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"À quatre couleurs" French for "in four colors". Gold of 4 (sometimes 3 or 5) different shades, used simultaneously in a piece of jewelry. The shades so used were usually green, gold, red gold, white gold, and blue gold. The technique involves inlaying and soldering each different colour in layers.
It became fashionable after c. 1750, although it had been used previously. It is most attractive when the inlays are decorated with chasing in relief so that the planes can be differentiated. The leading exponents were French, of whom one of high reputation was Jean Ducrollay.
Early goldwork used the technique sparingly but later it was used for borders and for overall decoration on some snuffboxes.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson