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Aura 22k Gold - The "New" Gold

By Jeanette Landenwitch (2006)

Aura 22k GoldOne of the most energizing aspects of my job as Executive Director of the PMC Guild is having the opportunity to try out new products as they are being developed. The latest of these developments is a new version of PMC gold.

I had heard that it was coming soon, and one day, found an interesting package had arrived in my mailbox. The enclosed details indicated that the new gold is a 22k material formulated of 91.7 percent gold and 8.3 percent silver. It is stronger than the original gold and has a shrinkage factor of 14 to 19 percent.

The new 22k gold PMC is a rather dense material,and when I opened that first package, I discovered the lump of gold was pretty stiff. Kneading it in the plastic wrapping for just a few minutes quickly softened it to a wonderfully pliable, workable consistency.

My first project was a pin. I made coils and flat strips of PMC gold and layered them with textured PMC3. A small amount of water helped join the elements together. I found the working time to be the same as the other versions of PMC. I let the piece dry, then fired at 1560F for 30 minutes. After firing, I brass brushed the piece. The look of the silver and gold together can’t be beat! To complete the piece I enameled it, soldered the pin findings to the back, then patinaed with liver of sulfur.

PMC Gold Pin

Next, to test the strength of the new PMC gold I made a ring. I cut openings into the band and embedded silver PMC3 into the openings. I also made a decorative ornament from PMC gold and joined it to the band. I allowed the piece to dry, then fired it at 1650F for two hours. I opted to tumble the ring to bring it to a high polish. It had a beautiful shine, and I was pleased with the strength of the ring. To finish the design I hammered a texture into the band, then enameled the top ornament.

PMC Gold Ring
My third project was a pair of earrings combining Original PMC with PMC gold, which I fired together. I was curious how the difference in shrinkage would affect the design. I laid a textured sheet of PMC gold between two sheets of Original PMC, dried the piece, then fired at 1650F for two hours. A slight, uniform doming occurred, and the result was quite attractive. It added to the dimension of the earrings. Original PMC is still my favorite formulation, so I was happy to discover this combination had such a wonderful quality.

PMC Gold Earrings with Original PMC

These experiments are just the beginning. The new PMC 22k gold could be used to produce a wood grain look, to inlay into a texture that has been carved into silver PMC, or reversed and used to inlay silver into gold. A lump of PMC gold can be thinned to paste with a small amount of water and used to create a highly textural stucco look. Fired gold elements can be soldered or fused to fabricated and cast items. By now I’m sure your creative appetite has been whetted. As I continue to work with this new PMC gold, the possibilities seem endless. Its improved strength and durability, the rich yellow color, and the range of firing options, including torch firing, all combine to produce and incredible versatile material. I won’t keep you form your studio any longer. The only request I have is that, as you create your own wonderful pieces, send us an image or two. They just might end up in our gallery pages. What could be more fun!

Last updated on Thu, September 17, 2009 by Metal Clay Guru