Wishing P4 Metal Would Go Away?

Stuller’s Corporate Metallurgist shares his tips to help you deal with this challenging metal

ABI Precious Metals in Carson, California, invented a metal mixture containing four precious metals in the alloy: silver, palladium, gold, and platinum. Though ABI doesn’t disclose the actual chemistry, they allow purchasers freedom to call the metal whatever they wish!

Star Ring, Inc. of California trademarked Platina 4 as the name for this alloy mixture and chose P4 to stamp the ring shank. A P4 SR stamp on a ring represents Platina 4 made by Star Ring.

The metal was created as a lower-price-point alternative to karat gold. The inventor claims it’s hypoallergenic, easy to clean, and very durable. However, due to the off-white color of the alloy, when overseas manufacturers cast it, they often plate it with all sorts of white metal, including nickel and chromium. This creates headaches for jewelers when it comes to sizing and fixing broken prongs because the coatings render the metal brittle during heating.

P4 metal beauty shot

But there is a solution! Since P4 metal is essentially a silver-based alloy, silver solders can be used during assembly, and sterling silver sizing stock can be used for sizing the P4 ring.

How does P4 metal work for you? If you have any ideas to share, please feel free to post them below.

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  • Bill Longnecker [ permalink ]

    Great info but I would like to hear more about metals and some of the associated problems and situations that can arise with them.
    I would like a simple table showing heat tempering of different metals for kiln tempering methods. Sometimes I run into a situation where another jeweler has made a ring dead soft while repairing and the prongs and shanks a all soft and ‘mushy’.

  • Jennifer Bullock [ permalink ]

    Bill, thanks so much for your comment! Shan Aithal is definitely planning to write more articles about metals.

    In the meantime, he came up this response to your question about tempering metals:

    Not all qualities of metals can be heat tempered. The ones that can are:
    18KY with silver and copper of equal proportions – our 18KY #120 Rich yellow. Or 18KY #312 rolling alloy.
    14KY with copper to silver in 2:1 proportion – our 14KY #127 or 14KY #303.
    14K nickel white golds cannot be heat tempered.
    14K palladium white gold can be heat tempered if copper content exceeds 6%.

    Be sure to also check out our other website, http://www.benchjeweler.com, for lots of helpful information on a whole host of bench-related topics.

    You’ve given us some great ideas for future content. Stay tuned and stay in touch!