Florence Resnikoff Designs

Creative Processes

Definitions and background of terms used in the descriptions of the creation of jewelry and art objects.

Electroforming: This is an electro-chemical process which some of you may be familiar with, if you have ever needed to resurface a worn silver spoon. At a low voltage the object is placed in a bath containing the metal needed in solution, and ions of the metal are attracted to the area needed. This process is accomplished in a few minutes. In Electroforming, however the plating process extends to several days until the object is built up to a thickness of a durable gauge. Wax is usually used to create a complex art form which is then made conductive, so that it will be attractive to the metallic ions in solution, When the metallic object is thick enough, the wax is melted out and the electroform is treated like any fabricated form.

The metallurgy of Keum Boo or colloidal diffusion. When two or more metals combine, it is called an alloy, and a process called eutectics takes place, where the new metal achieves a melting point lower than that of the individual metals.

In antiquity native gold contained up to 15% silver of other metals, this brought the melting point down and made joining and soldering relatively easy. Contemporary metalsmiths analyzed Hellenistic gold which was found in hordes, and were able to identify much of their technology.

In colloidal diffusion, one pure metal was placed against another in an atmosphere of heat and pressure. Over a period of continual pressure, ions of one metal migrated into the other and vice versa, until they became one alloy, with a new melting point. Korean goldsmiths brought this process back to the attention of jewelry within the last 8 years, and we keep the Korean name: Keum Boo.

Anodization is the use of an electrochemical process to deposit an oxide layer on the surface of metal. In metallurgy, the terms anodization and oxidation are used interchangeably, since an oxide layer can also be achieved in some metals through heat, or the passage of time in the atmosphere.

However in dealing with the refractory metals, titanium, tantalum and niobium, all elements, their oxide layers have the property of creating "interference colors" with each layer a different color depending on the voltage to which the metal is exposed. We use this effect to create designs and patterns in rich glowing colors in jewelry and art objects.