It is useful to consider the look of commercial jewelry in order to understand and appreciate the varied surfaces created by the contemporary goldsmith. Traditional gold work is nearly all made by casting. When an element, or an entire piece, is removed from the mold, it is buffed or polished on a wheel to remove any roughness resulting from the casting process. The polishing also brings out the gleam of the metal. Fourteen-karat gold, the standard for most jewelry purchased in the United States, is a relatively hard alloy that permits the jeweler to buff the surface to a polish. The shiny, reflective look has come to be thought of as “real gold.” But when a higher-karat gold is used, there is a lushness to the color of the metal that obviates the need for a bright surface. The higher the karat, the richer the yellow color, but the alloy is softer and less tolerant of polishing. For both practical and esthetic reasons, jewelers who work in high-karat gold often prefer to work the surface by a variety of mechanical and chemical methods. In the process, they achieve “signature” textures that can be read by those familiar with the work the way an art connoisseur can recognize the brush strokes of an Old Master.
KeywordsHard Alloy Gold Wire Brush Stroke Gold Jewelry Wedding Ring
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