Place one part of gold in a small iron saucepan or ladle, perfectly clean, then add 8 parts of mercury, and apply a gentle heat, when the gold will dissolve; agitate the mixture for one minute, and pour it out on a clean plate or stone slab.
For gilding brass, copper etc. The metal to be gilded is first rubbed over with a solution of nitrate of mercury, and then covered with a very thin film of the amalgam. On heat being applied the mercury volatilizes, leaving the gold behind.
A much less proportion of gold is often employed than the above, where a very thin and cheap gilding is required, as by increasing the quantity of the mercury, the precious metal may be extended over a much larger surface. A similar amalgam prepared with silver is used for silvering.