Gold on Silver

Playing with a new process

This year I have been experimenting with adding gold accents to silver jewellery.  Using AGS Accent Gold for Silver I have been painting 24ct gold onto silver pieces.

Gold_stripy_cat_brooch

 

 

 

Gold stripy cat brooch

 

 

Preparation

First the silver has to be prepared by the process of depletion gilding.  This involves heating sterling silver with a gas torch and then pickling in acid.  This two steps are repeated until there is no evident oxidation and the surface is frosty white.  This process raises the pure silver molecules to the surface and is necessary for the gold to bond.

Painting it on

The gold comes in a tiny pot and needs to be activated by adding a few drops of glycerine and distilled water to create a creamy consistency.  It’s painted on with a tiny brush and left to dry.

Firing

The whole piece is then fired using a gas torch to keep it at a steady orange glow for two minutes.

Adding a patina

Once the piece has been pickled to remove oxidation and tumble polished it will be very shiny but the gold won’t show very well.  To throw it into a more dramatic mood it can be dipped in liver of sulphur to add a black patina.  The silver will turn black but it won’t touch the gold so the painted design will shine out.

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