully hard and brittle 

Hans, you heard wrong. It’s just the opposite. Palladium white golds
are softer and more malleable than are nickel white golds. They also
are not as white, often having a somewhat warm or even faintly
brownish tint to them (especially in 18K). You should have no
problem making the ring as you describe. The stuff is nice to work
with in fabrication. You’ll enjoy working with it. It melts higher
than does nickel white gold, with much less tenancy to form fire
scale. The main problem with palladium white gold is that it’s
difficult to melt and cast, either for casting, or making ingots for
rolling or drawing, since it has a tenancy to be more prone to
porosity when melted and cast. Usually this isn’t a big problem for
ingots, but for casting it can be tricky. A badly melted and poured
ingot might be the source of your thought that it’s hard and brittle,
though usually this isn’t the case, only that it can have pits and
porosity. If you buy ready made stock, then that’s not a possible
problem. For fabrication, consider buying solders that match, ie that
are also palladium/gold based, as the match in color and hardness
will be noticeably better.

Peter Rowe


#4

14k Pd white is a dream to work with. Just buy a piece of bar stock
and bend up the ring, I use the 19k white to solder it with as I
don’t like any of the 14k Pd white solders I have tried.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#5

Fusing either 14kt or 18kt palladium white gold also works well and
you have no visible color seam when finished.

This approach won’t flow like a solder will requiring a bit more
clean up, but when constructing relatively simple forms fusing is my
preferred approach.

Jim


#6

Hans- I have never had a problem with palladium white gold. I’ve
found it very nice to roll out and fabricate with. It’s nice for
bead setting too. Just be sure to air cool it.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#7

Hans,

I think you’ll find that palladium white gold will be FAR easier to
work than the old nickel-alloyed white golds. You will be impressed
with its workability. Also, because it is SO WHITE, you won’t need to
consider rhodium plating it when it’s finished. Be sure to buy a
strong color-match solder to go with your Pd white gold stock.

It’s not hard to alloy palladium and pure gold to create your 18K or
14K palladium white gold, and it pours into an ingot well, too.

I love the working properties of 18K PD white gold, as well as it’s
extremely white color.

Oh, for bending heavy ring shanks, I’m not a fan of ring-bending
pliers. Even with plastic tubing protectors over the jaws, even the
best pliers can dent or mark the soft jewelry metals if you’re not
really careful. Plus, it’s brutal on the hands, and I’m saving mine
for other easier tasks. I prefer a ring mandril, a heavy rawhide
mallet, and a grooved wood block for all my ring bending. Far easier
on the hands, and it never leaves a mark on the rounded ring band.

Why don’t you post a review of your experience with palladium white
gold on Orchid?

Jay Whaley


#8

Hans,

Palladium white gold is a pleasure to work with. Much softer and
easier to work with than traditional nickle white golds. I use the
alloys from Hoover & Strong.

Steve Brixner
www.brixnerdesign.net


#9

18Ct palladium white gold is great to work with. It behaves like
18Ct yellow gold except it melts at a higher temperature. If you are
referring to lower carat white golds I would still rate the
palladium white gold high on the list of good alloys.

The alternative is nickel white gold which is whiter than palladium
white gold, but nickel is a big problem with people who have
allergies to nickel. I don’t use nickel white gold for this reason.

If you happen to mix nickel white gold with palladium white gold,
you will get an alloy that is as hard as steel and have big problems.
Be careful when collecting your sweeps.

Alastair


#10
14k Pd white is a dream to work with. Just buy a piece of bar
stock and bend up the ring, I use the 19k white to solder it with
as I don't like any of the 14k Pd white solders I have tried. 

James, who do you get your 19k solder from?

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#11

I have always seen PW as brownish or grayish… (even before my recent
eye situation) Never really white. I’m curious what others see.


#12

I use PW 14 and 18k but mostly 14. As Jim said, it fuses/welds
beautifully. I pour ingots and roll out sheet and wire stock. Forges
great too.

I have worked with 14k alloys from two suppliers: David H Fell in CA
and AAA Precious Metals in Portland OR. The alloys are different: The
DHF is a bit more of a “gun metal” color-- a little darker, a little
grayer. It seems a bit softer too and melts at a higher temp.

