Materials & Techniques
An alloy is the mixture of two or more compatible metals, either naturally occurring or made by melting the two together to form a homogeneous mass. The alloy usually possesses different physical characteristics, such as hardness, malleability, and melting temperature, than its separate components.
For example, ancient gold jewelry was usually made from a deliberate mixture of gold with a smaller percentage of silver. Ancient gold artifacts that have been buried show an enriched surface because the silver and other metals in the alloy react to the acidic burial environment.
- Kevin Tucker, DMA unpublished material, Gallery text.
- Barbara Deppert-Lippitz, with contributions from Anne R. Bromberg and John Dennis, Ancient Gold Jewelry at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art in association with the University of Washington Press, 1996), 20.