Professional Jeweler Archive: Sizing Two-Tone Gold Rings

August 2001

Professional Bench/Defining Quality


Sizing Two-Tone Gold Rings

Knowing how to work with a combination of yellow and white gold is another aspect of quality in your shop


Many rings incorporate yellow and white gold elements to produce a rich contrast of warm and cool colors. But when both colors are incorporated into the same shank, the bench jeweler who sizes the ring faces a challenge. To size up a two-tone ring, the jeweler must:
  • Cut through the shank.
  • Open the ring to the desired size.
  • Add appropriately sized pieces of white and yellow gold sizing stock.
  • Solder the white gold sizing stock to the white gold part of the shank with white gold solder.
  • Solder the yellow gold sizing stock to the yellow gold part of the shank with yellow gold solder.
  • If you’re sizing down, use matching color solder.

Note: You may use either color of solder at a joint between white and yellow gold. Both seams must be soldered completely, so a slight “bleeding” of one color to the other is sometimes unavoidable.

Yellow and white gold ring.
The same ring being sized up with pieces of the same colors of gold.

Most white gold alloys are not a cool, bright white and, thus, require rhodium plating to provide a contrast with the yellow gold. The rhodium finish is intended only to enhance the whiteness of the white gold alloy, not to cover the wrong color of metal or solder.

Fingernail polish works well as a masking agent for the yellow gold, preventing the rhodium plating solution from covering the yellow gold. The outcome is a bright, contrasting white over the white gold.
Special Handling

When this ring was first manufactured, the two pieces were not soldered together. The outer borders keep the centerpiece in place, and a tight friction fit prevents the two pieces from rotating independently. There is no solder fillet between the two pieces. If this type of ring must be cut and soldered to size it, a slight solder fillet will usually be formed at the joint between the two pieces. If minimal in size, the fillet may be unnoticeable.

Because the process of sizing two-tone rings takes longer and requires additional skill than one-color sizing, the charges should include the extra labor and expertise. Many retailers charge twice the normal price for sizing a two-tone ring.

This design has yellow gold below and a piece of white gold above. It requires special procedures and more time for sizing.
Use a fine point graver or an 8/0 saw blade to remove the trace of the solder fillet that remains.
The JA® Professional’s Guide to Fine Jewelry Craftsmanship

Sizing Two-Tone Gold Rings

By Mark B. Mann, Director of Trade programs, Jewelers of America®

Professionally Sized Two-Tone Ring

A. White gold is used to size up the white portion and yellow gold is used for the yellow portion, each with like-colored solder.

B. The new pieces are of sufficient size and don’t cause more than one-tenth of a millimeter reduction from the original shank width and depth when finished.

C. The white and yellow solder seams align properly with the original shank.

D. The solder joints have no pits.

E. No solder seams are visible.

F. If the work area is rhodium-plated, the plated surface covers only the white gold portion.

Potential Problems to Watch for:
Care was not taken to realign the new pieces with the original shank when this ring was sized up.

The white gold portion of the ring was not rhodium-plated after it was sized; the two alloys lack a sharp color contrast.

When the ring was sized, too much solder was used and then not removed.

The original shank shape was not replicated when the ring was sized up.
© 2001 Jewelers of America Inc.

This information is required for all levels of the JA® Bench Jeweler Certification™ program. For information about the program, call JA at (800) 223-0673 or visit www.jewelers.org. For more bench jeweler education and related information, visit www.jewelersofam.org and click on JA BenchAdvisor.

Illustrations by Lainie Mann – Visual Communications


Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications