Gold Toner : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

1) Is Gold toning as toxic as Selenium? 2) Am I right in thinking that the results are more blue/black than Selenium?

-- Yaakov Asher Sinclair (, April 03, 2001


(1) I don't really know about the toxicity question, though they are both heavy metals--I suspect they are equally bad. (2) Yes, the results with a thiocyanate-based gold toner will be blue-black. Gold toners tone the entire image at once (unlike selenium, which tones the the areas of greatest density first), so instead of a contrast increase you get an overall density increase. You must print lighter to compensate. Also, the gold toners have no effect on most cold- tone bromide papers. You must use them on a warm-tone paper--and the result will be to make the image quite cold-toned. Some people consider this a waste of time, but you often get better gradation (certainly different, anyway) with a warm-tone paper.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, April 03, 2001.

Yaakoov, with regard to the toxicity of gold toners its probably safer to use the ready mixed toner rather then mix your own from formulae. For the two and three bath formulae use Thiourea (Thiocarbomide) which is a known carcinogen. Incidentally this chemical is used in some sepia toners and grat care must be taken in its use. If you do decide to mix from formulae (there are several published), wear gloves, eye protection, do not inhale its dust, and wash down the work surface after use. Having said that gold toner is effective on 'high-key' images if not over toned, the delicate 'pearl-grey' tones are most effective on prints of mist and snow. Take great care, regards,

-- Trevor Crone (, April 03, 2001.

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