Monday, June 22, 2015

Word of the Day -- Ormolu

Ormolu (from French or moulu, signifying ground or pounded gold) is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-carat gold-mercury amalgam to an object of bronze.

The mercury is driven off in a kiln leaving behind a gold-colored veneer. The French refer to this technique as bronze doré; in English, it is known as "gilt bronze".

The manufacture of true ormolu employs a process known as mercury-gilding or fire-gilding, in which a solution of nitrate of mercury is applied to a piece of copper, brass, or bronze; followed by the application of an amalgam of gold and mercury. The item is then exposed to extreme heat until the mercury burns off and the gold remains, adhering to the metal object.

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