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.
This term refers to the average thickness which a manufacturer has deemed as the standard for gold leaf. This standard may vary from one manufacturer to another. One gold beater's regular may be thinner than the regular leaf of another brand.
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.
This term applies to gold leaf which is selected for its higher quality having fewer pinholes or other irregularities.
Karats and Alloys
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.
Gold Leaf for Exterior Projects
Gilded building details made from wood, stone, fiberglass and metal take on the dynamic qualitites of gold - it's luster and color. The correct selection of gold leaf, its gold content and thickness, will ensure a long lasting gilded ornament.
Gold leaf is manufactured in a wide range of colors and karats. Leaf made from 100% gold is 24 karat leaf. To produce of variety of colors, copper and silver is mixed with gold. When copper is added, the leaf becomes warmer and richer in tone. When silver is added, the leaf becomes paler in tone. The addition of these other metals lowers the karat value of gold leaf. Gold leaf is manufactured in a range from 6 kt "White" to 24 kt "Fine Gold". Gold is completely resistant to corrosion. The addition of silver and copper lowers the resistance of gold leaf to corrosion. However, the copper or silver in 23 kt or 23.75 kt leaf is so low that it will maintain its integrity outdoors for 30 years or more. A dome, building detail or outdoor statue will require a 23kt to 23.75 kt leaf that ranges from 96% to 98.5% in purity. Karats less than 23 are recommended for indoor use and many colors and karats are available.
Leaf Thickness and Weight
Leaf thickness is best described as grams per 1,000 leaves. This measurement is used to compare one variety with another. The appropriate weight of leaf for an outdoor surface is 18 to 23 grams per 1,000 leaves. The heavier the leaf, the longer it will repel the abrasive effects of snow, rain, wind, dust and sand particles. When selecting gold leaf for an exterior architectural project, look first for the gold content and gram weight. A 23 kt to 23.75 kt gold leaf weighing 18-24 grams/1000 leaves properly applied will shine for decades on your next architectural gilding project.
Please call SeppLeaf Products at 212-683-2840 to special order various leaf thicknesses and weights.