A sheet of gold 3 1/4 inches square of an even
thickness of 1/200,000 to 1/250,000 inch, and used
in lettering and decorating bookbindings, and in
other artistic work. The gold leaf used in
bookbinding is generally 23 to 23 1/4 karat, the
remaining 1 to 3/4 karat being silver and copper.
The alloy depends on the finished color desired,
ranging from a delicate red through yellow to pale
green. Other types of leaf are also available,
including lemon gold (18 1/2 karat) and pale gold
(16 karat). Since these are alloyed with the less
malleable silver, they are somewhat thicker and
consequently easier to handle than the more nearly
pure gold. Gold leaf is available in books of 25
leaves, interleaved with sheets of tissue dusted
with chalk to prevent them from sticking together.
It is also available in ribbon form (See: GOLD ROLL ). Some
gold leaf is made in double thickness, and is
believed to be the equivalent of pre-19th century
leaf, as old writings and handling instructions
indicate a less fragile and more easily
manipulated metal than the modern day product.
Double thick leaf is especially useful when
gilding the edges of books, as it gives a more
"solid" effect than is obtainable by using gold
leaf of the usual thickness.
Gold leaf is the traditional metal used on books
for lettering, edge gilding, and embellishment. In
terms of beauty and durability it has never been
equalled by any of the less expensive substitutes
that have been available for more than a century.
See also: DUTCH
EDGES ;GOLDBEATING ;GOLD BLOCKING ;GOLD TOOLING ;SHELL GOLD .
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