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Laboratory Activities


These activities are included to provide hands-on experiences of some of the concepts discussed in earlier sections of this publication.

Displacement Plating
In the sixteenth century it became fashionable to add a layer of silver onto brass clock dials using the process of displacement plating that is described in the procedure below.

Hands-Free Silver Polishing
When silver objects are exposed to pollutants normally found in air, they gradually become dull and discolored. This darkening of silver is called tarnishing.

Determination of Gold Karat
Gold jewelry is made in a variety of alloys, ranging from pure gold to less than half gold by weight. Pure gold is called 24 karat or 24 K; 75% gold (by weight) is 18 K; and 50% gold is 12 K.

Museum Activities


These activities offer students the opportunity to examine works of art that have been created and decorated with the techniques discussed in earlier sections of this publication.

Hunting For False Damascene
Study the steps in creating false damascene decoration, then search around the gallery for an object made by the technique.

Practice Using Scientific Language
Challenge yourself by trying this activity in the American art galleries of a museum. First, look for a gallery that holds a variety of objects made out of metal.

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