This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
Genuine gold bronze is produced from the waste and parings obtained in gold beating. The parings, etc., are ground with honey or a gum solution, upon a glass plate or under hard granite stones, into a very fine powder, which is repeatedly washed out with water and dried. There are various shades of gold bronze, viz., red, reddish, deep yellow, pale yellow, as well as greenish. These tints are caused by the various percentages of gold or the various mixtures of the gold with silver and copper.
By the use of various salt solutions or acidulated substances other shades can be imparted to bronze. In water containing sulphuric acid, nitric acid, or hydrochloric acid, it turns a bright yellow; by treatment with a solution of crystallized verdigris or blue vitriol in water it assumes more of a reddish hue; other tints are obtained with the aid of cooking salt, tartar, green vitriol, or saltpeter in water.
Gold bronze is also obtained by dissolving gold in aqua regia and mixing with a solution of green vitriol in water, whereupon the gold falls down as a metallic powder which may be treated in different ways. The green vitriol, however, must be dissolved in boiling water and mixed in a glass, drop by drop, with sulphuric acid and stirred until the basic iron sulphate separating in flakes has re-dissolved. Another way of producing gold bronze is by dissolving gold in aqua regia and evaporating the solution in a porcelain dish. When it is almost dry add a little pure hydrochloric acid and repeat this to drive out all the free chlorine and to produce a pure hydrochlorate of gold. The gold salt is dissolved in distilled water, taking 0.5 liter per ducat (3.5 grams fine gold); into this solution drop, while stirring by means of a glass rod, an 8° solution (by Beaumé) of antimony chloride, as long as a precipitate forms. This deposit is gold bronze, which, dried after removal of all liquids, is chiefly employed in painting, for bronzing, and for china and glass decoration.
Metallic gold powder is, furthermore, obtained by dissolving pure and alloyed gold in aqua regia and precipitating it again by an electro-positive metal, such as iron or zinc, which is placed in the liquid in the form of rods. The gold is completely separated thereby. The rods must be perfectly clean and polished bright. The color of the gold bronze depends upon the proportions of the gold. In order to further increase the brilliancy the dried substance may still be ground.