Rolled Gold Example

A Bonded Material Used in Antique Jewelry

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Rolled Gold Snake Bracelet by Andreas Daub, Germany. Photo courtesy of Jane H. Clarke/Morning Glory Antiques (www.morninggloryantiques.com)

Rolled gold is a hybrid material, consisting of a thin layer of gold that's mechanically bonded or heat-fused to one or both sides of a base metal (often brass or copper), then rolled out into sheets to create jewelry. The thickness of the gold layer can vary, but is generally at least five percent of the total metal weight (vs. gold-plated, which uses a thinner sheet of gold).

This type of layered gold was patented in England in 1817, and it became a prime source for semi-precious and better-quality costume jewelry in the Victorian era.

Rolld gold saw a renewed surge of popularity in 1920s and 1930s, especially in utilitarian objects such as watches and fountain pens.

English and American 19th-century rolled gold articles might be stamped "Gilt." Designations such as "1/20 12K G.F." or "12 Kt. Gold Filled" indicate a later, 20th-century piece of jewelry or accessory.

Also Known As: gold-filled (a later designation, indicating that the amount of gold be 1/20th of the total weight, as mandated by law), rolled gold plate (generic, can also apply to gold-plated materials containing less than 5% gold)

Example: The 1932 Bulova wristwatch had a beautiful rolled-gold band which, 80 years later, still gleamed with the luster of solid gold.