Depletion Gilding: An Ancient Method for Surface Enrichment of Gold Alloys

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Sparavigna, Amelia Carolina

Depletion Gilding: An Ancient Method for Surface Enrichment of Gold Alloys Journal Article

Mechanics, Materials Science & Engineering, 2 (1), pp. 99-105, 2016, ISSN: 2412-5954.

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Author: Amelia Carolina Sparavigna

ABSTRACT. Ancient objects made of noble metal alloys, that is, gold with copper and/or silver, can show the phenomenon of surface enrichment. This phenomenon is regarding the composition of the surface, which has a percentage of gold higher than that of the bulk. This enrichment is obtained by a depletion of the other elements of the alloy, which are, in some manner, removed. This depletion gilding process was used by pre-Columbian populations for their “tumbaga”, a gold-copper alloy, to give it the luster of gold.

Keywords: gilding, depletion gilding, gold-copper alloys, Tumbaga, gold-silver-copper alloys, electrum, archaeological artefacts, gold-copper nanoparticles, nanoporous gold

DOI 10.13140/RG.2.1.2329.4485

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