Shakudo is an alloy of copper and gold. It comprises of 4% of gold and 96% of copper. It has a dark blue-purple patina for which it is mostly designed. The term Shakudo is also used to describe damascened decorative objects made in Japan.
Manufacturing of Shakudo
Shakudo is obtained by combining 4% gold with 96% copper. This ratio may vary and a type with 7% gold and 93% copper has also been found. In certain occasions, other metals are added in small amounts. The color of Shakudo may change when treated with certain suitable solutions. Shakudo can be darkened by keeping it in a plastic bag containing a solution of ammonia and salt. The methods adapted for coloring Shakudo are based on metallurgy rather than on the solutions used.
Shakudo has a dark blue color. A purplish black color is obtained when it is treated with an appropriate solution.
Shakudo was introduced to the Western civilization during the middle of the 19th century. During that time, Shakudo was thought to be unknown outside Asia. However, modern researchers suggest that decorative alloy metals similar to Shakudo were in use in ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt. There are strong evidences suggesting that the technique of producing Shakudo was originally found in the West and then gradually moved towards the East. However, later on when the metal was reintroduced in the West; it was perceived to be a product of Japanese technology.
The Shakudo alloy is often used to make fine jewelry and ornaments. Jewelry pieces like rings, bracelets, brooches, buttons, butterfly necklaces, earrings and pendants are made from this metal. Other valuable collective items made of this metal include cigarette cases, flower vases, swords, dresses, ingots, Shakudo Fuchi Kashira, dragon tsubas and vintage jewelry.