. . . . These figures appear to be cast or stamped out of silver
and are gilded in several colours of gold. I assume that, at that
time, the only kind of gilding done would be mercurial 'fire'
gilding Ian W. Wright
Hello Ian; I get a lot of "estate" jewelry to repair, and I've seen
work done in different colors of gold that I believe was probably
done by means of depletion gilding. Check out Brepohl's text on this
technique. One can change the surface of the gold by using different
etchants to remove different components of the alloy, i.e., ferric
chloride to remove the copper and leave a green color, ferric nitrate
to remove the silver and leave a rose color, etc. Fire guilding has
a distinct "pebble" finish in most cases and is recognizable. The
depletion method can be made to be quite durable by repeated etching
and burnishing though.
David L. Huffman