Placing tiny gold ball on a gold surface was well known 4,500 - 5,000 years ago. The first pieces found at Ur were very sophistacated and the process was probably started 500 years before. Granulation has been practiced in every culture down to about the 12 century.

The ancient technique of granulation involves placing tiny spheres of metal (granules), onto metal surfaces (parent metal) to form a pattern or design and fusing them there without the benefit of solder. It is an extremely time-consuming, labor intensive process.

*The appeal of good granulation work is dependent on the size and shape of the granules which ideally should be perfectly spherical, on the regularity of their arrangement on the parent metal and on the method of joining them to it. The joining process should not leave any visible traces so that even the tiniest granules seem to adhere invisibly to the parent metal. In genuine granulation work, this is accomplished without the use of metallic solder and without melting the metal. Technically, granulation is possible in silver, copper and even in brass, but it is only in gold that the most subtle as well as the most spectacular effects can be achieved.

**Although throughout history several different processes have been used to attach the granules to the base, contemporary goldsmiths employ the method that uses copper in some form on the surface of the metal which, when heated almost to the melting point, forms a eutectic alloy that binds the granules to the base. This happens in a split second so that if the torch is held on the piece just a moment too long, it will melt, losing the clarity and precision and delicacy for which this technique is known and treasured.

By Jochem Wolters

**Jean Stark

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