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Gold and Silver Leafing

For more then 7000 years, mankind decorated all sorts of surfaces and items that presented an idealistic value with fine layers of gold. For this purpose gold dust or gold leaf was used.

Vassari (1511 – 1574) writes that a gold coin, 1 Dukaten, was beaten into thin sheets of gold leaf and produced between 120 and 145 sheets. Today the same amount of gold produces 1200 leafs with a sheet thickness of 1/8000 mm.
Gold leaf cannot be handled by touching it with the hand; instead fine combs made of squirrel hair are used to transfer the leaf.

gold-leafing - cutting gold leaf on a gilders' cushion and picking it up

The shine of the gold is determined not only by the quality of the metal leaf, but mainly by the constancy and smoothness of the ground and the adhesive used.

Water gilding on gesso and bole can be burnished to a high shine, whilst oil gilding cannot be burnished and presents a more matt finish.
The combination of oil and water gilding, matt and shiny surfaces, produces a lively finish.

Gold leaf comes in a variety of shades and its correct application has virtually an endless life-span.