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Should 24kt be heavier than alloyed gold?

Lakefront

Rough_Rock
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Aug 26, 2021
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I have two high karat rings. One is about 100 years old (engraved wedding band), is the smaller of the two and is 22kt. The other, modern ring is slightly bigger and 24kt.

The 22kt, smaller ring feels heavier. Shouldn’t it be lighter than the larger 24kt?

I know that some high karat designers use hollowed 24kt. I’m not sure if this is the case with my ring but it was tested as 24kt.

That aside, and assuming two solid rings were the same size, would the 24kt ring weight more?

Thanks!

6278EA89-232C-4A6F-A8A4-53CD8FCD42E7.jpeg
 

MollyMalone

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I have two high karat rings. One is about 100 years old (engraved wedding band), is the smaller of the two and is 22kt. The other, modern ring is slightly bigger and 24kt.

The 22kt, smaller ring feels heavier. Shouldn’t it be lighter than the larger 24kt?
* * *
Perhaps the 22K ring weighs more because it was fabricated differently?

E.g., a die-struck band is approximately 33% denser than a cast band of the same fineness (and possibly denser-heavier than a hand-forged band, but I've not seen any statistical comparison between die-struck and hand-forged of the same gold fineness) because of the extreme pressure exerted during the die striking. Die striking was a much more common way of fashioning jewelry 100 years ago than it is now.
 

Lakefront

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Ooh. Interesting. I hadn’t considered that. This would fit into the right timeframe.
The piece is by Dreicer, who apparently was on par with Cartier back in the day. I’ll have to do more research about their processes. Thanks for the tip!
 

MollyMalone

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Lakefront

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Amazing! Thank you. Ever since I bought the ring I’ve been interested in learning more. It has an engraving with initials and 1913 on it so I have become very curious about it’s history. I will definitely look into this.
 

LilAlex

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E.g., a die-struck band is approximately 33% denser than a cast band of the same fineness (and possibly denser-heavier than a hand-forged band, but I've not seen any statistical comparison between die-struck and hand-forged of the same gold fineness) because of the extreme pressure exerted during the die striking.

I don't think this can be correct. Gold has a fixed density; it is not compressible. There are not different densities for gold based on how it was manipulated -- at least not that you see on the periodic table. I suppose you could whip it into a froth while molten to make it light but that's not a way to make a ring.

Since none of the elements used for alloying gold are denser than gold, I would think 24K gold is denser than 22K. That said, I don't know enough about metals to know if the final density is always reflective of the relative proportions of the constituent elements. (Sometimes smaller atoms can fit between larger atoms.)
 

blingmeupscotty

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My goldsmith once explained it to me like this.. making a ring is like making a cake.. you only need so many parts of x to stamp it with x kt. Depending on the jeweler and the time period I would imagine there are many variables and answers to that question :)
 

VRBeauty

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I don't think this can be correct. Gold has a fixed density; it is not compressible. There are not different densities for gold based on how it was manipulated -- at least not that you see on the periodic table. I suppose you could whip it into a froth while molten to make it light but that's not a way to make a ring.

Since none of the elements used for alloying gold are denser than gold, I would think 24K gold is denser than 22K. That said, I don't know enough about metals to know if the final density is always reflective of the relative proportions of the constituent elements. (Sometimes smaller atoms can fit between larger atoms.)

I’ve read that bit about die-struck gold having a higher density too. Perhaps one of our trade experts could weigh in - no pun intended. ;-)

 

LilAlex

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I’ve read that bit about die-struck gold having a higher density too. Perhaps one of our trade experts could weigh in - no pun intended.

I see that exact phrase (33% stronger) quoted in various vendor websites, without attribution. Apart from preventing voids when pouring molten gold into a small mold, I do not see how this could be the case. Gold coins and ingots are die-struck and no one ever talks about them being any heavier or denser. "If you have a safe-deposit box, only buy die-struck gold so you can fit 33% more!"

Some alloys like steel have a crystal structure so perhaps the "stronger" part could have an element of truth -- but the 33% must not apply to the "denser" part. That would make "die-struck gold" much denser than platinum.
 

luvmysparklies

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This is interesting. I have a few Jabel rings and they have a heavier feel/heft and weight than other comparable rings I have. I believe it is like LilAlex stated. The voids created when pouring. It makes little pits in the finished product. Since those pits represent where gold is not present-maybe in totality resulting in the lighter weight. Also, I wonder if the act of die striking does a little bit of work hardening too?
 
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VRBeauty

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I see that exact phrase (33% stronger) quoted in various vendor websites, without attribution. Apart from preventing voids when pouring molten gold into a small mold, I do not see how this could be the case. Gold coins and ingots are die-struck and no one ever talks about them being any heavier or denser. "If you have a safe-deposit box, only buy die-struck gold so you can fit 33% more!"

Some alloys like steel have a crystal structure so perhaps the "stronger" part could have an element of truth -- but the 33% must not apply to the "denser" part. That would make "die-struck gold" much denser than platinum.

Your reasoning makes sense, and a little targeted googling didn’t turn up anything scientific reason why die-struck gold should be more dense than other gold.

I did find one article indicating that die-struck gold is 33% stronger. Maybe someone assumed that “stronger” meant “denser,” and that mis-characterization was recycled by others?

A few articles also note that solder - including the solder used to size rings - is generally lighter than the gold it’s used to repair. Maybe that’s a factor here?
 
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