Gold is alloyed with Silver, Copper and other metals to achieve a variety of colors and shades. A higher gold content and/or greater amount of copper will result in deeper tones of leaf.
The higher karat leaves are also more durable due to the higher gold content. In the lower karats of leaf, such as 18kt, 16kt, and 12kt, gold is alloyed with silver or other metals to achieve lighter colors.
Check out our Genuine and Metal leaf color charts for detailed alloy information and blends...
Surface Gold - Surface gold leaf may have a few irregularities and is often used where double gilding is required or the leaf will be distressed or toned.
Loose Gold - A book of loose gold leaf is assembled by placing each piece of gold leaf between pieces of thin rouged paper. The gilder can then remove one leaf at a time without disturbing the remaining leaves. It is removed from the book with a gilder's tip, a flat natural hair brush.
Glass Gold This term applies to gold leaf which is selected for it's higher quality having fewer pinholes and irregularities.
Double Gold Double gold does not mean that the leaf is two times thicker than regular leaf. Double leaf may be only 10% to 20% thicker than regular gold leaf. Double means that it is heavier than regular.
Patent Gold Patent gold leaf, also referred to as transfer leaf, is gold leaf mounted to special tissue paper by a pressure process. A book of patent gold leaf is assembled by placing each unit of gold leaf and tissue paper between pieces of thin rouged paper. The gilder can then remove one leaf at a time without disturbing the remaining leaves.
Patent leaf is removed from the book without the aid of a gilder's tip. The leaf will stay on the tissue until it is pressed onto the prepared surface and the tissue backing is removed. This form of gold leaf is necessary for outdoor work or where conditions would make loose leaf unmanageable. Patent gold leaf is not suitable for water gilding and is best suited for flat surfaces.
Patent gold leaf is sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity and needs to be stored properly. Store patent leaf in a damp environment of about 80% humidity wrapped in plastic wrap. This helps to prevent the moisture content of the tissue paper from fluctuating.
Patent leaf may become loose on the tissue paper if stored in a dry warm environment. To correct this problem, the book of patent leaf needs to be stored in a humid environment under pressure to 'remount' the leaf to the paper. If the leaf was stored in a very hot and humid environment, the leaf may adhere too tightly to the paper. To correct this problem, store patent the patent leaf in a refrigerator or a dry cool place.Gilded Building details made from wood, stone, fiberglass and metal take on the dynamic qualities of gold - its luster and color. The correct selection of gold leaf, its gold content and thickness, will ensure a long lasting gilded ornament.