Talk about fancy! Gold leaf sheets are an elegant way to spruce up your wedding invitations, album covers, and artwork, so it’s no surprise that these elegant sheets are often used in high-end furniture, such as desks and tables. However, did you know that gold leaf sheets have also been used in a number of architectural projects throughout history? From the Peacock Throne to the Bird Cage Throne and even St. Peter’s Basilica, it turns out that gold can make just about anything more beautiful!
An intro to gold Leaf Sheets
Gold leaf, also known as gold foil or gold leaf sheets, is a thin layer of real gold that has been hammered or beaten to make it flexible. In many ways, it’s similar to standard paper. It’s malleable, so you can drape it over items and once again cut or press it into shapes. However, unlike paper, when you do so you won’t be able to see right through it. That’s because each of its metallic sheets consists entirely of 24-karat gold (essentially meaning they’re 100 percent pure), which contains 0.002 percent copper and traces of silver—which give sheet metal a distinctively yellow hue.
The History of Gold Leaf Sheets
Among its many uses, gold leaf has been employed for centuries in various cultural ceremonies and observances. In Chinese weddings and for several decades after Emperor Nero’s death, it was common to use gold leaf to decorate ceilings, windows, and walls. It was also used extensively throughout many ancient cultures (including Egyptian and Roman) as decoration on anything from furniture to utensils. And when King Tutankhamun died, his mask of solid gold was encrusted with over 22 pounds of 24-karat gold. Aside from these extravagant applications, it is widely believed that Augustus Caesar had a public statue made entirely out of gold so that he could show off his great wealth without arousing any suspicion or envy. And who can forget Midas’ famous golden touch?
Gold leaf sheets used in architectural projects
In ancient Rome builders and sculptors utilized thin sheets of solid gold for crown molding decoration on buildings, walls, and statues.-When building America’s capitol building in Washington D.C., U.S president Thomas Jefferson requested 24-karat gold for finishing touches. The total cost of such a move would amount to $2 million dollars by today’s standards. Although he never had a chance to witness his decision realized, we can still admire its beauty.-When London went through urban renewal during the Regency era (1811-1820), construction crew applied gold accents throughout the downtown landscape. This happened under the supervision of John Nash, one time Lord Chancellor and President of Royal Academy.
Where can it be used?
Gold leaf can be used in all types of art, from paintings to stained glass to sculptures. But gold leaf is used for more than just art—it’s also used for jewelry and for things like book covers. In fact, gold leaf is often incorporated into jewelry. Many of us are familiar with gold rings and necklaces; what you might not know is that many times these items are made with real gold rather than a cheaper imitation. The process of making a piece of jewelry with real gold is called gilding, and there are two main ways to go about it: fire-gilding and mechanical-gilding.
How thick are gold leaf sheets?
While most gold leaf sheets are between 24 and 28 microns. Some sheets can be as thin as 11 microns, while others can be as thick as 50. But how thick is that? For context, human hair ranges from 17 to 181 microns in diameter. A gold leaf sheet is about three times thinner than a strand of hair! That’s pretty thin. To put it another way, you could stack 300 pieces of paper on top of each other before reaching one layer of gold leaf sheets!