Now, I am not talking about a golden glow that overtakes the sword itself. I'm not looking for a Lightsaber. I'm talking about a sword that is silver in color giving off a golden reflection (or refraction) from light, whether artificial or natural. No magic, no special technology in the sword itself (i.e. don't use nanobots or gizmos... it just needs to be a regular sword), no voodoo/hoodoo/owo. Just a sword made from existing materials with special finishes and processes if necessary.

  • An answer is good if it can get this effect. The best answer can do so and still be combat-worthy.

Can a silver-colored sword be designed to reflect a golden light naturally?

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    $\begingroup$ Silver can reflect nearly all visible wavelengths of light equally well. Just put it near a yellow light source... $\endgroup$ – nzaman Mar 20 at 13:41
  • $\begingroup$ What you are asking for sounds logically impossible. An object's glow is it's color. What something could have is to look like a different color under a specific angles. $\endgroup$ – Andrey Mar 20 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ Color metamerism. The sword reflects different colors depending on the angle of incidence of the light. Metamerism is sometimes (or even, usually) considered a defect, but it is sometimes intentional -- for example for expensive textiles or automobile paints. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Mar 20 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ Silver can be polished to mirror shine and can reflect whatever is giving off light. Is this sword real silver or a silver like metal because silver is very heavy and soft and makes very poor swords. $\endgroup$ – farmersteve Mar 20 at 13:59
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    $\begingroup$ The colour we see is the light reflected from it. Therefore if it appears gold, it is gold in colour and therefore not silver in colour. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Mar 20 at 14:06

People like to do stuff like this with their cars. It is called shimmer paint.

Here is an example of a silvery white car with gold shimmer treatment. When it catches the light it glows gold.

glitter gold car

These treatments involve small shiny metallic flakes of the desired color. They are not numerous enough to uniformly color the surface, but they are reflective such that in certain light they lend their color (read absorb / reflect light) to the substrate.

One could accomplish this with a sword by rolling the gold flake onto it. Some adhesive would help. As I understand they did the car with some sort of film, which probably helps keep the flake oriented correctly.

Hopefully this gold glowy sword is not your main monster hacking sword, but more your parade sunset glowy gold make the crowd cheer sword. I worry hacking will take the surface treatment off pretty quick.

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    $\begingroup$ This is a great idea! In diffuse light, the color of the bulk of the material dominates. In directional light, the specular reflections of the flakes dominate. Fits the requirements perfectly! $\endgroup$ – AlexP Mar 20 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, now that's actually a cool thought. I never would have considered this. xD Great idea! +1 $\endgroup$ – Sora Tamashii Mar 21 at 13:57
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    $\begingroup$ And a nice dull silver metal (say, carbon rich steel) with bright flakes in it would still be a viable weapon! $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Mar 21 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ I'm giving you the Best Answer as I think this, in combination with @JoeBloggs's comment, it may be a great answer. :) $\endgroup$ – Sora Tamashii Mar 26 at 23:40

Well, you answered your own question - Silver will reflect a golden light naturally. Just put anything golden up to a mirror. A mirror is silver while the light that bounces from your golden thing will be golden.

Silver is not silver. It REFLECTS the part of light that appears to the viewer as silver just as gold reflects the part of the spectrum that appear as gold to the viewer.

Silver has very good reflectivity and that's why it appears "white", it bounces almost all light that fall on it, while gold has bad (worse) reflectivity at short wavelengths. That's why it appears yellow (it blocks, colors that have short wavelength while reflecting the ones with longer ones).

So just shine any color you want on your silver and it will be appear to be THAT color.


Pretty simple really. The light is golden, it's reflecting something that's golden OR it's NOT just "silver".

And I am firmly in the camp of it not being just silver.

Because silver as a metal makes a TERRIBLE sword. It is way, way too soft to be an effective sword.

Now if you're just talking "silver-colored" like a standard steel sword, Welllll, you just said that it was silver colored. That's like asking how a room painted a color can be...another color. But really, silver isn't a color, it's mainly reflective.

You don't say if you want this to be true all the time, or if you want it to be circumstantial. If it's circumstantial, then it can reflect surroundings, the quality of the light at the time.

Otherwise you gotta mix in another color/metal. That can change the composition.

