By now you have probably heard that we (In the USA) can soon make gold for sale at less than ten karat and call it gold. It’s a new ruling from the FTC and details are available at the MJSA Journal. As a career long gold alloy specialist, I admit to dismay and excitement at the same time. Low karats can be an issue. Also we have color, tarnishing and a near complete ignorance among the public about this. So now what do we do with this new freedom to alloy, invent, innovate and not at all anger or disappoint the public?
With the optimistic idea we will be responsible and innovate I found my own starting place. Every heard of a metal called “Electrum”? Essentially it’s an ancient mix of gold and silver literally rooted in the ground plus natural “contaminants” like copper. In powerful ways this is the origin story of every piece of gold jewelry.
These alloys have a great range of content, some as high as 80% gold, which is beside the point today. Now 12 karat is a legit mark, along with your makers mark. 50% gold 50% silver. If we wish we can take a tiny bit out of the silver and add a little copper or other elements for color or behavior. We are ready to start experiments next week.
As mentioned, electrum is just a starting place. It’s already established, branded properly for the public awareness issue. It can be seen today in museums and certain ancient collections. Past that we can really work out alloys for ourselves. There are a few patented products already out there from the desperate days of the great recession and $1,800Toz gold. Those are another starting point for those companies.
I humbly submit that PMWest is uniquely well positioned to help with this new set of rules and the related creative impulses freed up. Grain, wires even maybe solder. Refining for filings and do overs.
We can fire up a torch and ship tomorrow. Are you ready to try the past as future sales?