Some Egyptian gold work of 1370-1080 BC has a shining rose-purple
patination, which so far from being the result of slow chemical
change over the centuries is an intentional effect. Example in
’Jewels of the Pharaohs’ by C.Aldred, plate 97.
One idea is that this colour has been achieved by introducing other
metallic salts into the metal at some stage of manufacture and it has
been suggested that iron pyrites could achieve this by forming a fine
film of iron oxide on the surface of the gold. Another suggestion has
been that a very thin film of enamel on the metal has picked up some
molecules of gold to give this colour.
See: Wood, R.W., ‘The Purple Gold of Tutankhamun’, Journal of
Egyptian Archaeology, London, 20 (1934, 62 ff.)
The Asian King of Mitanni, listing gifts that he was sending
Amenophis III, speaks of ornaments of gold ‘through which blood
If any of your amazingly well-informed contributors can give me any
more on this ‘purple gold’, I would be eternally grateful.
David Kelsall (UK)