This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
In order to regenerate dead gold trinkets without having to color them again—which is, as a rule, impossible, because the gold is too weak to stand a second coloring—it is advisable to copper these articles over before gilding them. After the copper has deposited all over, the object, well cleaned and scratched, is hung in the gilding. By this manipulation much time and vexation is saved, such as every jeweler will have experienced in gilding mat gold articles. The article also acquires a faultless new appearance. Here are two recipes for the preparation of copper baths:
Dissolve crystallized verdigris, 20 parts, by weight, and potassium cyanide, 42 parts, in 1,000 parts of boiling water.
This can only be accomplished by the electric process. The
fiber is first rendered conductive by impregnation with silver nitrate solution and reduction of same with grape sugar and diluted alkali, or, best of all, with Raschig's reduction salt. In place of the silver nitrate, a solution of lead acetate or copper acetate may be employed. The silk thus impregnated is treated in the solution of an alkaline sulphide, e. g., sodium sulphide, ammonium sulphide, or else with hydrogen sulphide, thus producing a conductive coating of metallic sulphide. Upon this gold can be precipitated by electrodeposition in the usual way.
Gilding in spots, producing a very fine appearance, is done by putting a thin coat of oil on those parts of the metal where the gilding is not to appear; the gold will then be deposited in those spots only where there is no oil, and the oil is easily removed when the work is finished.
Pure gold is dissolved in aqua regia; the solution is allowed to evaporate until the acid in excess has gone. The precipitate is placed in clean water, 3 times the quantity of sulphuric acid is added and the whole left to stand for 24 hours in a well-closed flask, until the ethereal gold solution floats on top. By moistening polished steel with the solution a very handsome gilding is obtained. By the application of designs with any desired varnish the appearance of a mixture of gold and steel may be imparted to the article.