Gold leaf

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Burnishing gold leaf with an agate stone tool, during the water gilding process

Gold leaf is gold that has been hammered into extremely thin sheets and is often used for gilding. Gold leaf is available in a wide variety of karats and shades. 22-karat yellow gold is the most commonly used.

Gold leaf is sometimes confused with metal leaf but they are different products. The term metal leaf is normally used for thin sheets of metal of any color that do not contain any real gold. 24 Karats is pure gold. Real yellow gold leaf is about 92% pure gold. Silver colored white gold is approximately 50% pure gold.

Layering gold leaf over a surface is called gold leafing or gilding. Traditional water gilding is the most difficult and highly regarded form of gold leafing. It has remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years and is still done by hand.

A gold nugget of 5 mm in diameter (bottom) can be expanded through hammering into a gold foil of about 0.5 square meter. Toi museum, Japan.


[edit] Gold leafing in art

22k gold leaf applied with an ox hair brush during the process of gilding

Gold leaf has traditionally been most popular and most common in its use as gilding material for decoration of art (including statues and Eastern Christian icons) or the picture frames that are often used to hold or decorate paintings, mixed media, small objects (including jewelry) and paper art. "Gold" frames made without leafing are also available for a considerably smaller price, but traditionally some form of gold or metal leaf was preferred when possible and gold leafed (or silver leafed) moulding is still commonly available from many of the companies that produce commercially-available moulding for use as picture frames. The artist Noah Wunsch is well-known for using gold leaf on his large paintings [1].

[edit] Culinary uses

In some cultures gold (and silver) leaf is considered non-toxic when labeled as food-grade and so can be used to decorate food or drink, conveying a perception of luxury and high value. Such a leaf is called Vark. They can be often found on a number of desserts and confectionery including chocolates and mithai.

In Asian countries, gold in particular is sometimes used in fruit jelly snacks. It was also used in coffee, especially during Japan's "bubble economy". In Kanazawa, where Japan's gold leaf production was centred, gold leaf shops and workshops sell green tea and hard candy with gold leaf within. In the late 1870s, alcohol was consumed with gold leafs to give the appearance of great wealth.

A recent trend in the US has seen the inclusion of floating bits of gold leaf in liquors such as Goldschläger. However, in Continental Europe liquors with such bits of gold leaf are known since the late 16th century. Well-known examples are Danziger Goldwasser, originally from Gdańsk, Poland, which has been produced since at least 1598 and Goldstrike from Amsterdam.

[edit] References

[edit] See also

Personal tools