Raising gold to the surface

Hello Everyone,

I have some work I did in 14K gold and I would like to raise the gold
to the surface in order to give the finish the appearance of a higher
carat gold. I was discussing this technique with a friend and was
instructed to heat the piece until it looks black-ish, pickle, brush
with a brass brush and repeat these steps about 6 times or so until
the desired look is achieved. Well, I have tried this method but I
have only managed to raise the copper alloy in the gold instead of
the gold. What am I missing? Does anyone have suggestions on how to
achieve a high carat look with 14K gold? It looks marvelous when done
correctly. I am determined! Thanks!

Chaya Caron
Chaya Studio

This paper at Ganoksin reviews the ways that gold is depletion
gilded throughout history and literature. It covers the field.

Some people just heat and pickle in sodium bisulfate pickle

My preference is to take the finished, unset object and put it into
a strong (1:4) or so Hydrochloric Acid solution, cold, for a while.
(checking every 15 minutes until I like it). You could probably use
muriatic acid (hardware store, dilute HCL) in a similar, but longer


Hi Chaya,

I actually did this recently by mistake, so this is my experience
only. I’d never read anything about it, it just happened! I had been
working on experimenting with fusing a ring using some extra 14k
peach gold from some sprues. Whenever I have been trying to fuse 14k
gold, I use flux. So this was my process - flux, fuse, pickle,
forge, anneal, forge, anneal, forge, little extra flux to fuse
again, pickle, forge… some more of the above - then then last
round of flux - fuse and pickle, I took it out and it had turned
yellow - no longer had the peachy glow. it was really just all of a
sudden and I was pretty shocked by it at first.

That was my process, and if I repeated those, I don’t know for sure
if it would work again, but I tend to think it would. As far as
bringing the copper up, are you sure your pickle is fresh and
untainted? I have found that if my pickle is even slightly off the
14k copper plates before my sterling does.

Hope that helps!