Amalgam gilding

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A gold gilding technique in which an amalgam of Gold with Mercury is applied to a metal, such as Copper or Silver, then the metal is heated to flash volatilize the mercury and deposit a thin layer of gold. Amalgam gilding, or fire gilding, has been used since at least 300 CE in China. In most regions, it was replaced in the mid-19th century by electrogilding.

Synonyms and Related Terms

fire gilding; mercury gilding; dorure à l'amalgame (Fr.); Feuervergoldung (Deut.); dorado a la amalgama (Esp.); vuurvergulden (Ned.); amalgama dourada (Port.)

Resources and Citations

  • David C. Scott, Metallography and Microstructure of Ancient and Historic Metals, The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, 1991
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • George Savage, Art and Antique Restorer's Handbook, Rockliff Publishing Corp, London, 1954