Making A White Gold Ring .
Q: I have the opportunity of making a white gold wedding ring for a man getting
married in 6 weeks. He wants a brushed finish to the ring. Since I have not
used white gold before (I work almost exclusively with silver) I feel a bit
apprehensive. Comments and advice would be very much appreciated.
Will I need to get the ring plated at the end of the process?
Any suggestions where this can be done in the UK?
What metal finish do you suggest?
I guess that I would brush the ring after plating not before?
A:I'm afraid that for once, I'll have to disagree, somewhat, with this. perhaps one of the few times I can ever remember disagreeing with Abrasha on a matter of jewelry making technique... However, the statement is not false, just, in my view, incomplete. Nickle white golds, especially those alloys with higher nickel content, which makes them whiter and harder, have little strength when hot, a property known to blacksmiths or those used to forging hot metals, as being "hot short". It means that the metal, when quenched in water from too hot a temp (Like the annealing temperatures usually used), cannot properly withstand the thermal shock of quenching, and tends to form cracks, which then makes the metal pretty much useless. However, slow cooling of many (It's complex. Not all nickel white gold alloys do this) of these alloys will allow them to significantly harden again due to what's called precipitation hardening, or age hardening. That process can be used intentionally via a heat treatment in an oven generally at around 750 degrees F or so (don't quote that. Might be off. if interested, I'll look up more solid data, or you can find a good chart in the back of Alan Revere's "Professional goldsmithing" book) That can often reach a hardness of almost the same as full work hardening.
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