Depletion gilding is an ancient gold surface treatment, now superseded by electroplating. Add this technique to your repertoire for antique repairs.
This is an academic paper, not a technical ‘how to’ guide. Many of the procedures described are unsafe in practice.
Double is a German word of french origin meaning rolled gold or gold fill material. I use it for the gold-fill material described here to differentiate it from the commercially produced sheet. Hand made double has different qualities than the manufactured metal. It is far less perfect, its finished size is limited by one’s workshop facilities and counting hours it costs more per square centimeter.
In the twentieth century there can be little doubt that electroplating is the best way to develop a gold coating on a metal object. It provides successful results in many colors and can be adapted to one-of-a-kind or mass production. Knowing this, it might seem peculiar to devote the following section to the ancient art of fire gilding. It is more time consuming than modern methods, it requires more material, there is a greater risk of failure, and it is a health risk unless performed under ventilation. Why then should it be included?.
Historically, a wide range of techniques has been used to clad or coat silver or base metals with gold. These processes are based on efforts to balance three factors: cost, physical properties and appearance. Rolled gold or gold-filled stock is…
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