Now, as to the sword itself--here's a video on how shiny Medieval swords were: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7ZbbFpschk Pretty neat.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 For the consideration of both metal and color (for people looking for either), the consideration of frequency, and the scholagladitoria link. (More of a shadiversity fan myself, but this was a neat video!) Wish I could give you more plusses, one for each thing. $\endgroup$ – Sora Tamashii Mar 26 at 23:28

I would suggest a Liver of Sulfur patina

Colors develop one after the other: gold, green, pink, blues, purples, grays and finally black. If the water is warm or the metal is warm, the process is greatly speeded up. When you are trying to achieve a specific color, the cooler the water, the more likely you are to lock in the color you wanted. The way an item is dipped will also make a difference. If an item is dipped sideways, the colors will be streaked. If an item is dipped face down, more vibrant colors will appear there than on the other side. If an item is turned over and viewed after dipping, (but before neutralizing) the colors will continue to develop and often will pool in places, leaving a mottled appearance.

It is a method that is quite simple to use, although it takes a bit of experience to get the desired color correct. The patina is only on the surface, requiring no changes to the actual composition of the sword. A caveat would be in any alloys that are used in the silver to strengthen it, reacting differently to the chemical.

To highlight the effect, microgrooves could be made throughout the sword surface. These groves would produce angled surfaces that would reflect light in different directions. If they were concentric, the effect would be to focus them and highlight them when looked at from a particular perspective. Potentially bright flashes of gold color on a silver background.

But a digression here - the photons 'reflected' from a surface are NOT the same photons that are incident to it. The incident photons are absorbed by the material, and re-transmitted. Usually, this is instantaneous, but the process can be delayed. Also, in some cases such as fluorescence, the incident UV photons are re-transmitted at another frequency. There is no quantum necessity for the re-transmitted photon to be exactly the same as the incident photon, if the substance can either supply energy or absorb energy such that the re-transmitted photon has a different energy level than the incident photon.

"The quantum dot can act as a true single photon source," says Srinivasan. "Each time we excite the dot, it subsequently releases that energy as a single photon. In the past, we had little control over the wavelength of that photon, but now we can generate a single photon of one color on demand, transmit it over long distances with fiber optics, and convert it to another color."


There are two types of reflection - scaterring (paper-like) and specular (mirror like). It is perfectly possible to make something with one colour of scaterring reflection and a different colour of specular reflection, so your sword could look matt silver but reflect light with a golden hue (even if the incident light is white).

  1. The sword (made of a good steel) has a roughened surface. For example through some form of abrasive blasting or chemical etching.

  2. A transparent coating should be applied. This should be optically thick so there are no interference effects between the surface of this coating and the metal underneath. An example might be physical vapour deposition of something like SiO2. This would take a while to get a thick coating, there may be other processes to deposit faster in this case.

  3. Now a multilayer thin film stack, for example of alternating TiO2 and SiO2 (both are hard) with thicknesses designed to produce the desired coloured reflection.

The outer layers are hard, and the colour of the specular reflection will vary with angle. If you want it to vary less then use higher refractive index layers in the coating (more expensive, might be softer. TiO2 is nice and hard).

  • $\begingroup$ +1 for a detailed explanation of how to do this. $\endgroup$ – Sora Tamashii Mar 26 at 23:28

Light that travels from a light source, reflects off a blade then reflects off a sheet of white paper to your eye will have the same color as the same light source bouncing off the blade your eye. So changing the color of the source light will change the color of the light you see, but there is no way to make the color bouncing off the page to be different then looking at the blade it's self.

BUT there is hope.

Depending on context, you may be able to coat it in a Fluorescing material. Calcium, Lead, and Zinc Silicates can all produce a yellow glow when exposed to black lights.

You also could mix your silver with titanium or niobium and use anodization to give your silver weapon a golden color.

  • $\begingroup$ You contradict yourself, 'but there is no way to make the color bouncing off the page to be different then looking at the blade it's self.' vs 'can all produce a yellow glow when exposed to black lights'. The scientific truth is, the 'reflected' light does NOT have to be the same frequency as the 'incident' light. You clearly identified this. A yellow 'reflected' light from a UV 'incident' light. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Mar 21 at 2:47

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