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Gold RADwJ erinnerungsbrosche good or bad
Old 06-09-2019, 06:48 AM   #1
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Default Gold RADwJ erinnerungsbrosche good or bad

Hi Guys,

I have this gold grade brosche in Very good condition and I would like to know if its good or not. A mate of mine pointed out that the gold finish is not correct and that these might even not exsisted.
Thnx in advance
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:42 AM   #2
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By exception i make another post here on brooches, as WAF is not the place to get any real information anymore on items like this. You know where you could better post it.

Also i am that mate, so there you go

This brooch started out as an original zinc RAD brooch that was fake gold gilded (better said: gold sprayed).

You have to keep in mind the production processes to make such a gold brooch. At the time (before 1945) gold gilded happened by fire gilding. I could type a long post explaining it, but it's all available online:

Fire-gilding or Wash-gilding is a process by which an amalgam of gold is applied to metallic surfaces, the mercury being subsequently volatilized, leaving a film of gold or an amalgam containing 13 to 16% mercury. In the preparation of the amalgam, the gold must first be reduced to thin plates or grains, which are heated red-hot, and thrown into previously heated mercury, until it begins to smoke. When the mixture is stirred with an iron rod, the gold is totally absorbed. The proportion of mercury to gold is generally six or eight to one. When the amalgam is cold, it is squeezed through chamois leather to separate the superfluous mercury; the gold, with about twice its weight of mercury, remains behind, forming a yellowish silvery mass with the consistency of butter.

When the metal to be gilded is wrought or chased, it ought to be covered with mercury before the amalgam is applied, that this may be more easily spread; but when the surface of the metal is plain, the amalgam may be applied to it directly. When no such preparation is applied, the surface to be gilded is simply bitten and cleaned with nitric acid. A deposit of mercury is obtained on a metallic surface by means of quicksilver water, a solution of mercury(II) nitrate, the nitric acid attacking the metal to which it is applied, and thus leaving a film of free metallic mercury.

The amalgam being equally spread over the prepared surface of the metal, the mercury is then sublimed by a heat just sufficient for that purpose; for, if it is too great, part of the gold may be driven off, or it may run together and leave some of the surface of the metal bare. When the mercury has evaporated, which is known by the surface having entirely become of a dull yellow color, the metal must undergo other operations, by which the fine gold color is given to it. First, the gilded surface is rubbed with a scratch brush of brass wire, until its surface is smooth.

It is then covered with gilding wax, and again exposed to fire until the wax is burnt off. Gilding wax is composed of beeswax mixed with some of the following substances: red ochre, verdigris, copper scales, alum, vitriol, and borax. By this operation the color of the gilding is heightened, and the effect seems to be produced by a perfect dissipation of some mercury remaining after the former operation. The gilt surface is then covered over with potassium nitrate, alum or other salts, ground together, and mixed into a paste with water or weak ammonia. The piece of metal thus covered is exposed to heat, and then quenched in water.

By this method, its color is further improved and brought nearer to that of gold, probably by removing any particles of copper that may have been on the gilt surface. This process, when skillfully carried out, produces gilding of great solidity and beauty, but owing to the exposure of the workmen to mercurial fumes, it is very unhealthy. There is also much loss of mercury to the atmosphere, which brings extremely serious environmental concerns as well.

This method of gilding metallic objects was formerly widespread, but fell into disuse as the dangers of mercury toxicity became known. Since fire-gilding requires that the mercury be volatilized to drive off the mercury and leave the gold behind on the surface, it is extremely dangerous. Breathing the fumes generated by this process can quickly result in serious health problems, such as neurological damage and endocrine disorders, since inhalation is a very efficient route for mercuric compounds to enter the body. This process has generally been supplanted by the electroplating of gold over a nickel substrate, which is more economical and less dangerous.
In short: look at the here shown brooch: very clearly you can see that on the backside under the springrounding is a large piece of the original zinc surface visible. How can this be on an original? This is not possible from wearing (that would be the very last place where the surface gold would have been worn off), and keeping production processes in mind, it would have been gold too if it were originally gilded. Looking more closely we can also clearly see that the underside of the needle (the end so to say) near the springrounding was sprayed gold too, but the rest of the needle is nicely clean. Could this be possible in any original productionproces? No!

These gold brooches were 20 - 30 years ago never available, but if you do a google search now they are readily available everywhere… any alarmbells going off...?
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:54 AM   #3
wilhelm Saris
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The first brooch I found, in the "Brüniert" (a darker grey color) form I got in 1973. A gilded version some years later, but anyway before 1980. It was also in one of the Kahl-books.
The first were from light-weight metals anyway.

Before 1945, in fact the since the mid-1930's, most light-weight metals were gilded according to the Eloxalverfahren and not at all as "Feuervergoldet"! For example stated in letters
from Dicke from late 1936. A cheaper method was gold painted and covered with lacquer.

Last edited by wilhelm Saris; 06-12-2019 at 12:00 PM.
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