Goldleaf

This website is packed with works made with gold leaf by Schitterend. Through the ages no other metal is as coveted as gold. Royal and unapproachable: gold is and will always be there. Why are people so happy when seeing gold leaf?

Eternal gold
The gold leaf gilded mask of Tutankhamun. The gilded Oscars. The gold medal for the winner. The World Cup. The gold glittering towers of the cathedral in Kiev Mikhaylovsky. The radiant Hindu temple in Amritsar India. The Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar, 98 meters high and covered with sixty tons of pure gold. The best of the top is always gold. Even if it remains inaccessible, such as the legendary pot at the end of the rainbow. Gold symbolizes the sun. It is a magical precious metal which is ascribed  a special status for centuries. It stands for royal formality and religion. Gold does not oxidize and is never dull, which gives is it value for an eternity. People often find gold beautiful because of its warm glow. It is one of the best light reflectors that exist. That is what hits the sensitive chord: only a little light is needed to make gold shine.

The emergence of gold
Gold comes from magma and is emerges as gold ore in rock layers. In defense of most gold ores gold is released that can be mined with great difficulty: the earth is equally fond of gold and does not like to part with it. Gold grains are also transported by water and deposited in lower watersheds. During the American Gold Rush (1850) fortune seekers tried to fish these grains from streams with large sieves. Despite the comparatively huge effort to get a useful nugget to grab, this precious metal is already in use for thousands of years since the Bronze Age. There are only a few proofs of that such as pins and clasps, presumably from noble people. The name comes from the English ‘geolo’ (yellow) and was corrupted into ghel (yellow), guld and our gold. Latin made of the corresponding element 'Au' aurum, and oro d'or. That distraction comes from Aurora, or sunrise, when the sky colors as yellow as gold.

Gold in every wind angle
Almost every nation knows gold and uses it for art. The noble material is very soft and therefore easy to use. That made gold for both the Incas and the Indians, and everything in between, the type of material a man could easily work with and impress others. While for a Celtic king a simple gold band as a crown was quite a lot, other peoples used gold for temple roofs, thrones, spectacularly intricate jewelry and other items that were considered as elevated. In Europe especially the Bulgarian goldsmiths were precursors: on the Varna Necropolis, a prehistoric archaeological site in Bulgaria, already more than three thousand gold artifacts were found from the period 4700 - 4200 BC., thanks to neighboring Romania, which supplied most of Europe’s gold. Egypt followed only some two thousand years later with decorated gold leaf death masks and jewelry. The Romans were also fond of the yellow 'bling': countless gold jewels were found. The Romans succeeded in making gold from 1/3000e mm, nowadays the thickness is approx 1/7000e of a millimeter. Northwards the Viking covered their ships with gold, not only to impress the enemy, but also to favor the gods. As the range of European nations grew and traded more, more gold and gold leaf came to Europe, almost without exception used as royal business cards: gold plates, golden chalices, gold jewelry. And some kings were to be said to swallow the regular gold nugget as well in order to gild himself - that was probably the only time that personal lackeys stood in line to empty the royal poop deck.

Gold fever
In the early Middle Ages gold was symbol of purity and it was a very popular element in alchemy. The first distinctive physicists were always looking for the ‘stone of wisdom’ that could change other materials into gold. Also Spanish conquistadors knew that gold sigh. They were so eager for ‘El Dorado’, a supposed golden paradise in South America, that they have exterminated entire cultures. Gold leaf became an absolute must have to decorate a palace. This trend began in Venetian palazzos around 1420 and blew on to the rest of Europe, were especially Lodewijk XIII and XIV went completely lose. Unfortunately, many old objects were stripped of their gold jacket by robbers in the course of centuries.

Golden snacks
In very small amounts gold leaf can be eaten. During the Renaissance Italian nobles put gold flakes on their risotto and oysters for special occasions and strawberries were dipped in gold. This culinary trend made a new start in the eighties in Kanazawa, the Japanese center of the gold industry, and led to green tea and sweets with edible gold leaf. It remains a gimmick: restaurant Serendipity 3 in New York serves a chocolate ice cream with 22 carat gold leaf for € 17.380, -

Carat issue
Gold is a soft and very dense material: by weight a small amount can be equivalent to a large value. Before you can use it must be purified. For most purposes it is mixed with other materials to make it harder. The purity of gold jewelry is measured in carats. Pure gold is 24 carats and the softest. In addition, there are 14 karat (58.5% gold), 18 karat (75% gold), 22 karat (91.6% gold). Gold is inherently yellow, white gold is mixed with palladium, rose gold is created by adding copper.

Gold leaf
The flexibility of gold also has advantages: one gram of gold can be crushed and rolled up into a sheet of gold foil of one square meter with a thickness of 0.0001 mm. The hammering of gold is still done manually. To a produce a metal sheet of one-tenth micrometer thick an alloy with a high formability is required. Gold foil usually consists of an alloy with one or more other metals such as titanium, silver, and copper. A piece of gold is rolled or hammered manually just as long as a thin sheet remains. This sheet is then cut into pieces. Thereafter, gold sheets are hammered of about 10 x 10 cm alternately with silk tissue paper stacked to form a package until there is a certain, defined amount of protruding, which is taken away. This stacking and hammering continues until the desired thickness is obtained, which is determined by weighing. A kilogram of gold can be rolled so thin that a surface is as large as two tennis courts (500 m2).
Gold leaf is used for a variety of objects to provide a golden appearance. You can for example gild furniture, picture frames, pictures, door frames, window frames, ornaments, wedding presents, wind vanes and roofs.

You are interested in gilding or gold leaf?
Look further on this website and you will be amazed by the beauty of the material and the passion Schitterend has for gilding.

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