You've no doubt noticed that pink gold has been surging in popularity lately. If you've been riding the wave, you'll also have noticed that Rio Grande is offering a wider variety of rose gold and gold-filled findings and has added a line of pink gold and gold-filled sheet and wire. At the same time, though, Rio is not offering any pink gold solders, and customers have been looking for these solders to use with their pink gold jewelry designs. But, wait, you may be thinking, Rio is all about carrying whatever the jewelry makers need or want to do their work more conveniently and easily…what gives?
First, Rio Grande consciously chooses not to carry solders made with cadmium, which is known to be a dangerous carcinogen. This has been our position since the '70s, when this information became known, and it continues to be; we do not wish to deal in cadmium-bearing products.
Second, Rio did, at one time, offer a cadmium-free 14-karat hard pink solder. Our customers let us know that they didn't like this solder—in spite of being called 'pink,' the final color was closer to a yellow than a pink. We looked for and found other options that provided a better color, but these would not flow well, making the work more difficult, not less.
So, faced with these choices—a bad color, a bad work experience, carcinogen-laden or offering none at all—we chose to carry none at all until one can be sourced that resolves these issues. This makes sense in light of our commitment to our customers, and we continue to search for a better-color, more work-friendly option—that's cadmium-free—for our customers to use on pink gold.
But the news isn't entirely negative. After extensively working with these materials, our Tech Team recommends using a yellow solder and using it as sparingly as possible. For pink gold-filled pieces, try Rio Grande's 10-karat easy yellow gold solder. We know of some makers who create their own solders and get a workable color that's a little bit closer to a pink that matches their work.
If you're willing to accept the risks inherent to handling and working with cadmium, there are suppliers you can turn to for a good-color pink solder that flows nicely. It's a decision each jewelry maker must make for his or her own business.
When we looked into the question above and found no happy, easy answers, we wanted to share this information with you so that you'll know why Rio Grande doesn't stock pink gold solder (yet) and also that we continue to look for one that meet your needs and ours…