"I like to fuse gold onto my Argentium jewellery, for the colour contrast."
Annette Petch, Jeweller
Annette runs Argentium classes in her studio in Sheffield, England.
In the UK we mostly use 9 carat, 18 carat or 22 carat gold, and I have found the higher the carat, the more successful it is. 9 carat, especially the red alloy, can be tricky and has a tendency to flood out into the Argentium surface, or even sink completely, if it is overheated. But with practice it can be done, it needs good torch control and close observation. When you are close to fusing temperature watch carefully for the ‘fusion flash’ and take the flame away immediately.
Here are some examples:
Sunflower studs in Argentium with 9 carat yellow gold
Campanula studs in Argentium with 9 carat red gold
I made a sunflower ring in Argentium with a 9 carat white and red gold flower, and Argentium leaves. I fused the leaves on first, then fused on the flower, then bent the ring round and soldered the join with Argentium medium/hard solder. Fusing on gold should normally be the last fusing process, subsequent joins should be soldered so you don’t risk melting the gold.
Sunflower ring work in progress
For adding granules to a ring that is already fused, and to avoid having to worry about the ring slumping at fusing temperature, I fill the middle of the ring with plaster of Paris, once this has set I then stand up the ring and add granules at the top. To add the plaster, I lie the ring down on a plastic bag, put a fillet of blutac round the outside to prevent leakage, then pour in the plaster. Once set, the bag and the blutac will peel away. After fusing on the granules, cool then quench, and the plaster can be pushed out.
Granulated ring support method
Annette likes to share her skills, and offers workshops in her studio, where you can spend a day learning jewellery making skills ... Read more.