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Gold-plating or gilding


#1

Hi one and all!

I am interested in equipping my shop to do small-scale gold plating
for jewelry, particularly enamel jewelry.

Would someone be kind enough to direct me to what I actually NEED to
buy to make this work? I’m looking at either 24k or 18k green gold
plating.

Obviously, I don’t want the process to mess up the enameled
components if the piece is already assembled.

I would like to keep the cost under $500, including the initial
materials to try out the process.

As an alternative, I REALLY like the look of mercury gilded silver
and copper like that seen on medieval enamels or central asian
jewelry. I know there are health hazards with dealing with mercury.
Can it be done safely in small quantities in a small shop? Equipment
needed to do so? My preferred price range is in the same $500
ballpark to set up the capability.

I know that’s a lot of work, if there’s a good reference book or
article that includes the same info I’m perfectly happy to read it
instead.

Thanks in advance!


#2
As an alternative, I REALLY like the look of mercury gilded silver
and copper like that seen on medieval enamels or central asian
jewelry. I know there are health hazards with dealing with
mercury. Can it be done safely in small quantities in a small shop?
Equipment needed to do so? My preferred price range is in the same
$500 ballpark to set up the capability. 

Mercury gilding can be done safely in small, very small and only
infrequent, quantities. The best instructions are still Cellini’s.

However, while fire gilding on a purely hobby scale will not likely
do you much damage if well ventilated, fire gilding for commercial
purposes, even if done safely, will run you afoul of various
environmental regulations. You would be producing toxic, heavy-metal
vapors and could be in for stiff fines.

Keep in mind what Cellini says, that it is best to leave fire
gilding to the people who do it for a living, as it is dangerous. He
notes that those who do fire gilding as their profession tend not to
live very long.

Elliot


#3

Taking the latter request 1st, Fire gilding is lovely BUT before you
go down the road of finding out how to do it, you need to research
your local EPA regulations and local urban rules on venting mercury
vapour into your local atmosphere.

My guess will be, even if your miles out in the sticks, it will be
forbidden. If you want to do this it would need to be in a
completely sealed chanber with full mercury condensation equipment.

Youd have no change from thousands of $.

Then theres your health risk and anyone else thats in or near your
shop.

Electroplating green gold is tricky, 24 ct is the way to go.

Even this may have EPA regulations on the discharge of rinse water.

A professional plating shop will have specific precipitation and
filtering plants to treat all liquids that go into the urban
drainage system.

again you will find this cost to do it all properly, will put you
off plating items yourself.

Try and find a gold plater near you and get him to try out an
enamelled sample.

there are enamels specifically that are chemical proof for
subsequent plating.

Research those as well.


#4
As an alternative, I REALLY like the look of mercury gilded silver
and copper like that seen on medieval enamels or central asian
jewelry. I know there are health hazards with dealing with
mercury. 
Can it be done safely in small quantities in a small shop?
Equipment needed to do so? My preferred price range is in the same
$500 ballpark to set up the capability. 

You would be in violation of environmental regulations in most
countries if you were to vent the fumes from mercury gilding on any
scale.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#5
You would be in violation of environmental regulations in most
countries if you were to vent the fumes from mercury gilding on
any scale. 

No argument at all. But I read recently that 10% of the mercury
found in the Willamette River (Oregon) comes from air pollution from
China. Anything anyone from Orchid might add to that would be a like
adding another drop of water to the ocean. I don’t remember the last
time I saw a night sky really full of stars, let alone seeing the
Milky Way, and I just drove through hundreds of miles of desert.

Neil A.


#6

I believe a gold-amalgam mercury recovery retort, such as those
recommended for small-scale miners, can be adapted for safe amalgam
gilding in the workshop. Variety of mercury retort designs, for this
purpose, may be found on theInternet.

Regards
Kofi


#7

Hi,

I think some folks got off target on the answers I asked for. I’m
not going to be making large scale production runs for some years to
come - if ever.

Right now I’m working on a very small scale. I know I have to be
careful of my health and also to follow epa rules.

I am interested in equipping my shop to do small-scale gold plating
for jewelry, particularly enamel jewelry. Would someone be kind
enough to direct me to what I actually NEED to buy to make this
work? I'm looking at either 24k or 18k green gold plating.
Obviously, I don't want the process to mess up the enameled
components if the piece is already >assembled. I would like to keep
the cost under $500, including the initial materials to try out the
process. 

I’m really looking for a list of what equipment is actually needed
to do this. Rio sells some kits but they often have unnecessary items
in them and lack essential ones. Can someone give me a list of what’s
actually needed to do this?

As an alternative, I REALLY like the look of mercury gilded silver
and copper like that seen on medieval enamels or central asian
jewelry. I know there are health hazards with dealing with mercury.
Can it be done safely in small quantities in a small shop?
Equipment needed to do so? My preferred price range is in the same
$500 ballpark to set up the capability. 

I know the health risks, that’s why I’m looking for advice on how to
do it safely. We’re talking a jewelry-sized piece a month, at most.
More likely, 3 or 4 a year.

I know that's a lot of work, if there's a good reference book or
article that includes the same info I'm perfectly happy to read it
instead. 

This would still make me quite happy as an answer.

Thanks in advance!


#8
As an alternative, I REALLY like the look of mercury gilded silver
and copper <snip> I know the health risks, that's why I'm looking
for advice on how to do it safely. We're talking a jewelry-sized
piece a month, at most. More likely, 3 or 4 a year. I know that's a
lot of work, if there's a good reference book or article that
includes the same info I'm perfectly happy to read it instead. 

As I said in a previous post, Cellini’s instructions are still the
best. His treatises on goldsmithing are out of print, but still
available used.

Elliot Nesterman


#9
adding another drop of water to the ocean. I don't remember the
last time Isaw a night sky really full of stars, let alone seeing
the Milky Way, and Ijust drove through hundreds of miles of
desert. 

You should come to Marbella, Spain you can admire the night sky full
of stars most nights, last time I have seen the Milky Way (it felt I
could touch it!) was a few years ago in China, Yunnan provence
outside Deqing magically experience!

Kind regards
Peter


#10
I don't remember the last time I saw a night sky really full of
stars, let alone seeing the Milky Way, and I just drove through
hundreds of miles of desert. 

I moved from Arizona a couple of years ago, and at that time, skies
full of stars and the Milky Way were easily visible once you got away
from the larger cities. Lowell observatory is not far out of
Flagstaff, not to mention Kitt Peak, the U. S. Naval Observatory, and
eleven other observatories in the state which are doing just fine.
Air pollution from China or elsewhere isn’t blocking observation yet.

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY


#11

Hi

Cellini’s instructions are still the best. His treatises on
goldsmithing are out of print, but still available used.

try inter library loan for copies of rare books.

Richard
Xtines Jewels


#12
Cellini's instructions are still the best. His treatises on
goldsmithing are out of print, but still available used. try inter
library loan for copies of rare books 

The Treatises of Benvenuto Cellini On Goldsmithing And Sculpture
[Paperback] is a Dover Publication available on many book sites. See
Amazon.

http://www.ganoksin.com/jewelry-books/us/product/01428604308.htm

Janet in Jerusalem