Gilding the house with gold in the form of furniture, fixtures or accessories is a trend that comes and goes. Now it is back again.
Adding a touch of gold makes any table setting look elegant, as it blends beautifully with black, ivory and about any fine-china pattern. It also has become quite acceptable to combine gold with silver, particularly in flatware. Other gold touches that can be added include gold-painted chargers or underliners, available in lacquered wood, which create a luscious effect in table settings, or gold place mats, which are effective in more casual settings. Usually the place mats are made of gold-plated acrylic.
Price Is Right
Twenty-four-karat gold-rimmed or gold-striped wine glasses have classic appeal, but they usually are expensive. Priced right, however, is a handsome grouping of gold-trimmed glassware from Crate & Barrel. Called the Aurora Gold Series, the glasses were created by a German designer exclusively for Crate & Barrel and are made by a glass manufacturer in Poland.
The series consists of a Champagne flute ($7.95), a shorter European cocktail or wine-cooler glass ($5.95) and a stemmed dessert bowl ($7.50). Although they are not full-lead crystal, the Aurora Gold glasses are made of fine, superclear glass with hand-painted, gleaming gold bases.
Another exclusive from Crate & Barrel that's appropriate for a holiday or party table is a punch-bowl set with cups and handle called Paula ($99.95 for set, $192.50 for open stock). Hand-blown, hand-painted and refired, the set was designed by Jorna Vennola and manufactured in Finland by Iittalia. Made of no-lead glass, it is good quality and crystal-clear with the endurance a lead-based glass provides. The eight punch cups have unusual removable gold-plate handles.
The need to revive such small immersible gold items as flatware, napkin rings, collectibles and jewelry to renew glitter in the home was anticipated by Sheffield Plate Polish Co. in Illinois. Just flowing into housewares shops and jewelry stores is their Gold Solution Bath, a home gold-plating formula that contains 24-karat gold. Now you can quickly plate and replate gold or gold plate or even change something in silver or silver-plate, brass, bronze, copper or nickel into a gold-plated item.
According to the manufacturer, the Gold Solution Bath ($29.95 for 5.1 fluid ounces) is safe for most jewelry and will not chip, flake or peel. The gold layer adheres evenly to the surface without forming ridges or lines. Simple to use, the product works this way: Place the item to be plated in the bailer basket with the solution activator disk and immerse in the Gold Solution Bath for 30 to 90 seconds. After a rinse in warm water and a dry buff with a soft cloth, the items look like new.
The manufacturer is the same outfit that introduced the Silver Solution product ($12.95 for a 3.5-ounce bottle) last year. An instant hit, this nontoxic silver plating and replating formula quickly polishes and restores all worn, damaged and tarnished silver plate and sterling. Not only that, a wipe-on/wipe-off solution silver-plates most base metals, including brass, copper, bronze and nickel, adding pure silver with each application.
Also available from Sheffield Plate Polish Co. are the Gold and Silver Maintenance Solutions ($12.95 for each 3.5-ounce bottle). The formula can be used regularly to polish and clean gold and silver pieces. Another new product from Sheffield is the Polivit Tarnish Removal System, which is ideal for cleaning silver and gold, stainless steel and pewter items. A small amount of the solution, when in contact with the provided Polivit metal plate activator and warm water, restores the shine and removes normal dirt and tarnish within minutes. Stubborn stains require a little rubbing with a cloth or brush while immersed in the cleaning liquid.
Gold is not only beautiful but it is functional too. A gold coffee filter has been playing an important role in good coffee production. The Krups GoldFilter ($24) is a cone-shaped, 23.7-karat, gold-plated microscreen that filters out bitter-tasting sediments from brewed coffee. It cleans easily under running water, so it's a great, long-lasting alternative to disposable paper filters. The gold filter comes in sizes to fit the small- or large-size Krups coffee makers.
The Aurora Gold Series glassware and Paula punch bowl set are available at Crate & Barrel.
Krups GoldFilter is available at Williams Sonoma and Robinson's.
The Sheffield metal cleaning products are available at Hunt's China Crystal and Silver (Ventura) and May Co.