Working with kumboo

I have never made a piece of gold jewellery. I find the material simply too expensive. Gold costs more than 50 times as much as silver.

However, you can make silver look like gold. I am not talking about gold plating, which is not something I could do in a studio.

I am talking about kumboo, Korean for ‘attached gold’. Thin sheets of gold are applied to silver using heat and pressure. The 24 carat gold foil bonds permanently with the silver.

The scientific explanation, according to Wikipedia, is that precious metals have very similar atomic structures. This allows them to bond seamlessly and without solder. Judging from jewellery in museums, kumboo has probably been used on pieces created as early as 500 B.C.

The pieces above illustrate two treatments of kumboo achieving a different finish. The lighter piece shows the gold applied followed by a polish.

For the darker one, I then oxidised the metal and burnt the oxidisation off. This treatment changed the shade of the gold from yellow to reddish. Finally, I oxidised the piece again turning any silver black.

It is work in progress and I shall continue to experiment.

1 Comment on "Working with kumboo"

  1. They are stunning!

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