Ormolu - Encyclopedia

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ORMOLU (Fr. or moulu, gold ground or pounded), an alloy of copper and zinc, sometimes with an addition of tin. The name is also used to describe gilded brass or copper. The tint of ormolu approximates closely to that of gold; it is heightened by a wash of gold lacquer, by immersion in dilute sulphuric acid, or by burnishing. The principal use of ormolu is for the mountings of furniture. With it the great French ebenistes of the 18th century obtained results which, in the most finished examples, are almost as fine as jewelers' work. The mounts were usually cast and then chiselled with extraordinary skill and delicacy.

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