Gold has a great reputation in jewelry making and rightfully so. It’s versatile and is tarnish resistant. But making gold jewelry can be expensive. But there are plenty of ways you can incorporate the precious metal in your jewelry pieces without having to go for solid gold jewelry. Here are some of them.
Korean culture is all the hype in fashion and music right now. And it seems like it’s also making the crossover into jewelry making. Keum-Boo (which literally means ‘attached gold’) is an ancient Korean technique which involves infusing 24K gold foil onto silver or other metals. Since pure precious metals such as gold and silver have similar atomic structure, they have great potential for bonding.
Some of the materials you’ll need to perform this process are a hot plate, gold sheets, sterling silver pieces, burnishers, a steel block and some tweezers. The Internet is also filled with helpful tutorials on how to do Keum-Boo.
Gold leaf is a similar process to Keum-Boo. The difference lies in the use of thinner gold foils and the object of attachment. Gold leaf is used to put gold accents on softer materials like wood, leather or stone. Gold leaf is also popular in fine dining, art and architecture.
A bi-metal sheet, as the name implies, is a sheet containing two metal layers. One being a layer of 22-K yellow gold bonded to the second layer of Argentium silver with the gold layer comprising the 10% of the sheet’s overall weight. The sheet is best used for traditional fabrication and forming. And due to the thickness of the gold layer, the material is perfect for engraving without exposing the silver underneath. Another perk of the sheet is that it makes the creation of larger, weightier pieces which would be way more expensive to make from solid gold materials.
Another way to economically and precisely incorporate gold onto other metals like silver is through pen-plating. It is a process which uses electrical charge to deposit a layer of gold over other metals like platinum, nickel, silver, steel and brass. Solutions are available in variations of 24K and 14K in colors of yellow gold or the trendy rose gold.
Aura 22 is a type of liquid gold which can be conveniently used to paint gold onto your pieces. You can use aura 22with metal clays and other textured bases. To do this, you’ll need a kiln and a paint brush. You can literally just use the gold to paint over your base piece. This is perfect for those of you who aren’t comfortable with the technique required for the other methods already mentioned above.
If you’re an intermediate or experienced jewelry maker, you might be interested in moving onto making pieces out of precious metals like gold which can get expensive. But fret not. You can still incorporate gold into your jewelry without having to metalsmith solid gold into necklaces or rings. You can find other ways to add a touch of gold to jewelry with these alternative methods.