How to Anneal Gold

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Gold is renowned for its warm color and preciousness as a metal that's traditionally used for wedding rings. Although gold prices have skyrocketed in recent years, gold is still a cost-effective metal compared to platinum. Metal used in jewelry-making, including gold, must be annealed -- heated with a torch -- so that it is soft enough to work with. This step is repeated consistently during the jewelry-making process since gold gets work-hardened when it's shaped, hammered and sawed. Gold has a specific annealing temperature, which is identified by the color it turns when it is heated.

Things You'll Need

  • 18-gauge, 1-inch square sheet of 14-karat gold
  • Torch
  • Flint striker
  • Fire brick
  • Fireproof tweezers
  • Pyrex bowl or measuring cup filled with water
  • Place the gold sheet on the fire brick.

  • Light the torch using the flint striker. Open the valve so that the flame is hot. The flame should burn blue, not yellow.

  • Hold the torch about one to two inches above the metal, slowly passing the flame across the length of the metal.

  • Move the flame back and forth over the gold until the color starts to change. 14-karat gold turned dark red when it has reached annealing temperature.

  • When the gold turns dark red, turn off the torch. Pick up the gold with the fire tweezers and quench the metal by dropping it into the Pyrex bowl filled with water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Anneal metal in a room devoid of natural light so you can see the subtle change in the metal's color when it's heated.

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References

  • "The Complete Book of Jewelry Making"; Metallurgy; Carlos Codina; 2006
  • "The Art and Craft of Making Jewelry"; Metals and Their Properties; Joanna Gollberg; 2006
  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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