Silver gilding

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Communion cup
MFA# 33.102


MFA# 57.533

A silver object (either pure or sterling) that has been gilded with gold. Most large objects made in goldsmithing that appear to be gold are actually silver-gilt. Since ancient times, a variety of silver gilding techniques have been used. A distinctive depletion gilding technique was developed by the Incas in Pre-Columbian South America. "Overlaying" or folding or hammering on gold foil or gold leaf is mentioned in Homer's Odyssey (Bk vi, 232). The most prolific technique used fire-gilding with mercury. Currently electroplating is the most commonly used method.

Synonyms and Related Terms

silver gilt; silver gilded; gilt-silver; vermeil (Fr.)

Resources and Citations