Thick gold leaf for challenging gilded surfaces
Gold leaf is a wafer-thin gold foil with a thickness of 0.000125 mm. One millimetre would correspond to 8,000 layers of gold leaf stacked on top of each other. Traditionally, gold leaf is designated as single gold and double gold whereas the designation double gold does not automatically mean a double thickness of gold leaf. Rather, this specification refers to a sheet thickness of at least 1/8000 millimeter or more. This is true for gold leaf produced in Central Europe.
Russian gold leaf
In Russia, the thickness of gold leaf is calculated differently. A gold booklet contains 60 leaves, and the gold leaf has the format 91.5 mm x 91.5 mm. A normal booklet contains a gold weight of about 1.25 g. This specification corresponds to the thickness and the weight of Eytzinger double gold. Thicker leaves have a gold weight of 1.4 g, 1.6 g, 2.0 g, 2.5 g (= Russian double gold). Gold leaf with a gold weight of 4.0 g per 60 sheets is considered the strongest variety of gold leaf in Russia.
Processing and durability
There are differences in the way gold leaf of varying thicknesses is used. The thicker the gold, the more adhesive is required to ensure that the gold leaf remains in place over time. From a thickness of 1.6 g onwards, the overlaps of the gold leaf no longer adhere reliably to each other. Russian gilders cover the “seams” with gold leaf in a thickness of 1.25 g.
The thickness of the gold influences the durability of the gilding. The thicker the gold, the longer it will last outside. A good exterior gilding will last about 25 years. If Russian double thickness is used, it will last around 10 years longer, not taking into account mechanical contact.
As a manufacturer of gold leaf, we recommend that the thickness of the gold leaf matches the object to be gilded. A surface that will be exposed to the weather will last longer if gilded with thicker gold leaf. By gilding certain areas with thicker gold leaf, the entire object ultimately benefits and will give its viewers pleasure for longer.