August 20, 2014 1 min read
Keum-boo is an ancient Korean gilding technique
meaning "attached gold". It is also popular in the Japanese
& Chinese cultures and can be traced back to even the Romans and
Greeks. This technique is accomplished by applying thin
sheets of gold to silver. In order to achieve
keum-boo you deplete the surface of the sterling silver to
bring up a thin layer of fine silver. Then you apply 24
carat gold foil with heat and pressure producing a bond-- which
is technically called diffusion bonding.
Precious metals like gold and silver have a very similar atomic makeup and therefore work well using the keum-boo technique. Keum-boo begins with a hot plate being heated approx. 500-700 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature gold is placed on a hot plate and manipulated carefully with burnishers. Pressure is applied in addition to the heat and will allow it to be manipulated for design creation. Once satisfied with the design the piece is cooled naturally - on a steel bench block. After it is cooled completely, the item is cleaned lightly with a wire brush to remove the oxidation and then finished by polishing or oxidizing the silver for a higher contrast look. What a beautiful result!
Suzanne Q Evon uses keum-boo as part of her metal-smithing techniques in her Q EVON jewelry designs. Here are some of Q's beautiful jewelry pieces featuring the KEUM-BOO technique.
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