I rarely work with gold, not because I don’t like it but because it’s so expensive. It makes no sense for me to stock gold pieces when most of my customers prefer the look and cost of silver. When I was recently approached by a friend who wanted me to create a gold ring for his wife, I jumped at the chance to work with it.
Granulation is usually done in high karat gold, meaning 22 or 24k or 18k green gold. I’ve only worked in 22k and it’s divine. The color is rich and buttery and granulating is easier because the gold doesn’t melt as quickly as fine silver. The last gold piece I granulated was a ring band I wear daily. I’ve received a lot of compliments on it which is what led to this job. Pricing was the hard part as I rarely charge for my time (I know, I know I should) but Sarah helped me figure out a price that was fair to me and my friend. He agreed and I was ready to go.
I ordered the gold and braced myself for the cost. Not horrible, but I sure could have bought a lot of silver for that amount. It arrived and I opened the package and just looked at it. Beautiful. Rich, buttery and oh so expensive. I’m normally not a fan of gold, but 22k gold is different. The color is so yellow, but in a deep way. It looks great on the skin and feels very luxurious. Ok, maybe I’m waxing a bit poetic here, but I working with it has created a new appreciation for it. Now the hard part of creating the ring, without melting it, begins. Granulation runs a fine line between fusing and melting. A very fine line. In fine silver, the time between the two is very short whereas in gold you have more leeway. Trouble is, gold is expensive so there’s the mental factor of how much money is at stake every time it’s fired.
Time to call Sarah for some support. She told me not to worry if I mess it up because we’d call Doug Harling (friend and master of granulation) and he’d help. She also said she was about ready to start on a gold granulation project herself so we’d be in the same boat. I felt a little better but not much. I formed the ring, making sure the seam fit perfectly, and set it up to fuse. Things got a little hot and I do have one spot that’s a little burned, but it will be covered by granules so I’m not worried. Then I held my breath as I went to round out the ring and hoped the seam had fused completely. Hooray! It did! I worried that the gold had stretched and gotten too big, but it fit me perfectly which means it will fit the client. I have the feeling I’ll be doing a lot of worrying and breath holding through out this project!
One part down, many more to go. I’ll begin granulating this afternoon. Wish me luck!