Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/soldering gold


Can I solder 18K yellow gold with 14K solder?

Dear Jilla,

The quick and easy answer is YES, you can solder 18k gold with 14k solders. Temperatures are generally compatible and strength is certainly suitable. Below is a link to a list of plumb gold(full karat) solders made by Hoover and Strong. Plumb solders may come closer to a good color match of solder to metal.

Jilla, please keep in mind there are aesthetic concerns with using a solder of different karat than the metal it is joining. This is all about color match and whether or not it will show.  Generally, with plumb solders the problem is lessened in the long run, meaning over the years to come, because plumb solders are less likely than regular solders to develop a visible "solder line" over time.  

You must be particular in selecting solders for ring sizing and work where the solder joint is out in the open to be seen. This applies to all solder work, using same or other karat matches. Quite honestly, it will take a solder joint actually done to see how well the color matches.  A very light sanding with perhaps 800 or finer grit,just enough to take the shine away will more easily show color differences while a fresh buffed surface will blend pretty well and trick the eye. So, you have the soldering to do:  Are the solder joints going to be right up front, center stage to be seen easily?  On a scrap piece does the color match ok so as not to be obviously a mismatch? No scrap available? Try a tiny bit on an edge and use whit-out™ to limit the solder flow, sand gently and compare color. Then sand AWAY THE SOLDER. If the joint won't really be openly visible, don't be so concerned about color.  I have used mismatched karat solders when the situation caused that to be the option and all worked fine overall.

The only real concern is getting a decently close color match. All the other stuff of temperatures, solder flow and strength are suitable. I said all that stuff in the paragraph above to get you thinking about color aspects, not to scare you away from using the 14k solder is that is what you must do.

Best wishes and let me know how it goes if you get a chance. God Bless and Peace. Thomas.  

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