Study notes for learning reticulation technique

Excerpted from the handout prepared by Giò Carbone for the exclusive use of LAO© teachers and students.

Reticulation is a technique of deforming surfaces by fire: by heating a properly prepared surface in a controlled manner, it wrinkles, creating sharp contrasts, ridges, and depressions.

Finland’s Heikki Seppa in “Metals Technic: A Collection of Techniques for Metalsmiths,” says this method of texturing first appeared in the late 1800s in tsarist Russia, where court goldsmiths, including Fabergé, created objects with cross-linking decoration.

Many of Fabergé’s craftsmen were Finnish, and when the Fabergé studios closed during the Bolshevik Revolution, the Finns brought the technique back home and from there it spread throughout Scandinavia. Seppa then helped popularize the technique in the United States.


The best results are obtained by using a special silver alloy, but good results are also obtained on yellow gold alloys, and some work with brass as well. In any case it takes a lot of practice, patience, and great mastery in the use of open flames.

The silver sheet to be reticulated must undergo successive passes of surface enrichment, so as to create an outer “shell” of pure silver: this means that the inside of the sheet will consist of an alloy that melts at a lower temperature than the outer “shell.” 

Under the action of heat, this inner mass begins to melt and dislodge the outer crust, almost as happens with the earth’s crust when subterranean upheavals occur. 

The results are not all predictable, and it will be almost impossible to get the same result twice.

How to use cross-linking plates?

Contrary to what many people think, it is possible, though difficult, to use reticulated sheets for subsequent construction and assembly. One must pay close attention to the welds, and that is to learn how to heat the object under construction, going so far as to melt the weld, but without overheating the object beyond what is strictly necessary, so as not to “collapse” the cross-linked parts.

Keep in mind that reticulated sheets are particularly brittle, so be careful when you want to warp/bend/bow them, as they may break.


Very short courses on this technique are taught at school by Giò Carbone, along with other techniques, such as Keum-boo and Nunome-Zogan

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