Thursday, December 29, 2011


Recently, my best friend gave me some scrap gold in exchange for a repair I did for her.  I don't like doing repairs but there are some things you just do for friends that you would not otherwise do.

I have not worked with gold much but decided to give it a try using the scrap. First I melted down some of the more mangled stuff and poored it into a wire mold.  Most of the gold missed the mold though and I ended up with a short stubby piece of wire.  I rolled it out anyway, mostly just to see how it would do.  After I rolled it to as small of diameter as I could with the rolling mill I drew it down to 18 gage (this was the gage I had used for the prototype that I made out of copper).  It all seemed to work fine but I did not have nearly enough wire to complete the project, so I remelted it with the stuff I spilled and added some gold cufflinks I had bought at a garage sale (all 14k yellow).

This time I was more careful when pouring and got most of it in the mold.  For some reason, despite preheating the mold in my kiln to the casting temperature, the gold solidified in the mold prior to it being full. I will need to do more research on that.

After acid testing the gold to make sure it was 14k, I rolled  and drew it down to 18 gage.  I used this wire to make some conical spirals.

The spirals looked nice but, being familiar with depletion gilding of sterling, I decided to try doing the same with the gold.  This is where the aha moment of a serendipitous discovery came to me. After about seven heating and pickling cycles, the gold took on the greenish look of green gold.  While I had not anticipated this, I thought it was cool so I did some research to see if I could find out why.

It appears that green gold is made by replacing the copper in the gold, silver and copper alloy normally used for 14k yellow, with silver.  So, by etching out the copper, I essentially did the same thing, although the surface layer of gold would actually be a higher karat than 14.

Here is a picture of the finished product.

I had wanted to put a pearl dangling in the center of the spirals and set a diamond in the studs but laking the diamonds, gold chain and time (they where Christmas presents) I decided they where done.

I left the finish mat because I liked the look of it.  I wish I had not rolled the wire flat.  In the mockups I hammered them.  I liked them alot better that way.

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