What is Keum-boo?
What is it?
Keum-boo (literally "attached gold") is an ancient Korean technique for making silver-gilt by adding 24K gold on silver. To begin, the silver object must be heated and quenched multiple times to generate a fine silver layer on the surface, a process known as depletion gilding. The silver object is then heated to a temperature of 260-370°C in a kiln or on a hot surface. Thin sheets of gold are precisely applied with pressure once the surface is heated, resulting in a permanent diffusion bond–mechanical gilding. This is possible because silver and gold have very similar atomic structures and can thus bond well. This method is also widely used in Chinese and Japanese cultures, as well as in the Western world.
About Stelliyah's Keum-boo pieces
Keum-boo is usually done on a flat piece of metal, such as a pendant, however I've applied it primarily in my rings. Because the object is too hot to be held steady by hand, the curves and dips of rings make it a very laborious operation. The gold foil also shreds and crumples easily, limiting my control during application. As a result, one piece normally takes me hours to complete. However, because I am so in love with the final look of a rich gold accent on my pieces that I have decided to keep using this technique. I hope you enjoy my Keum-boo creations as much as I do!