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Coloring gold

Hello everybody.

I’m a young goldsmith (27 - 4 years on the bench) and I’m looking for
a way to color the surface of yellow gold to the old "pinkish red"
color. I’ve heard of adding iron to the pickle would help. Is there
anybody who has experience/answers about this topic?

Thanks in advance!

Iron only creates a surface plate on the metal . Old butternut and
rose golds are varring degrees of copper in the gold mix itself . A
little alloying can be addictive…

Adding iron to the pickle will result in a thin to thick, depending on
time, copper plating of the piece.  It is a very thin coating and
will have all the attributes of copper, it will oxidize, corrode,
etc. A better solution would be to electroplate a rose gold overlay
onto the piece. It too will be a thin coating but at least you will
have a surface. Don Rogers

OK, standard disclaimer: I have about four weeks worth of knowledge.

Putting iron in the pickle should cause any copper ions in solution
to precipitate, giving whatever is in the pickle a copper plating.

I’m not sure if you really want copper plating on your stuff, though
it would redden the gold.

Also, if the pickle is fresh, there won’t be any copper in it to

However, I may have missed the mark with this because, again, I have
no experience.

  • darcy

Outside from electroplating the desired finish onto the gold, which
will certainly wear off rather quickly, there is basically no way to
do what you want. What is appropriate is to mold the ring and recast
it using the desired karat and color of gold alloy (probably 'rose’
gold, an alloy with a bit more copper and a bit less silver than the
typical yellow gold you normally see). Adding iron to the pickle
simply causes an electrical reaction which plates the copper dissolved
in the pickling solution from previously pickled rings onto the ring,
giving you a copper “electroplated” finish. Definitely NOT what you

Jeffrey Everett