I have spoken with metallurgists at both places and have gotten
conflicting info. The term “High Palladium” and Low Palladium" white
was used (can’t remember who said it) meaning palladium content. I
also recall being told that the AAA alloy contains some nickel
although very little.

Tried casting (centrifuge) several times and have given up on it.

It works sweetly, behaving itself (no cracking) is malleable and is
more “dead” soft than springy nickel white. Here’s a question for
those who use the alloy: Since it is so wonderful for settings–heavy
bezels, for instance-- does anyone worry about the long term
durability as compared to its nickel cousin? I have received work
back after several years and heavy bezels are worn…

Take care,
Andy


#13

How does the 18k White gold/Palladium cast with a torch? Thanks

Scott Verson
www.metalandstonedesign.com


#14

Hello everyone,

I typically work with SS, AS or 22k gold but the favorable comments
with rega rd to working with Palladium white gold have really piqued
my interest.

I also saw a lot of wonderful Pd jewelry in Tucson this year and I
concluded that if you want to set an expensive stone, Pd may be a
better choice than silver.

I would appreciate any input that Orchid members can give me
regarding the differences between working with silver and working
with Pd white gold. I hand fabricate my jewelry, I don’t intend on
casting anything, and I use a Mecco oxy/propane torchin my studio

I did just read that a charcoal block should not be used for
soldering Palladium. What is the preferred soldering surface when
working with Pd? Anything else that you can tell me would be very
helpful.

Thank you.
Lynn


#15

Ganoksin hosts a rich article archive on this topic:

Library > Fabrication > Palladium Fabrication


#16
How does the 18k White gold/Palladium cast with a torch?

Problematic. Lots of porosity problems when we tried it. By the way,
be aware that to cast it, you usually need to be using platinum
investment, not the standrd stuff used for gold.

Peter


#17

James, who do you get your 19k solder from?

Stuller

James Binnion


#18
I have worked with 14k alloys from two suppliers: David H Fell in
CA and AAA Precious Metals in Portland OR. The alloys are
different: The DHF is a bit more of a "gun metal" color-- a little
darker, a little grayer. It seems a bit softer too and melts at a
higher temp.

DH Fells alloy is a high palladium white i.e. more palladium which
is why it is more gray

Tried casting (centrifuge) several times and have given up on it. 

It requires different treatment to cast it I had lots of no fills
while learning. It is not very fluid when molten so you need to
greatly increase sprue size to cast it. It has a very high melting
temperature so you almost have to treat it like platinum in that you
want the torch on the metal up to the point of releasing the arm on
the centrifuge.

It works sweetly, behaving itself (no cracking) is malleable and
is more "dead" soft than springy nickel white. Here's a question
for those who use the alloy: Since it is so wonderful for
settings--heavy bezels, for instance-- does anyone worry about the
long term durability as compared to its nickel cousin? I have
received work back after several years and heavy bezels are
worn.... 

It does not have the abrasion resistance of nickel white that is for
sure. I tend to make my mountings heavy just like I would for 18k
yellow.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#19

Actually, palladium white gold is sometimes called "Setters White"
because it is so much easier to work than nickel white. It also does
not develop that horrible fire scale when soldered. I vastly prefer
it to nickel white alloys, but it is a little bit grey, which a lot
of clients don’t want in a white gold, and also more expensive due to
the fact that palladium costs more than nickel… which a lot of
clients also don’t want.

I have never had any trouble fabricating it, or casting it for that
matter, which might be a better way for you to go with what you are
describing (no seam). It comes in 14k and 18k. I don’t think that you
can alloy it yourself unless you have an oxygen-free environment,
because palladium sucks up oxygen when melted and becomes totally
unworkable. Perhaps Jim Binnion will chime in with more metallurgical
knowledge than I have.

Catherine Galloway


#20
I have always seen PW as brownish or grayish.. (even before my
recent eye situation) Never really white. I'm curious what others
see. 

I made one ring from 14kt palladium white gold for my employee,
looked fine after I finished it, work for a few weeks, it looked
gray. Remade the ring, looked fine after casting, few weeks later
looked gray again. remade it in regular 14kt nickle white and my
employee was happy.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.