Two Tones Two Ways

Precious Metals:Metalsmithing

Two Tones Two Ways

No need for soldering to attain the ever-popular bicolor look – two manufacturers have perfected methods for melding

Consumers love two-tone looks: gold with platinum and different shades of gold are perennial favorites. Two manufacturers have developed non-traditional ways to achieve this popular look.

Benchmark, a division of Tosyali International Ltd., Tuscaloosa, AL, offers Nephis, a line of gold and platinum wedding rings created through a natural fusion process. "The two metals are fused purely by heating," says A.J. Tosyali, vice president. "No soldering of any kind is required because, in effect, they melt into each other." It took more than a year to perfect the process – the metals melt at different temperatures, and only through the precise manipulation of heat and time does it work.

Natural heat fusion of gold and platinum has two strong selling points over soldered two-tone pieces:

  • The heat-fusion method creates a much cleaner look than a traditional soldering process – avoiding the pits and pinholes that need to be polished and often can't be removed completely. Tosyali says this is true even when the piece is made through a process of soldering and then heating to try to create the fusion look.
  • Durability. When the two metals fuse into each other, they create a stronger bond than when they are joined chemically through soldering.

The name Nephis is a Turkish word that loosely translates into "the feeling you get when taking a breath of fresh air." The platinum and 18k rings retail for $740 to $800 and can be delivered in less than a week.

Forging New Bonds
Diagold, a multicolored karat gold material allows jewelers and designers to create two-tone or multicolored pieces in an almost limitless assortment of patterns. Diagold, from Mitsubishi Materials Corp., is not soldered. Sheets or pieces of metal are hot-forged together at a high temperature under high pressure, says Darnall Burks, technical adviser to the Advanced Products Division of Mitsubishi. The pieces literally melt together.

Because Diagold is produced without solder, designers can bend, twist and punch the material as though they were using a one-color alloy. Diagold has a durability and malleability not possible in soldered jewelry, says Burks. The varied colors of Diagold are determined by the balance of the different precious metals used. While there are standard compositions of karat golds used in Diagold, the composition can be adjusted to achieve any color or combination of colors. Diagold is available in a variety of unique patterns that fall into five basic groups: bold stripes, dots, wood grain, intricate cut patterns and a flowing pattern on a traditional Japanese textile.

Diagold is suited to all types of jewelry and is used also in watch casings, eyeglass frames, cigarette lighters, money clips and pill boxes. Mitsubishi doesn't market finished pieces in the U.S., but a limited collection is sold in Japan and is used in the U.S. to demonstrate Diagold's versatility.

Benchmark, a division of Tosyali International Ltd., Tuscaloosa, AL; (800) 633-5950. Mitsubishi Materials Corp., New York, NY; (212) 688-9550.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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