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Gilding & Platining

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Our products are gilded with real 24-carate Gold and with real pure Platinum. Let’s have a look on the process of precious metal application a little bit closer.

 

This ugly substance is liquid gold. Well… it is not the most poetic sight on the “most perfect metal” like in the jewellery, but it is gold. To conjunct beauty of glass and gold we have to “decompose” the gold into "ugly" brown matter.
 

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Gustav Meyrink writes in one of his mystic story, that in the hundred years old sewers of Prague were found in the smelling mass pieces of strange yellow wax or honey-like matter, which smelled very pleasantly and tasted sweetly. After annealing in the oven the substance turned into the gold.

 

The story symbolizes that decomposition and mystical death is step further to perfection. From ugly matter, which decomposes, emerge strange substance, which is turned into the beautiful gold. No wonder that decomposition (putrefaction) is first basic operation of lapis philosophorum creation. Alchemic decomposition symbolizes that we can achieve beauty and excellence just if we accept ugliness and inferiority. “Putrefactio est omnium rerum mater“ – decomposition is Mother of all the things, tells the alchemic proverb.

 

Strange Meyrink’s story can have the realistic background. Each organic corpus has a little amount of gold inside. The gold is bounded usually in semi-organic complex substances. These substances can be expelled out of body via excrements. After hundreds years this matter could accumulate in the sewer’s meanders in the noticeable amount. When putted into the oven, the wax-like gold semi-organic matter (real alchemistic amalgam) turns into the gold, because non-gold particles reacted and turned into a gas.

 

Characteristics of our liquid gold are very similar to Meyrink’s strange matter. The liquid golden amalgam (decomposed gold) we are using is in fact the complex semi-organic gold solution based on golden trichlorid (so no cyanide, no mercury). Liquid platinum is based on chlorides too. Therefore we use for that substance old alchemic term “amalgam” in a way to express that organic substance and metal can perfectly coalescent into “the one” substance.

 

The result - the organic golden amalgam – finally smells very pleasantly. Like a candy or like some mixture of honey and resin. The color is transparent brown.

 

The semi-organic golden amalgam, which we use for gilding, is prepared in different gold concentration levels. Usual concentrations are 80-120g of pure gold per 1000g of golden amalgam. Each concentration of gold is used for different purpose because it has a different behavior.

 

 

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Golden amalgam is then applied on the glass with the brushes. The best brushes for gilding are usually made from the squirrel’s hair.

 

Painting of the glass with brushes isn’t easy. Painters have to guide their tools to provide uniform layer of golden amalgam. All the brush pulls have to be made in ways to prevent microscopic air bubbles or layers creation. Whole golden amalgam layer has to merge into one smooth monolith.

 

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Golden layer on the glass has color of honey (see picture on the left). It has to be evaluated in the oven into pure 24-carate metal. “Gold is purified in the fire”, tells the alchemic proverb. Glass covered with the golden or platinum substance needs to be closed into the oven and burned.

 

Burning process is 16 hour operation. Gilded glass has to slowly go through all the points of burning temperature curve. Burning & Cooling process is exactly controlled by a computer. At lower temperatures are organic components of amalgam evaporated. At higher temperatures is golden chloride transformed into the pure gold. Temperature often crosses 600°C. After reaching the hottest point of the burning curve, slowly cooling process starts. If is glass cooled too quickly, it is full of invisible cracks and pressures. If computer notice a mistake, burn has to be repeated to release the invisible press. 

 

 

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If the gold doesn’t evaluate well, gold is corrected (regilded) by the painters and goes to the oven again and again till it is not excellent. Different gold layers sometimes react each with other in the oven. This creates different golden “maps”, which are undesirable. Correction often needs another corrections. The repairing process is therefore sometimes very demanding. No wonder if you receive your product with many golden layers.

 

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 If some hardware mistake occurs during the burning, computer stops the process. But it can be sometimes too late. Then you find something like Dali’s liquid space-time in the oven. Precious material and lots of work is totally destroyed. The material is full of presses and “shoots” – it explodes if touched. Then we have to take special suite, gloves and shield and carefully remove the surrealistic matter.

 

Finally, layer of pure metallic gold or platinum rests on the surface of the glass and creates perfect product.

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Customers sometimes ask if the layer of Gold or Platinum is toxic. Metallic pure gold (or platinum) is inert and therefore not soluble in body liquids and goes out from the human body together with the excrements. Metallic gold or platinum is therefore recognized as eatable. Leaf of metallic gold is used as edible food decoration and has its food additive number – E175.

 

But the best answer is that theoretically long term consumption of great amounts of metallic gold or platinum can cause serious chronic diseases. But you have to eat really lots of gold. Symptoms are similar to heavy metals intoxications. 

 

On the other hand, alchemists and homeopaths uses microscopic amount of gold for increase the “potency” of their elixirs. They say that few atoms of perfect metal per liter “spiritually mark” the elixir as perfect.

 

Astra Gold’s golden and platinum layer is covered with protection layer, which prevents precious metal releasing. But we think that few atoms of gold or platinum are in your drink always present.