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Keum-Boo | Element Education

August 20, 2014 1 min read

Keum-Boo  | Element Education




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.

Keum-boo jewelry by Q EVON


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