Saturday, January 23, 2010

Gold Leaf

I'm working on a new take on a old collection of mine: amulets. Once constructed of nickel silver and 18k gold, these new pieces are sterling silver. Currently, the price of gold keeps the lovely metal far out of my reach....I type this with a longing sigh. I LOVE to work gold and add this precious element to my jewelry....especially my amulets. After working with cranky sterling (yes, it is cranky) and even more tough and unruly nickel silver, gold is like butt-ah. And that color, ahhh....

Enter 24k gold leaf. I certainly can't hammer, solder, or bend the leaf, but I can apply it where a piece needs a bit of that golden aura. Tricky to use, gold leaf is thin....amazingly thin. A slight air current from a hand movement or exhaling breath will cause a piece to buckle and tear.

I tore small pieces and used tweezers to transport the leaf to the base of this bezel (the oils on my hands caused it to adhere immediately to my fingertips....I quickly switched to the tweezers). I applied the gold leaf to a sticky, slight coating of epoxy. Ages ago, gilders used the fresh oils straight from the garlic clove as a size. I considered this as an option, but the pungent odor would not be a good selling point.

Finished piece!! I set a quartz cabochon into the bezel and got that splash of gold that this amulet needed. I'm experimenting with gold leaf again today!! Wish me luck!