Bombing & antique jewelry

Nobody has mentioned bombing (Bloom) as used on many Victorian
period jewelry items. Most often on those made in England. The
surface of the gold item looks like a Peach skin or Peach bloom. A
very soft 24K color and look, not shiny. It burns off the base metal
(copper) and leaves a coat of fine gold on the surface.

If you try and repair a piece of this using a torch, it will burn
off leaving in many cases a rose color gold. It’s important to know
this if you get an antique piece in for repair. The owner may not be
all to happy to see what has happened to the surface, so you need to
let them know before any work is done. The only way to get the item
back to it’s original look is to bomb it with the Cyanide/Peroxide
method or sand blast it then plate with high karat gold.

As mentioned it’s very dangerous, the fumes or contact with your
skin. If you inhale any of the cyanide you might have a headache for
a few days and permanent damage done. Also disposing of what’s left
needs to be done at a toxic waste plant and it’s expensive and
involves extensive paper work. In other words STAY AWAY FROM IT.

The term bombing comes from the reaction of the cyanide and peroxide
when it reacts with the burning off of the base metal. It boils up
then goes POP like a small bomb when the action has taken place.
(This is when it might splash into your face or skin)

I’m not going to get into the exact way to perform this, because it
should not be used. I did it many years ago and found it was not
worth the risks involved. I suggest having the work done by laser or
sand blast and plate the surface.

Jim Mannella
Lake Worth, FL.