How can I make a 3mm 14k gold ball?

Jewelry | | |

I would like to adorn one of my jewelry pieces with a 3mm 14k gold ball (with no holes), however, I can't seem to find such an item to purchase, so I thought I would create my own from gold wire, chips or grain. As I only have experience soldering with silver, and gold is an expensive commodity to 'practice' with these days, I thought it would be prudent to ask for advice from others.

If I heat 14k gold to its melting point, will it ball up like fine silver or does it behave differently? Do I have to treat it differently than I would silver, in terms of flux, etc.?

Thank you to anyone who can offer me some good advice.

visitor's picture

gold ball

No flux. charcoal best for heat, no loss of gold, but to muck oxygen will lose some copper, carbon pot with lid to melt in. cast in two piece mold and roll the ball betweet two plates. Pete crowbaby

Rich Waugh's picture

It will behave pretty much

It will behave pretty much the same as silver, though it will oxidize so you need to use a good flux when you ball it up. Do it on a charcoal block, of course.

The traditional way to get small round balls is to dribble the molten metal from a great height into a tub of water. It takes a height of several dozens of feet, though. You can Google "shot tower" for more if you're interested.

lcottone's picture

shot tower

Thank you both for your fast responses.

Just curious, why does it take several dozen feet? I believe I've seen this done with silver where the distance between the platform and the bowl of water is not much larger than a foot. The gold ball I hope to achieve doesn't have to be perfectly round, so perhaps I can achieve this even just on my trusty charcoal block.

Rich Waugh's picture

Happy to help. The height of

Happy to help.

The height of a shot tower is relative to the thermal conductivity of the metal in use and the degree of perfect roundness desired. When the metal hits the water it will get a flat spot if it isn't fully solidified. Silver has a higher thermal conductivity than 14K gold so gold takes a higher drop to lose it's heat and solidify.

The tall shot towers were for lead or steel shot which took even longer to cool.

lcottone's picture

shot tower

Very interesting. Thanks for the explanation!


Pete Crowbaby's picture

shot towers sound like a

shot towers sound like a more fun way to make them, if you work out how much gold you need each one drip you don,t any unused melt.